Cougars fail to make state tournament
The Carlos Cougars were perfect heading into the Region 14C tournament.
Two losses later, they are heading home earlier than they hoped for after coming up just short of a state tournament berth. Carlos fell 6-3 against Bertha in the 14C semifinals this past Saturday, ending their season after advancing on Friday with an 8-7 win over Perham in 10 innings.
Bertha was able to overcome a 2-1 deficit through six innings by scoring five runs in their final two at-bats. They took a 3-2 lead with two runs in the seventh. Carlos quickly answered back in the top of the eighth behind an RBI double from Brad Nyberg.
Bertha then took a lead it wouldn't relinquish in the bottom of the eighth. A walk and a hit-by-pitch got the Blazers going. They went on to score three runs in the inning with the aid of just one hit.
Ben Bruggeman took the loss for the Cougars. He got the final two outs of the seventh in relief of starter Neil Jenzen. Bruggeman worked the eighth, allowing three earned runs on a hit and two walks. He struck out one.
Jenzen gave his team a chance through 6 1/3 innings. He scattered seven hits and three walks, while striking out four. He gave up three runs, just two earned.
Jordan Wohlwend countered him on the mound for the Blazers. He worked the first seven innings before giving way to Patrick Riewer in the eighth. Riewer gave up three hits and a walk over the final two frames but held the Cougars scoreless with the help of three strikeouts.
Aaron Noetzelman went 3-for-4 to lead the Cougars' offense. His two-RBI single in the second inning gave his team an early lead. David Schjenken went 2-for-2 with a walk, while Joe Snaza and Nyberg collected the other two hits for Carlos.
A day earlier, it was the Cougars who used a late rally to keep their season alive. Perham took a 4-0 lead after the first inning before watching it disappear in the fifth and sixth innings.
The two teams went into the 10th tied at six apiece when Carlos used a two-out rally to score twice. Ryan Severson got things going with a two-out walk in front of a Snaza single. That set the table for Nyberg, who delivered a single to break the tie. Jenzen followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 8-6.
That hit by Jenzen would prove to be important when Perham got one back in the bottom of the 10th on a sacrifice fly. Matt Hoelscher closed the door, though, by getting Beau Bruhn to ground out to end the game.
Hoelscher got the win after going the final 9 2/3 innings in relief of Snaza. Snaza couldn't find the strike zone in the first inning. He was charged with giving up four runs, three earned, on one hit and three walks and left after collecting just one out.
Hoelscher gave the Cougars a chance to get back in it by holding the Pirates to three unearned runs the rest of the way. He scattered six hits and three walks, while striking out six.
The loss to the Blazers ended the Cougars' season earlier than they anticipated after entering the region tournament with a 16-0 record. They finished the year 19-2 and as Resorters East regular season and tournament champions.
CARLOS 020 000 010 - 3 8 1
BERTHA 000 100 23X - 6 8 1
CARLOS PITCHING - Neil Jenzen - 6 1/3IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 4SO; Ben Bruggeman - 1 2/3IP, 1H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 1SO
CARLOS OFFENSE - Noetzelman - 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Severson - 1-5, 1 run; Snaza - 1-4, HBP; Nyberg - 1-5, 2B, RBI; Jenzen - 0-4, 1 run; Bruggeman - 0-3; Justin Steidl - 0-2, 2 BB, 1 run; M. Hoelscher - 0-3; Schjenken - 2-2, BB
CARLOS 000 032 010 2 - 8 12 6
PERHAM 400 010 010 1 - 7 7 4
CARLOS PITCHING - Snaza - 1/3IP, 1H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 1SO; M. Hoelscher - 9 2/3IP, 6H, 3R, 0ER, 3BB, 6SO
CARLOS OFFENSE - Noetzelman - 2-5, 2B, BB, 1 run; Severson - 2-3, 2 BB, 2 runs, 4 RBI; Snaza - 1-3, 1 run; Nyberg - 3-4, BB, HBP, 2 RBI; Jenzen - 1-6, RBI; Bruggeman - 1-6, 1 run; Steidl - 1-4, HBP, 1 run, RBI; M. Hoelscher - 0-4, BB, 1 run; Putnam - 1-2, BB1 run; Schjenken - 0-1
Eric Morken Eric Morken started as a sports reporter for the Echo Press on July 9, 2007. He is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls where he majored in journalism and minored in history and communications. In his spare time, Morken enjoys hunting and fishing or just being in the outdoors. He is also an avid Minnesota sports fan. Follow Sports Reporter Eric Morken on Twitter at @echo_sports. Read Eric's sports blog, More with Morken at Areavoices.