Arrows rally to top Tigers in 8 innings

MARSHALL – Behind a late-inning rally on Thursday, the Pipestone Area baseball team added another victim to its string of upsets.

Trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Arrows (the No. 7 seed in Section 3AA-South) tied the game on passed ball before taking advantage of a pair of eighth-inning errors knock off No. 2 seeded Marshall 3-2 in extras.

Derik Evan led off the seventh for the Arrows with a pinch-hit walk. Dominic Freese reentered for Evans, and after a bunt and dropped third strike found himself 90 feet from tying the game. Freese knotted the game at 2-2 when a Conner Mesman delivery found the backstop after sneaking between the legs of Marshall catcher Colton Peterson.

Pipestone reliever Josh Mabon set the Tigers down in order in the top of the eighth, returning an energized Arrows team to offense.

Jaymes Zollner got on base with a one-out single, but a ground ball to short looked like it would end the threat. The ball hopped over Leo Zerr’s glove, however, and the errors had runners at first and second with one out.

The Arrows looked to have grounded into another doubleplay in the ensuing at-bat, but Drew Hmielewski’s throw to second sailed into left field, with Zollner scoring the winning run and ending Marshall’s season as a result.

“It was a close ballgame, a good baseball game,” Marshall head coach Chace Pollock said. “We have to give Pipestone credit for battling back and making it a ballgame.”

With its 3-2 win over the Tigers on Thursday, Pipestone has now brought an early summer to both No. 2 seeds in the Section 3AA tournament in Marshall and New Ulm, as well as No. 3 seed Worthington.

“They’re definitely a different team than what we saw earlier in the year. They’re playing with some confidence and they did a nice job,” Pollock said. “They beat us, that’s a fact.”

Marshall, the away team on the scoreboard but playing on its home field, led up until the seventh.

The Tigers got their first run by putting together a pair of doubles in the third inning. Peterson got on base with a one-out two-bagger, while Derek Buysse drove him home with a double of his own.

Three consecutive singles to start the fifth inning gave Marshall a 2-0 lead, as Aaron Mathiowetz knocked in Zerr.

Pipestone got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Mabon singled in Eric Buffington.

Mabon picked up the win for Pipestone, throwing four innings of relief, working out of two two-on, no-out jams.

The first came in the fifth as Mabon retired three batters in a row after Mathiowetz’s RBI single. Next Mabon got the Tigers to strand a pair of runners in the seventh. After a single and error on a fielder’s choice, Marshall had runners at first and second with no outs and the heart of their lineup coming to the plate.

Marshall decided to bunt their No. 4 batter, Mathiowetz, who popped the attempt up to first base for an out. Buysse then hit a flyball to right field before Austin Saugstad’s popout to firstbase ended the inning. In total the Tigers left 10 runners on the bases.

“We can look at some different situations throughout the game where we had an opportunity (to score more runs) and we didn’t take advantage of those opportunities,” Pollock said. “We had opportunities throughout the ballgame to make some things happen and just came up short in a couple spots. We have no one to look at after this but ourselves.”

The Tigers got just one hit out of their six through nine batters on the day, but did get a 2-for-3 performance from Peterson, including a double. Zerr was 2-for-2 in the game with a run scored.

Peterson started on the mound for the Tigers, tossing 5 1/3 innings of one-run baseball and received a no decision. Mesman was credited with the loss for the Tigers giving up two unearned runs in two-plus innings pitched.

Pipestone moves on to face No. 1 seed Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta at 2 p.m. Saturday in Marshall. Morris Area needed just five innings to eliminate New London-Spicer from the Section 3AA field, winning 11-1.

The Tigers complete their first season under Pollock with an 11-9 overall record and graduate 10 seniors from their squad.

“It’s been a crazy spring. It was nothing that we expected coming into it,” Pollock said. “The seniors did a phenomenal job of leading our program, all the way through. Each and everyone of those kids they’re going to be very successful in life. That’s what we hope, hopefully they learn something while in our program that they can take with them, something that they pick up from the game of baseball for life.”

NOTES: Pipestone has a 8-11 record. … The Arrows knocked off 3AA-South No. 1 seed New Ulm 9-6 in opening game, then lost 5-1 to Luverne before defeating Worthington 7-1. … Marshall is 7-3 in its last 10 games and lost to No. 1 seed Fairmont 9-5 on Tuesday to snap a six-game winning streak. … Marshall swept a doubleheader with Arrows by scores of 8-1 and 9-6 on May 10 in teams’ only meeting this year. … Marshall’s final record is 11-9.