Schultz, Sioux Falls East eliminate Grand IslandSioux Falls (S.D.) East put its season in the hands of Alex Schultz and he didn’t disappoint.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Sioux Falls (S.D.) East put its season in the hands of Alex Schultz and he didn’t disappoint.
Schultz, the South Dakota American Legion baseball player of the year, pitched a complete game, struck out six and went 3-for-3 with two RBI to help East stave off elimination in the Central Plains Regional tournament with a 5-1 victory over Grand Island (Neb.) Home Federal on Friday morning at Southside Municipal Ballpark.
East coach Brandon Hunt called Schultz’s performance in the loser-out game typical.
“Alex has been doing that all year,” Hunt said. “We felt comfortable in this game with Alex going in on the hill.”
Schultz really settled in after clean-up hitter Cole Halgerson lifted a wind-aided three-run homer to right field in the sixth inning that put East ahead 4-0.
“It was getting pretty stressful out there,” Schultz said with a smile. “It was huge for Cole to hit that to get some more breathing room. It’s a huge boost for him.”
Schultz opened the game with a two-out RBI single to shallow center field in the first inning and tacked on an insurance run in the eighth on a single to right field. Connor Schaefbauer scored both runs for East.
East (38-14) plays the loser of a late Friday night winner’s bracket game between Carroll County, Iowa., and Omaha (Neb.) Pi Midwest at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“Hopefully he’ll play well tomorrow and we’ll play well tomorrow,” Schultz said.
Grand Island was eliminated from the tournament and ended its season with a 38-19 record. But, it didn’t leave without its share of memorable moments.
Right fielder Dylan Urias held on to a spectacular catch after crashing hard into the right field wall to end the first inning.
Urias cut his face on the fence and stayed down for about 10 minutes as medical staff attended to him. He eventually walked off the field under his own power. He was then taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center, where he received a few stitches, Grand Island coach Tino Martinez said.
“He’s a tough kid. I’m happy that it wasn’t anything more serious than what it was,” Martinez said. “I think it was relief when we were able to get him going. It actually looked a lot worse than what it was. It was an excellent job by Dylan to hold onto the ball.”
Catcher and captain Max Ayoub’s solo home run in the eighth inning gave his team life, but Martinez said it just wasn’t enough.
Grand Island scored just one run in two games at the tournament, losing to Eden Prairie, Minn., 6-0 on Thursday.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t muster anything,” Martinez said.
SFE 100 003 010 — 5 6 0
GI 000 000 010 — 1 6 1
Alex Schultz and Brooks Cross. Will Bamesberger, Austin Meyer (9) and Max Ayoub.
W–Schultz. L–Bamesberger. HR–SFE, Cole Halgerson; GI, Ayoub.
Highlights: SFE, Schultz CG, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 ER, 6 H, 3-for-3, 2 RBI, run; Cole Halgerson 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI; Dillon Schenkel 2-for-4, run. GI, Bamesberger 1-for-4; Ayoub 2-for-4, RBI, run; Justin English 3-for-4.
Records: SFE 38-14, GI 38-19.