The Bluffton Braves received an unexpected lift when Jake Dykhoff showed up for the Class C State Tournament game against the Randall Cubs on Aug. 29. Dykhoff delivered with a two-hitter as the Braves steamrolled the Cubs 11-0 to advance to the Sweet 16 where they will face the Sartell Muskies on Sept. 5 at 6 p.m.
The Braves did not know for most of the week if their right-handed ace would be able to play. Dykhoff is in his first season at the University of Minnesota-Crookston after two strong season at Minnesota State-Fergus Falls
Bluffton manager Terry Geiser said it was a lift for the team when Dykhoff showed up to play in Milroy.
“It lifted everyone’s spirits up with Jake being there. We didn’t know all week long if he would be there or not,” Geiser said. “Everyone was more fired up and it lifted everyone’s spirits up when Jake showed up on Saturday.”
Josh Dykhoff and Wyatt Hamann added three hits each in the win as the Braves belted out 12 hits in the win. Cody Geiser, Jake Dykhoff, Kyle Dykhoff and Josh Dykhoff each drove in two runs for the Braves.
Geiser said prior to the Class C State Tournament the team was hungrier this year and it showed up with a quick six-run second inning, which put the game away against Randall.
“I think they are hungry and I think they weren’t as nervous as they were last year,” Geiser said. “I think it will carry over into Sartell and I’m hoping that is the case. I think they are going to show up in Milroy against Sartell ready to play. They have that confidence in themselves that they can go out and play with anybody which is good to have.”
The quick start for the Braves has been a key of late. They broke open their Class C opener in the second inning and did the same in back-to-back Region 14C Championship games. It’s a good method of success for the Braves and something they hope to continue against the Muskies.
“It gives us more confidence. We feel that if we can get a lead on someone with our pitching, we feel very confident that we will be able to hold that lead,” Geiser said. “Our pitching has been good all year and if we can get a lead, we are confident that we can hold it.”
Sartell advanced with a 1-0 victory over Gaylord. They were led by a 17 strikeout performance from David Deminsky. He fanned 17 batters and allowed six hits, but was able to keep the Islanders off the board.
Deminsky, a draftee of the Minnesota Twins in 2010, poses an interesting matchup for the heavy left hand hitting Braves’ lineup.
“All I know is they have a very good left handed pitcher. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2010 and throws very well,” Geiser said. “That’s going to set up some matchups with us since we have five lefthanded batters in the lineup. We will have to show up and see what we can do. We will have to keep the game close and hope we can come out on top.”
Cody Partch drove in the lone run for Sartell in the victory over Gaylord. Jace Otto and Adam Schellinger had the other two hits for the Muskies in the victory.
The Braves and the Muskies square off in the round of 16 at the Class C State Tournament at 6 p.m. on Sept. 5 at MIlroy’s Yankee Stadium. The game can be streamed for a small fee at prepspotlight.tv.