Carroll County beats Mandan in error-filled gameAfter Mandan tacked on its fifth run of the game in the second inning, one Carroll County, Iowa, fan shouted words of encouragement to his team.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
After Mandan scored its fifth run of the game in the second inning, one Carroll County, Iowa, fan shouted words of encouragement to his team.
“There’s a lot of game left boys,” shouted the man, only a few feet from Carroll’s dugout.
The words proved inspirational as the Merchants battled back from a four-run deficit to advance the final day of the Central Plains Regional American Legion baseball tournament with a 10-6 victory on Sunday afternoon at Southside Municipal Ballpark.
Despite committing six errors — three during Mandan’s four-run first inning — the Merchants caught lightning in a bottle with a tricky double steal play that helped it score four runs while they capitalized on nine Mandan errors to eliminate the Chiefs.
“That is not typical of our guys, to make errors like that in those kind of streaks like that,” Carroll County coach Matt Lujano said. “We’ve had all our mistakes, we hope they’re out of the way, now we’ve just got to plug back little by little, and that’s what we did. We’re happy.”
Carroll (17-4) plays Eden Prairie, Minn., at 11 a.m. Monday. Carroll must beat Eden Prairie twice in order to win the region. Eden Prairie is the defending region champions and were last year's national runner-up.
The fourth, fifth and sixth innings proved to be big for Carroll. The Merchants scored a combined eight runs in the middle innings.
Carroll scored on attempted double steals of home and second base in the first, fourth and fifth innings. The only time Mandan stopped the play was on the Merchants’ final attempt in the eight.
“We were up in the game, so we were working for outs early,” Mandan coach Ryne Jungling said. “One of them, I thought we had a good shot to get ‘em before the guy crossed the plate. We were going for outs at that point. Eventually, you’ve got to start going for the guy at the plate. It just wasn’t our day at the ballpark.”
Carroll’s Jake Esdohr hit a first-pitch single to center field in the fifth that tied the game at 5-5 after a run scored on his batted ball and another came after Mandan’s Aaron Janz’s misplayed the ball in center.
Two batters later, Carter Ludwig’s sacrifice fly scored Alex Brown. Esdohr added another run with a double steal of home on Carroll’s final plate appearance of the inning that put his team ahead 7-5 and ended up being the Merchants’ winning run. He finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored.
“We’ve got a lot of speed on our team,” said Lujano, describing why his team attempted so many double steals with runners at the corners. “We like to take advantage of it any way we can. It seemed like it did make them drop their heads a little bit. A lot of it is taking advantage of everything you can get.”
Five of Carroll’s runs were earned, but the Merchants weren’t without their troubles either. They committed five errors, handing Mandan all but one of their runs unearned.
The Chiefs went ahead 4-0 in the first inning after Trevor Huck’s three-run double to the left-center field gap. Huck went in to score on an error at second base.
Mandan added another run in the second to take a 5-1 lead when Trent Kruckenberg scored from third on a double play.
It was all downhill from there for the Chiefs.
Errors contributed to one of Carroll’s two sixth-inning runs as Ben Bruck scored on an error on a throw down to third base after his steal. Brown added an RBI single to left.
Leadoff hitter Brandon Wessels added an RBI single in the seventh for the Carroll’s 10th run. Wessels was 2-for-4 Sunday and is 8-for-16 in the tournament.
“This whole tournament, even the game we played in to get here, we were down to start the game off,” Wessels said. “Our whole dugout is really confident. They keep us up. We’ve been down before. We just keep playing hard.”
Casey Berg pitched five innings and took the win for Carroll County. He was relieved by Esdohr in the sixth. Esdohr gave up just five hits and one unearned run in four innings.
Tanner Schaf gave up nine runs, four of them earned, in 5 2/3 innings of work as he took the loss for Mandan.
Trailing 10-5, Mandan’s attempt at a ninth-inning rally fell short despite Dwight Mack’s two-out RBI double to deep right center. Jay Flaa flew out to center on the next at-bat to end the game and the Chiefs’ season ended with a 35-15 record.
“We just didn’t get the breaks, I guess,” Jungling said. “They made a few errors early on and we took advantage of that. We didn’t hit the ball well today until the eighth and ninth inning. It was a tough day at the dish for us.”
CC 010 242 100 — 10 11 6
Mandan 410 000 001 — 6 8 9
Casey Berg, Jake Esdohr (6) and Bryce Berg. Tanner Schaf, Jacob Friez (6) and Dwight Mack. W–C. Berg.. L–Schaf. HR–None.
Highlights: CC, Brandon Wessels 2-for-4, RBI, run, SB; Bryce Berg 1-for-4, run; Alex Brown 2-for-5, RBI, 2 runs, SB; Jake Esdohr 4-for-5, 3B, RBI, 3 runs, SB, 4 IP, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 ER, 5 H; Casey Berg 5 IP, 3 K, 4 BB, 1 ER, 3 H; Kyle Pudenz 1-for-3, run; Carter Ludwig 0-for-2, RBI; Ben Bruck 1-for-4, run, SB. Mandan, Reid Jungling 1-for-4, run; Aaron Janz 2-for-4, run; Dwight Mack 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, SB; Trevor Huck 1-for-3, 2B, 3 RBI, run; Jay Flaa 1-for-4; Jacob Friesz 1-for-4, 3.1 IP, 2 K, 2 BB, 1 ER, 3 H; Schaf 5.2 IP, 0 K, 4 BB, 4 ER, 8 H.
Records: CC 17-4, Mandan 35-15.