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Front row L to R: Jim Belfiori, Ray Sailer, Gary Grewe, Steve Sheets, Larry Mollins. Back: Jim Nelson, Gary Lackey, Greg Schmid, Jeremy Kovash, Erin Anderson, Jason McClellan, Dan Miller. Not pictured: Ron Litzau, Tony Stoll, Jon Kotaska

Silver Pirates winless at State Tournament

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sports Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

The Silver Pirates have a very good hitting team and solid pitching but in the State Tourney you have to make the plays to win and that didn't happen for the Pirates.

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The Pirates traveled to Union Hill Saturday to take on the Searles Bullheads, a team dominated by Steinbach's and solid players from the New Ulm area.

Searles picked up seven runs on six hits but were aided by nine walks and some good technique offensively. Two sacrifice bunts executed perfectly, one by Terry Steinbach - former major leaguer with the Oakland A's and Minnesota Twins, along with timely hitting was enough to give the Bullheads a 7-0 win.

Gary Lackey had a solid day on the mound for Perham if you could take away the walks but control was an issue for Gary on this day. Lackey did fan eight Bullheads including Terry Steinbach but again control took its toll.

Steinbach handled the pitching chores for Searles and was able to scatter five hits by the Silver Pirates. The Pirates were able to pick up multiple hits in only the second inning by Gary Grewe and Ray Sailer but they were sandwiched between a couple of fly outs and a strikeout so no damage was done.

The Pirates best chance to score came in the bottom of the seventh as Jim Nelson launched a one-out double to the right-centerfield fence followed by Jeremy Kovash taking a pitch on the hand but a strikeout and fielders choice ended the game.

Jason McClellan and Steve Sheets also had singles to round out the hitting for Perham.

Web-Gem: Third baseman Ray Sailer gets the nod here as he prevented a big inning for the Bullheads in the third. With two on and nobody out, Sailer sped to his left and made a neat pickup as he tagged the runner coming to third then relayed the ball to Grewe at second to complete a big double play.

Player of the game: Jim Nelson had the solid double in the bottom of the seventh to give Perham some hope and did allot of work behind the plate on a warm evening.

On Sunday, the Silver Pirates traveled to Shakopee to take on the defending State Class AA State Champions - St. Peter Saints.

After two innings of play St. Peter led 4-0 and it's tough to give a good team a four run lead and come back for the victory. The Silver lads gave it a try! Jon Kotaska led off the fourth inning with a single and moved to second on a passed ball before Jim Nelson flew out to right. With one out Gary Grewe singled before Tony Stoll hit a solid single to left scoring Kotaska. Jeremy Kovash then ripped a double to the fence in right-center scoring Grewe and Stoll. Two strikeouts followed but the Pirates were back in the game trailing 4-3 with three at bats to go.

The Silver Pirates finally put together four solid innings of defense including some web gems along the way to keep the game in reach going into the last inning. Jason McClellan had to two sparking plays at short; the first came in the fourth as he made a backhanded grab in the hole and fired to Tony Stoll at third to nip a Saints runner and the second came as he cut down the leadoff hitter in the fifth with a diving catch up the middle and throw to Jeremy Kovash at first for the out. Jim Nelson cut down a stealing Saint runner with a strike to Larry Mollins at second for the first out in the fourth. Ron Litzau dashed in from his centerfield position to make a great catch and throw to Kovash at first for a double play in the sixth.

The Silver Pirates finally came back and tied the game in the top of the seventh as Ron Litzau singled. Kotaska flied out to center for the first out. Jim Nelson reached on an error and Grewe grounded to second for the second out. Tony Stoll then spanked his second hit of the day to score Litzau with the tying run.

In the bottom of the seventh, the leadoff hitter grounded to McClellan and on to Kovash for the first out. The second Saint singled and the next hitter lofted a soft liner to short right with both Mollins and Gary Lackey making a call.

Lackey made a diving catch while brushing Mollins to the side and fired to first from his knees to double up the runner and end the inning, but the umpire called the runner safe. A couple of walks and a misplay and the Saints come up with the winning run to send the Pirates to the showers.

The Silver Pirates missed a couple of plays and put the game in the hands of the umpires (especially the plate umpire) in the last inning and that is usually not good and such was the case this time.

Kotaska and Greg Schmid shared the mound duties and pitched good enough to win but it doesn't always happen. Both teams had ten hits, Perham garnered two walks while the Saints tallied five. Both mound staffs had five strikeouts and both teams committed three errors.

Player of the game: Kovash had two doubles, drove in two runs and picked up a walk to go along with some nice play at first base!

The State Tournament continues this weekend on Saturday, August 28, as Perham will head to Veseli to take on league foe the Alexandria Clippers, who gave Perham two of their regular season losses.

A couple other Northern League teams fared well over the weekend as Nisswa and Carlos are both in the semi-finals of Class B.

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