The Wadena-Deer Creek American Legion baseball team advanced to the Northeast Division II Substate Tournament when they finished their playoff run with a victory over Park Rapids Area, before falling to Pierz on July 21 in Park Rapids.
Wadena-DC opened tournament play with a 2-0 victory over Park Rapids Area. Jake Dykhoff was brilliant on the mound for Wadena-DC. He went six and two-thirds and held Park Rapids Area off the board. He allowed one hit. He struck out 13 batters and had to be removed because of pitch count so he could pitch in the opening day of the Substate playoffs. Justin Dykhoff came in relief and only needed on pitch for the final out.
Wadena-DC jumped ahead in the second inning when Max Phillips singled. Phillips stole second and came around to score on an RBI double by Preston Warren. Dykhoff helped himself in the third inning when he singled, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Wyatt Hamann followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. That would be more than enough for the Dykhoff duo in the win.
Warren and Phillips led the way at the plate for Wadena-DC with two hits each. Warren drove in a run while Phillips scored a run. Jake Dykhoff finished with a hit and a run scored, while Hamann drove in a run. Isaac Witthuhn recorded a hit as well.
Wadena-DC was edged out in a thriller by Pierz when they fell 3-2 in the second and final game of the tournament for Wadena-DC. Pierz earned the No. 1 seed for the Substate when they defeated Park Rapids Area 9-1.
Pierz jumped ahead in the fourth inning. Austin Dickmann started the inning with a single. He came around to score on an RBI single by Pete Schommer. A suicide squeeze bunt by Lane Girlz, scored Luke Girtz, who led the frame off with a walk made it 2-0 in the fifth.
WDC answered with a run in the sixth. Warren walked, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Justin Dykhoff. WDC tied the game in the seventh. Colby Schertler single and stole second with aggressive base running with a pitch in the dirt. He eventually scored on an RBI single by Noah Roers.
However, some tough luck went against Wadena-DC in the seventh and Pierz was able to pick up the walk-off win. Alex Funk doubled and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. Pierz tried the suicide squeeze and it backfired. The bunt was popped up but Funk got back to the bag. It appeared that he was out, but was called safe on the play when Schertler got to the bag. Reese Kapsner followed with a fly ball that was lost in the sun and caromed off the glove of the Wadena-DC outfielder, allowing Funk to score.
Justin Dykhoff had a hit and an RBI, Schertler had a hit and a run scored, while Roers had a hit and an RBI as well. Noah Ross, Jake Dykhoff, Isaac Witthuhn and Phillips each had hits for Wadena-DC.
Wadena-DC started the Division II Northeast Substate Tournament on July 25 in Nashwauk. They opened with Proctor. The tournament resumes on July 27 and concludes on July 28.