CENTRAL PLAINS REGIONAL: Eden Prairie nabs win over West Des Moines with 7-run 6th inningThe Eden Prairie (Minn.) American Legion baseball team’s Central Plains Regional Tournament didn’t get off to a fairytale start.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Eden Prairie (Minn.) American Legion baseball team’s Central Plains Regional Tournament didn’t get off to a fairytale start.
But luckily for back-to-back region champions and defending Legion World Series champs, Luke Lind is a jack of all trades.
The 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher had a rocky fourth inning, but he recovered on the mound and at the plate to lead Eden Prairie in a 9-4 win over West Des Moines, Iowa, in the tournament’s opening round on Thursday on Astoria Field at Southside Ballpark.
“Even in that fourth inning, I think they hit one hard ball off him (Lind),” Eden Prairie head coach Scott Hackett said. “Luke just battled. I have to give him a ton of credit today.”
“We’re here and we’re not going away,” Lind added with a smile. “I think that will be the worst win we have here.”
Lind allowed four runs in the fourth innings but was on cruise control throughout the other six innings he pitched. In the first two innings, he had five strikeouts. He finished with 10.
“I felt good out there,” Lind said. “I got ahead in the count and worked the off-speed (pitches). I had good defense behind me and that always helps.”
Not only did Lind command the mound, he was patient at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two base on balls and one run scored.
“It gives me a lot of confidence just to have that good approach and hit the fastball and lay off the off-speed,” Lind said.
Eden Prairie (31-11) plays Omaha PI Midwest at approximately 8 p.m. in the winner’s bracket while West Des Moines (15-1) faces host team Dickinson in an elimination game.
It was West Des Moines’ first Legion loss of 2012. Iowa plays its Legion baseball in the spring and its high school season in the summer.
Eden Prairie got its big break in the sixth inning when it scored seven runs. During the inning, they totaled three hits and added three on two walks and one hit batter.
“We took advantage of some mistakes and had a big inning,” Eden Prairie head coach Scott Hackett said. “Getting a win was the most important thing, but we have to get these guys refocused.”
Hackett said the team is going to have to be much better the rest of tournament if they want to stay alive until the championship game on Monday.
“It’s nice to be in the winner’s bracket, but we are going to need a much better effort from here on out if we’re going to stick around Dickinson,” he said. “That was kind of some bad baseball there.”
Eden Prairie was able to scrap across single runs in the second and fifth innings.
In the fourth inning, the bases were loaded for West Des Moines outfielder Nick Navin when he hit a dribbler to the infield. Eden Prairie shortstop Derek Soderberg threw wide of first base to clear the bases and Navin slid safely into third base.
“It’s kind of tough to lose that game, because I feel that we lost it from my standpoint,” West Des Moines head coach Paul Erickson said.
That was biggest mental lapse for Eden Prairie and they didn’t let it happen again. It shut down the West Des Moines as Ryan Zimmerman came in to pitch the final two innings in a perfect relief appearance.
“Ryan does a nice job,” Hackett said. “He comes in and pounds the strike zone. If he has his curveball working, he has a nice curveball. Today he was able to throw two pitches for strikes.”
West Des Moines’ Nick Bernabe was the only player with multiple hits. As a team, it tallied nine hits.
Relief pitcher Jake Cassady was charged with loss after facing eight batters, allowing six runs in two-thirds of an inning. His only two outs came via strikeout.
“We didn’t hit many balls solid,” Erickson said. “We came off the high school season a few weeks without a lot of practice after that. I think our bats will get going. Historically, we are a good-hitting team.”
WDM 000 400 000 — 4 9 3
EP 010 017 00x — 9 8 3
Bobby LeWarne, Jake Cassady (6), Andrew Clemen (6) and Jake DeBondt. Luke Lind, Ryan Zimmerman (8) and Danny Halloran.
W–Lind. L–Cassady. HR–None.
Highlights: WDM, Nick Bernabe 2-for-3; Vince Driscoll 1-for-3, run; Nick Navin 1-for-4, RBI, run; Anthony Denkinger 1-for-4, RBI; Clemen 1-for-2; Cassady 1-for-3, run; Rob Harvey 1-for-2, run; DeBondt 1-for-2. EP, Lind 3-for-3 3 RBI, run, 2 BB; Zimmerman 1-for-1; Derek Soderberg 1-for-2, RBI, run; Michael Blauert, 1-for-4, 2 RBI, run; Jordan Smith 1-for-4, RBI, 2 runs; Brett Guba 1-for-5; Cody Wetmore RBI, run; Logan Borg 2 runs.
Records: WDM 15-1, EP 31-11