Amateur Baseball: Bluffton 0-2 at Region 14C Tournament
By John George
It was a rough weekend for teams from the HI-10 League at the Region 14C Tournament last weekend. By the end of the third round on Sunday, the only team alive from the league with a shot at State was the Bertha Blazers.
Bluffton, the wild card team from the HI-10, was doubled-up in both of their games in the tournament. They went 0-2 and saw their season come to an end.
In the opening round on Friday in Clarissa, the Braves lost to Carlos, 12-6. Carlos was the first place team from the Resorters East League.
Carlos got the scoring started with a three-run first inning. Bluffton answered to tie the game in the third. Jake Seelhammer scored on an error after a sacrifice bunt attempt by Brent Weller. Kyle Dykhoff drove in Kurt Mursu for the Braves second run of the inning and Weller scored the tying run on a passed ball.
Bluffton went up 4-3 in the fourth as Seelhammer, who had reached on an error, scored on a single by Cody Geiser.
The lead was short-lived, as Carlos exploded for six runs in the fifth. They added single runs in the next three innings to go up 12-4 before the Braves tacked on a couple runs in the ninth.
Dustin Geiser took the loss on the mound for Bluffton. He allowed nine runs, five earned, over five innings with seven strike outs and six walks.
The Braves faced a familiar foe in the consolation bracket, the Bertha Blazers. Bertha, the second place team from the HI-10, had a 2-1 edge in the season series over Bluffton, including a 12-2 win in seven innings in the HI-10 playoff semifinal.
The Blazers, who were in the consolation bracket after a 6-2 loss to the Nisswa Lightning, made it three-straight over Bluffton with a 4-2 win Saturday in New York Mills.
Bertha scored three runs in the second inning and added another in the fifth for a 4-0 lead off Braves starter Kyle Dykhoff. Dykhoff went the distance for Bluffton, scattering seven hits and striking out six while allowing just one walk and three earned runs.
The Braves offense managed just single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Weller led the team, going 2-for-5 with a double and RBI. Seelhammer was 2-for-4 with a run scored and Marc Sweere was 1-for-3 and scored one run.
Perham's Tyler Doll, a draftee for Bertha, pitched an inning and two-thirds of perfect relief to close the game for the Blazers.
Bertha then moved on to take on the HI-10 champs, Wadena-Deer Creek. The Shockers had won their first round game over the Verndale Bison, 3-2, before falling to the Nimrod Gnats Saturday afternoon, 7-2. Bertha, playing in their first ever Region 14C tournament, knocked off the HI-10's top team, 5-2, to advance.
Bertha's next game will be Friday, Aug. 14 against the Clarissa Flyers. The game will be played at Russ Jacobson Field in New York Mills with first pitch scheduled for 8 p.m.
The winner of that game will move on to take on Nimrod on Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. in Perham for the chance to secure a spot at the State Tournament. Carlos has already secured a spot in the 14C championship and a berth in the State Tournament. The 14C Championship will be at Al Krueger Field in Perham on Aug. 16 at 4:30 p.m.