In a game that featured 39 combined strikeouts, it was a defensive miscue that lifted the Bluffton Braves to a 1-0 12-inning victory over the Sartell Muskies at Milroy’s Yankee Stadium on Sept. 5.
Wyatt Hamann hit a hard ground ball to short that was mishandled, and Kyle Dykhoff hustled around third base to score from second on the play for the game’s only run in a game that was dominated by pitching.
Jake Dykhoff and former Minnesota Twins draftee David Deminsky dueled it out on the hill, but neither pitcher factored in the final decision. Dykhoff went eight innings and struck out 13 batters, none bigger than the final three that he faced in the eighth inning. He scattered five hits and walked two batters.
Deminsky pitched 11 innings, fanned 21 batters, walked three and gave up three hits. For the tournament, Deminsky struck out 38 batters and did not give up a run but ends with only one win.
Justin Dykhoff earned the win with four scoreless innings of relief. He did not allow a hit. He walked one and struck out four.
However, it was the two starting pitchers that dazzled throughout the game and kept both teams at bay. Jake Dykhoff worked out of trouble in the first and second innings, but it was the eighth inning that preserved the game for the Braves.
After giving up back-to-back walks, Ethan Carlson laid down a perfect bunt, loading the bases. However, Dykhoff came up with some of his best work of the night. He struck out Tim Burns, Jace Otto and Jake Sweeter, the heart of the Muskies order, to keep the game scoreless.
The Braves threatened against Deminsky in the fifth inning. Hamann, who was a thorn in Deminsky’s side all game, coaxed a walk and moved to third on a single by Sam Tellers. However, Deminsky recorded one of his 21 strikeouts to escape the threat.
The Braves pushed across the game-winning run in the 12th inning. Justin Dykhoff singled and was forced out at second when the shortstop misplayed a line drive, but Justin was not able to advance on the play. Josh Dykhoff followed with a single, putting two guys on base. Hamann followed with the hard-struck ground ball to short, which was misplayed, allowing Kyle Dykhoff to wheel around third and score the go-ahead run and yell out a scream as he slid across the plate.
Justin Dykhoff eliminated any thought of a Sartell rally in the 12th inning. He worked quickly and efficiently in shutting down the Muskies in order.
Adam Wenker was ticketed with the loss. He pitched an inning of relief and allowed one unearned run on two hits. He struck out one.
Josh Dykhoff finished with two hits, while Jake Dykhoff, Justin Dykhoff and Sam Tellers had hits in the game for the Braves.
The Braves are now in the Elite Eight of the Class C State Tournament and will play St. Patrick at noon on Sept. 6 at Milroy’s Yankee Stadium. St. Patrick advanced with a 16-4 victory over Carver.