Orange struggles to keep pace over weekend games

MARSHALL – The first VFW baseball tournament to take place in Marshall since 2005 provided no homefield breaks to Marshall VFW Orange. Orange went 0-4 for the tournament and were outscored 40-4 on Saturday and Sunday.

Despite the lopsided scores, Marshall Orange coach Tanner Neale felt that his team found some valuable lessons while playing against top competition.

“They handled it well. They took some notes on what it’s going to take to be successful,” Neale said. “They understand the importance of not giving away free bases and just making plays and what it’ll do to you during the game.”

Marshall opened up Saturday with an 11-0 loss to Sioux Falls East (S.D.) at Southwest Minnesota State University’s Alumni Field.

Orange recorded just three hits in the five inning game, but two of those were for extra bases. Matt VanKeulen and Blaise Andries each belted doubles against Sioux Falls East, which had 11 hits off of Marshall pitchers Justin Mettling and John Botsford. Mettling took the loss, though Botsford gave up six runs in two innings of work.

Jacob Buysse took one for the team in Saturday’s nightcap at Alumni Field, battling through a 17-2 loss to a powerful Alexandria team in order to preserve arms. Buysse pitched all five innings in the loss, including the devastating 10-run first.

Orange got two runs back in the bottom of the first, but the bats fell silent afterwards with Alexandria starter Grant Hocket allowing just five hits in five innings.

Brady Erdman drilled a home run and a triple for Alexandria, while five other players recorded doubles in the game.

Orange’s final game of the weekend was a 12-2 loss to Watertown (S.D.) in the opening game of the consolation round at Alumni Field.

Watertown breezed past Orange 12-2 in five innings, outhitting Marshall 10-3 and scoring all 12 of its runs in the first three innings.

Marshall plated both of its runs in the top of the third, as Nick Erbes singled in Thomas Fischer and later scored on a passed ball.

Fischer started and took the loss for Orange against Watertown, pitching two innings. Mettling tossed the third, while Nick Schultz fired a scoreless fourth inning.

Neale, who grew up in Watertown, was excited at the opportunity to coach against his old team.

“I was hoping we’d get matched up with them. I wanted to win that one,” Neale said. “But we had a good time with it. We threw some trick plays at them. Their coach was my actually my 13-year-old coach, so it was fun to coach against someone who had coached me.”

Orange (2-12 overall) is back on the diamond tonight, traveling to Luverne for a district game before hosting Olivia at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Legion Field.