The Bluffton Braves continued their strong start to the 2020 amateur baseball season as they allowed two runs in three games on their way to winning the annual Nimrod Tournament on June 27 and June 28 in Nimrod.

First, it was Justin Dykhoff shutting down Nimrod to a 6-0 victory, which was followed by a 4-2 win over Vergas in their second game. Jake Dykhoff shut the door on Champlin Park, pitching six strong in a 2-0 victory.

Dykhoff started the tournament by blanking the Gnats with 15 strikeouts in six innings of work. The Minnesota State-Fergus Falls pitcher was on point, allowing the Braves to cruise to the victory.

The Braves followed with a shaky 4-2 victory over the Vergas Loons. The Braves helped the Loons by committing five errors in the game, which directly led to the two Loons runs. However, the bat of Payton Rondestvedt provided the difference when he hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, giving the Braves the lead for good.

Dustin Geiser earned the win. He allowed a pair of runs on three hits. He struck out eight and walked one batter on his way to the win. Josh Dykhoff shut the door, earning the save. He retired the side in order with a perfect seventh, recording one strike out in the process.

Bluffton's Dustin Geiser delivers to the plate as the Vergas baserunner gets his lead off of first. Geiser pitched six innings in earning the win over Vergas. ( Jason Groth / Pioneer Journal )
Bluffton's Dustin Geiser delivers to the plate as the Vergas baserunner gets his lead off of first. Geiser pitched six innings in earning the win over Vergas. ( Jason Groth / Pioneer Journal )

A lead off double by the Loons in the second helped led to a run in the second inning. Ian Christensen reached on an error, which allowed the run to score.

The Braves quickly got the run back in the third inning when Kurt Mursu walked and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Jake Dykhoff, which evened the game at one.

However, the Loons came right back. Rory Drewes singled and eventually scored on a misplayed fly ball in centerfield, which gave the Loons a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

However, the Braves came right back. Wyatt Hammann led off with a walk and eventually scored on an RBI groundout by Mursu.

The Braves had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the fifth. Back-to-back singles by Josh Dykhoff and Jake Dykhoff gave the Braves an early rally. However, Nick Lindberg shut the door in relief, striking out two of the next three batters to end the threat.

The Braves eventually got to Lindberg in the sixth. Rondestvedt launched an offering over the centerfield fence, giving the Braves the 3-2 lead. Geiser followed with a single and eventually scored on a two-out double from Josh Dykhoff to make it 4-2.

The Loons got the lead off batter on base in the sixth, but Geiser worked his way out of it with a pair of strikeouts and a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Josh Dykhoff closed it out, earning the save in the 4-2 victory.

Bluffton's Josh Dykhoff shut the door with a perfect seventh to record the save in the Braves' 4-2 victory over the Vergas Loons. ( Jason Groth / Pioneer Journal)
Bluffton's Josh Dykhoff shut the door with a perfect seventh to record the save in the Braves' 4-2 victory over the Vergas Loons. ( Jason Groth / Pioneer Journal)

Lindberg was saddled with the loss for the Loons. He allowed two runs on three hits in three innings of work. He struck out five batters.

Josh Dykhoff finished with three hits for the Braves, one of them a double. Jake Dykhoff added a hit and a run batted in. Rondestvedt had a hit and a run batted in, while Mursu drove in a run as well.

Jake Dykhoff closed out the tournament with a complete game victory for the Braves in the 2-0 victory over Champlin Park.

The Braves return to play with a road game against the New York Mills Millers on July 3 as part of the annual celebration in Mills. The Millers opened the season with a 5-3 defeat to the Deer Creek Shockers, and will be playing their second and final home game of the season on July 3.