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Baseball: Little Falls' big inning sends the Lakers' packing in the 8-3A playoffs

Little Falls' four-run sixth inning was enough offense to eliminate Detroit Lakes from playoff contention.

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Detroit Lakes' Mason Omberg tags out a base runner at second in the Lakers' 4-1 loss to Little Falls in the elimination round of the Section 8-3A tournament on June 2, 2022 at Washington Park.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES – Detroit Lakes knocked off Little Falls in the season opener with some late-inning heroics. On Thursday, the roles were reversed.

The Lakers’ season came to an end in a 4-1 loss in the Section 8-3A tournament.

The Flyers put together a four-run sixth inning. Three straight one-out singles set up a bases-clearing double as the bottom of the Little Falls order came through in a Section 8-3A elimination game.

“That’s baseball,” Eiter said of the Flyers’ big inning. “(Bradly Sweirs) held them in check through their first two times through the order. Each time you go through the lineup is another chance you get to see a pitcher. Those guys at the bottom of the order were tuned in on him and were hitting the ball pretty hard. It’s unusual, but that’s the game of baseball.”

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Detroit Lakes' Markus Lyman, left, and Jacob Thomas high-five in the Lakers' 4-1 loss to Little Falls in the elimination round of the Section 8-3A tournament on June 2, 2022 at Washington Park.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Detroit Lakes took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on a single from Kyler Johnston. Jacob Thomas drew a leadoff walk before the run-scoring hit. However, offense was at a premium for Detroit Lakes.

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“We were just over-anxious in the box,” Eiter said. “We just didn’t have enough quality at-bats.”

Little Falls is set to play the winner of top-seeded Willmar and third-seeded Sauk Rapids-Rice. Section 8-3A is proving to be a gauntlet.

“If rankings mean anything, which I normally don’t think they hold a lot of water, then they will tell you that whoever comes out of this section will represent us well,” Eiter said. “All of these teams have been challenged. In those games, you just get better and better. Whoever our section representative is, I wish them the best.”

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Detroit Lakes' Bradly Swiers pitches in the Lakers' 4-1 loss to Little Falls in the elimination round of the Section 8-3A tournament on June 2, 2022 at Washington Park.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Detroit Lakes found itself in a do-or-die game after second-seeded Alexandria pulled out a walk-off win on Tuesday.

“Absolutely not,” Eiter said on a potential hangover from Tuesday’s emotional loss in Alexandria. “We had a great practice yesterday. Today, the kids came out focused. We let the Alexandria game go once it was over. Little Falls made big plays when they had to today. We couldn’t find the mustard to get the big hit as they did.”

After Thursday’s season-ending loss, Eiter met with the returning players on the field for an extended period of time before wrapping up a 12-8 season.

“There’s no secret to success. Get your butt in the weight room,” Eiter said in his message to the players returning next season. “Get bigger, faster and stronger. Next year, there’s a bunch of small bodies. They have to use the skills they have to be successful. They’re not going to be a long-ball team. They’re going to have to use small ball and be quick. I told them their success wouldn’t be dependent on what they do in March and April. It’s what they do between now and March.”

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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