By Craig Olson - Barrett, MN
Tanner Bennett delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday in Barrett as the West Central Area Knights defeated Ottertail Central 7-6.
WCA took the lead in the first on a double by Sam Gullickson, driving home the first run of the game. After OTC scored three times in the second, WCA ansswered with three of their own. The Bulldogs scored when Andrew Weniger drove in Bennet Cameron with a single and Isaac Roers came through with a 2-run double. Roers ended the day wirh four runs batted for Ottertail Central. Trysten Gapp knocked in two runs with a double for the Knights.
Ottertail Central scored runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Brodey Rocholl led off the fifth with a base hit, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a Kirby Lohse double.
"That was some good small ball and clutch hitting from Lohse," said OTC Head Coach Ryan Hendrickson. "I really thought we were going to get this one."
The Bulldogs added two insurance runs in the sixth when Drake Larsen drew a one out walk, moved to third on a Weniger base hit and scored, along with Weniger, on a double by Roers.
"Andy has been on fire, his improvements at the plate have been outstanding," said Hendrickson. "I'm so proud of Isaac. He had three hits tonight and all of those were with two strikes. Two strike hitting and putting the ball in play has been our major focus offensively, and Isaac really pulled through with that tonight."
In the bottom of the sixth, West Central Area tied things up when Caden Ferrnholz (3H, 3B, SB, 3R) scored on a ground out off the bat of Nathan Kaye.
Teigen Moritz earned the win (2.2IP, 3R, 2H, 3K) for West Central Area, coming on in relief of Mason Nibbe (3IP, 3R, 4H, BB). Daxton Olson (5IP, 5R, 7H, K, BB) started the game for OTC, but the loss went to Rocholl (1.1IP, 2R, 4H).
"Offensively, we are coming around," noted Coach Hendrickson. "With the way the weather has been on practice days, we have been able to really focus offensively with our indoor facilities, but now we have to pick up our defense again, which can be a real grind in the spring."