The Waconia Lakers are ready for Young America Friday night in the first round of the Region 7C tournament, after making it through the Crow River Valley League North division playoffs by sweeping St. Boni in two games last week.
Lakers 4, Saints 2
In a best of three series, the Lakers hosted St. Boni on Wednesday, July 24. Like the games previous, the Laker offense was cold, limited to only seven hits, but fortunately for Waconia, those seven hits were all that was needed to outlast the Saints 4-2.
“We didn’t play very well on Wednesday, but still came up with the win,” Ronnie Olson said. “We didn’t execute at the plate and weren’t getting many clutch hits.”
The Lakers posted one run in both the top of the first and second innings, before the Saints tied it up at 2-2 in the fourth. Waconia crossed two final runs in seventh to take the 4-2 lead and the win two innings later.
Ben Smothers (2-5) was the only Laker with a multi-hit night. He also raked in three stolen bases and an RBI.
Kodey Simon stole two bases and was among the Lakers with one hit, which also included Craig LaPlante, Evan Buhr, Nick Litfin, and Jeremy Salden.
Evan Buhr led the Laker defense by pitching all nine innings. He allowed just two runs (both earned) on six hits.
“[Evan Buhr] had one of his best games of the year to lead us to the win,” Olson said.
Lakers 10, Saints 0
Hitting finally improved for the Lakers on Friday, July 26, as they hosted the Lakers in the second game of the series. With 15 hits, double that of Wednesday evening, the Lakers cruised to a 10-0 victory over the Saints in seven innings.
Ryan Naughton shut down the Saints early from the mound, only allowing four hits all game while striking out nine St. Boni batters.
On the offensive end, the Lakers posted one run in the bottom of the first and another in the fourth for a 2-0 lead, before the rally really began with four runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Four more runs in the bottom of the seventh sealed the Saints fate and the game was called after seven due to the 10-run rule.
“Friday we played a lot better and we hope to continue to keep that momentum going in Regions,” Olson said.
Olson and Peter Brown were both 3-4 at the plate and both drove home two RBIs a piece. Smothers and Salden were 2-4 on the night, while Dan Butz, Buhr, Nick Hukriede, Kevin Bullis, and Litfin also had hits as part of the Lakers’ 15 total.
Region 7C tournament
With two wins, a third game wasn’t needed in the series, and the Lakers earned a week off to prepare for the Region 7C tournament, which they will enter as the No. 2 North seed. Waconia will face South No. 3 seeded Young America Friday night, Aug. 2 at 8 p.m. in Glencoe.
The Cardinals are coming off a 16-11 season (14-7 in the CRVL South). To make Region 7C play, the Cardinals defeated Carver in a three-game series, winning Games 1 (6-2) and 3 (11-1).
“We beat Y.A. earlier in the season and know they will come out with a lot of energy,” Olson said. “It should be a fun game under the lights and we hope to start the tournament out with a win.”
The victor of the Lakers/Cardinals game will play Sunday, Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. against the winner of the New Germany/Plato game. The loser will play Saturday, Aug. 3 at 4 p.m. against the loser of Plato/New Germany.
For the Region 7C tournament, the Lakers drafted Tanner Luebke, of the Mayer Blazers. The three other qualifying teams (No. 1 Winsted, No. 3 Watertown, and No. 4 New Germany) all chose their draftees from Glencoe. Cole Trebesch will go to Winsted, Ryan Styles to Watertown, and Jamie Paumen to New Germany.
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