Pioneers "squeak" by Titans in marathon section contest

The rainy weather of May 25 postponed Section 4AAA baseball games and forced them to be moved to Municipal Stadium in St. Paul to get them all in.

Because of scheduling problems, the games were played on Memorial Day, a holiday normally reserved for cemetery remembrances and family picnics, and not high-school athletic competitions.

A noon game that day saw the ninth-seeded Tartan Titans go up against top-seeded Hill-Murray.

The game provided baseball purists with a bargain confrontation as it moved into the 10th inning before it was settled, 2-1, in favor of Hill-Murray.

"We had some chances, and they had some chances," said Tartan coach Curt Russell following the game that ended Tartan's season with a mark of 8-12. "Both pitchers were outstanding. They got tough when they needed it most," continued Russell. "Give credit to the freshman (Hill-Murray's Zach Mills) who got the big hit when they needed it.

"It's a disappointment to end our season, but the kids played well and went down on a good note."

From the Hill-Murray perspective, head coach Bill Lechner said, "It was a tight ball game. It could have gone either way. I know we beat Tartan twice during the regular seson, but you can toss that all out when it comes to the sections. The regular season doesn't mean a thing when you get to this stage.

"Both pitchers threw well, and we got a good performance out of Henke. It was a good win for us and was what we needed and had to have."

Missed chances

On the mound May 28 for Tartan was Tommy Hanson and for the Pioneers was their ace, Luc Henke.

Henke went nine innings and gave up four hits and had nine strikeouts and issued no walks.

Hanson went the distance and gave up nine hits, had five K's and issued just two walks.

The Pioneers drew first blood in the bottom of the third when Lucas Glomb knocked a one-out slow roller to the left side and beat the peg. Mills sacrificed him to second, and he took third on the play when nobody covered the bag. He scored on a wild pitch.

The Titans came back in the upper fourth when Eric Olheiser reached on an error. Ryan Patnaude sacrificed him to second. Jacob Picht looped a single into rightfield. Jacob Kurschner followed with a suicide bunt that plated Olheiser with the tying 1-1 score.

The chances referred to by Coach Russell came for the Titans in the fourth when they left a pair of runners on base.

For the Pioneers, the big chance to end the game came in the ninth when they had runners on third and second with just one out, but they failed to score.

The contest ended in the bottom of the 10th inning when the two longest hits of the game came on back-to-back blows for Hill-Murray.

Glomb - a junior centerfielder - led off and crashed a shot into left centerfield and motored to second with a standup double.

Into the box came designated hitter Mills. The ninth-grader, who had just moved up two weeks ago from the "B" squad for his bat, wasted no time banging a long shot into rightfield. Glomb scored his second run of the game to end the fray.

The contest sent Tartan home and moved the Pioneers into the next round of the playoffs to face Stillwater.

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