A two-run second inning was enough for the St. Patrick Irish as they eliminated the Bluffton Braves from the Class C Tournament with a 2-1 victory on Sept. 6 at Milroy’s Yankee Stadium.
The Braves deep run relied on strong pitching throughout the season and the Braves received another strong performance from Justin Dykhoff, a night after he picked up the win in relief against Sartell.
However, it was the fifth inning that was the Braves’ undoing in a close battle. Zak Endres led off with a single and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Jace Westman. Jack Friedges followed with a single, scoring Endres and on the throw Friedges moved up to second. After a strikeout, Kyle Rhodus followed with another single, scoring Friedges to make it 2-0.
The Braves came right back in the sixth inning and cut the lead in half. Cody Geiser and Jake Dykhoff hit back-to-back one-out singles and eventually moved into scoring position on an errant pick off attempt at first. Justin Dykhoff drove in the only run for the Braves with a sacrifice fly.
The Braves threatened again in the seventh inning when Josh Dykhoff reached base for the third time when he drew a walk. He eventually moved to second on a single by Sam Tellers. However, they were left stranded when Phillip Garcia recorded back-to-back fly outs to end the inning and closed the book on his day.
Garcia earned the win for St. Patrick. He allowed one run on six hits. He walked one and struck out two batters in seven innings of work. Faribault draftee Joey Grote picked up the save but had to wiggle out of trouble in the ninth.
Kyle Dykhoff led the ninth inning off with a walk. He moved to second with two outs when Kevin Tumberg drew a walk. However, Grote was able to record a strikeout to secure the save for the Irish.
The Irish had an opportunity in the bottom of the eighth to put the game away, but Dustin Geiser worked out of a bases loaded jam in relief. He induced a ground ball to Payton Rondestvedt at short, who was able to cut the runner down at the plate and recorded a strikeout to close out the inning.
Rondestvedt continued his strong play defensively at short for the Braves. He made several strong plays in the extra inning victory over Sartell and continued his strong play in the loss to St. Patrick.
Justin Dykhoff took the loss for the Braves. He allowed two runs on nine hits. He struck out nine and walked one batter in seven and a third innings of work.
Cody Geiser, Jake Dykhoff and Josh Dykhoff had two hits each for Bluffton, while Sam Tellers added a hit as well.