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Wadena-DC opens with Sauk Centre at state tournament

The Wadena-Deer Creek American Legion Post 171 opens the Minnesota Division II State Tournament with Sauk Centre on Friday, Aug. 3 at 4 p.m. in Pelican Rapids.

The trip is a familiar one for several of the team members as they won a state championship five years ago in Pelican Rapids as members of the Junior Babe Ruth team. The legion team hopes to recreate that run that they accomplished in 2013.

During that run Wadena-DC won five games on their way to the title, sweeping Breckenridge for the championship after falling to them earlier in the tournament. Their first round opponent at the state tournament knows a thing or two about Breckenridge. Sauk Centre dropped their first game of the championship to Breckenridge, but bounced back in the winner take all final by beating Breckenridge 13-7 to win the West Central Substate.

The two teams are familiar with each other from the high school season when Sauk Centre defeated the Wolverines 19-11 in a regular season ending slugfest. In that regular season loss, Wadena-DC pitching gave up 19 runs on 22 hits, while Sauk Centre gave up 11 runs on 11 hits. Dylan Haskamp and Jake Dykhoff both connected for home runs in that game. Dykhoff drove in six of the 11 Wadena-DC runs in the game.

Expect this contest to be much different than that contest. Both teams were wrapping up the regular season and were trying to save pitching for the playoff run. Both teams should have their top pitchers available for the opening round contest in Pelican Rapids.

Sauk Centre enters today’s game with a record of 12-6, while Wadena-DC boasts a 15-2 mark. Sauk Centre boasts a balanced pitching staff with a team earned run average of 1.68. Jacob Zollman and Andrew Bick have carried the load on the mound. Zollman has pitched 35.33 innings and hasn’t allowed an earned run. He has struck out 46 and walked 17. He has given up five runs on the season. Bick has pitched 27.33 innings with an ERA of 2.05.

Zollman does the damage at the dish as well. He leads the team with 31 hits. He is the only player with more than 20 hits on the Sauk Centre roster.

Jake Dykhoff and Justin Dykhoff have led the way on the bump for Wadena-DC. Jake is 4-0 with a .22 earned run average, while Justin is 6-0 with a .78 earned run average. The team has a 1.35 combined earned run average on the year. Noah Roers, who pitched the Substate Championship game has a .99 earned run average.

At the plate, Wadena-DC has hit .326 as a team. Jake Dykhoff leads the way with a .522 batting average. Preston Warren is hitting .370 and sets the table at the top of the lineup.

The opening round contest between the two teams highlights a day of strong baseball. The tournament opens at 10 a.m. today with Stephen/Argyle and Springfield squaring off. The day’s second game features New London/Spicer taking on LaCrescent. The third game is Sauk Centre against Wadena-DC which begins at 4 p.m. and is directly followed by the opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. The opening day concludes with Pelican Rapids playing Le Sueur/Henderson at 7 p.m.

The tournament continues through the weekend with consolation games at 9 and 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 4 with the consolation championship starting at 2 p.m. The semifinals of the tournament are set to begin at 5 and 7:30 p.m. The Wadena-DC/Sauk Centre winner and the winner of the Pelican Rapids and Le Sueur/Henderson contest will do battled at 7:30 p.m. The third place game is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 5 with championship game set to begin at 2 p.m. on Aug. 5 in Pelican Rapids.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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