Tournament Trail Opens With E’Hawk Victory
POCAHONTAS – The second season opened on an upbeat note for Emmetsburg’s E’Hawks, as they claimed a 5-0 win over Twin River Valley/West Bend-Mallard in a Class 2A District quarterfinal baseball matchup Saturday night.
The game was a near-shutout for the E’Hawks and senior pitcher Taylor Morris until a pair of hits in the bottom of the seventh robbed Morris of the perfect game.
For the E’Hawks, the next step is a District semi-final tonight (Tuesday), July 14, against Manson Northwest Webster in a 7 p.m. matchup at Pocahontas.
The E’Hawks went down in order in the first, and TRV/WBM got a runner on base off a walk, but no more against the E’Hawk defense.
The second inning was a repeat of the first for both teams, but things changed in the third. Brady Berkland led off for Emmetsburg with a well-placed single and moved to second off a fielders’s choice of Austin Oppenheimer’s at bat. Jake Carlson struck out, and Tyler Kliegl hit a fielders’ choice that saw Oppenheimer tagged out going to second, but an errant throw to try and turn the double play at first went awry, allowing Berkland to scamper home for the first run and Kliegl to reach first safely, before Ryan Kliegl struck out to end the at bat.
The Thunder were retired in order in the bottom of the third, giving the E’Hawks the 1-0 advantage.
In the top of the fourth, Emmetsburg got a single from Taylor Morris, but Morris was put out at second on a steal attempt.
Bobby Mortenson drew a walk, but was stranded when the opportunity ended.
The defense would rise to the challenge in the bottom of the fourth, retiring the Thunder in order.
Brady Berkland led off the fifth with a strikeout, but Austin Oppenheimer rapped out a single and was followed on base by a walk of Jake Carlson. An error put Tyler Kliegl on base and loaded the sacks before Ryan Kliegl was hit by a pitch, bringing Oppenheimer over the plate.
With the bases still loaded, Taylor Morris smacked a base hit that brought Carlson and Tyler Kliegl home before a double by Bobby Mortenson sent Ryan Kliegl over the plate. However, Morris and Mortenson would be stranded, but Emmetsburg now held a 5-0 advantage.
The Thunder went down in order in the bottom of the fifth as the E’Hawks were sensing good things to start the sixth.
The E’Hawks would go down two outs before Jake Carlson drew a walk, only to be stranded by TRV/WBM’s Levi Peters with his ninth strikeout of the game. Emmetsburg’s defense returned the favor, retiring the Thunder in order to close the sixth inning.
Emmetsburg would get Morris on base off a walk in the seventh, but left him waiting.
Facing the Thunder for the final at-bat, Morris hit the first batter and was called for a balk, putting the runner on third after a wild pitch.
A single by Peyton Vote would score Trevor Peters to erase the Thunder’s goose egg, and a second single by Ben Jacobson would put runners on first and second for the Thunder with no outs.
A quick putout from Jake Jackson to Tyler Henderson at first and a strikeout settled things down a bit, but Morris walked Nick Garman to load the sacks before he induced Abel Ramos to strikeout to end the game.
Taylor Morris went the distance, giving up just two hits and one run, while walking three batters and striking out 12 for the win.
Bobby Mortenson had a double and an RBI, while Taylor Morris had two hits and two RBI’s and Brady Berkland and Austin Oppenheimer both added singles to the effort. Ryan Kliegl tallied the other RBI for the E’Hawks in the victory.