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Chris Koep pitched seven innings for the Miltona Tigers in their State Class C amateur baseball tournament opener last week, striking out five and allowing just one earned run as the team advanced to the second round. They will now play Hayfield on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Glencoe.

State amateur baseball: Two-out ninth inning rally advances Miltona

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It was a pair of Tigers going at it in the first round of the State Class C amateur baseball opener in Glencoe last Sunday.

The Miltona Tigers, making their first appearance at state in 34 years, took a while to get going against the Belle Plaine Tigers, but the Miltona put together a four-run ninth to emerge with a 4-2 victory and advance to round two.

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Miltona will now face Hayfield on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Glencoe, with the winner going on to the double-elimination portion of the tournament and the loser going home.

"In baseball, it is said that the 27th out is always the hardest one to get," said Miltona manager Paul Walsh. "The Tigers needed that last out in their game.

Chris Koep, who struck out five in his seven innings of action, allowed Belle Plaine to score once in the third as they stitched together a leadoff double, a bunt single and a sacrifice fly.

"The next hitter then executed a near perfect hit and run, however, Tiger second baseman Cody Curry, who was covering the steal at second, reversed his direction and got to the ball that was hit to the right side of the Tiger infield. He fired the ball to first for one out and then Tom Steidl gunned out the Belle Plaine runner, who was attempting to gain third base."

The other Belle Plaine run in the fourth came on a two-out error to give them a 2-0 lead.

"Koep scattered four hits and really bore down when he needed to get an important out," Walsh said of his Tiger ace.

Miltona cut into that lead in the top of the seventh as Caleb Curry doubled, then scored as singles by Sam Steidl and Cody Curry moved him around.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the ninth, a two-out single by Ryan Emter scored the tying and the go-ahead runs as Tom Steidl and Kevin Engebretson came across the plate. Steidl had reached on a single and Engbretson on a walk.

Trey Thompson, who reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning, scored an insurance run on an error by the Belle Plaine shortstop.

Colin Erickson picked up the pitching win in relief as he allowed just one walk, striking out two in his two innings on the mound.

Emter, Caleb Curry and Tom Steidl each had two hits in the game, with Emter picking up a pair of RBIs.

GAME STATISTICS

MILTONA 000 000 103 4-9-3

BELLE PLAINE 001 100 000 2-4-1

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Chris Koep 7-4-2-1-4-5; Colin Erickson (W) 2-0-0-0-1-2.

HITTING - Ryan Emter 2-5, 2 rbi; Caleb Curry 2-5, 1 run; Sam Steidl 1-4; Cody Curry 1-4, 1 rbi; Tom Steidl 2-4, 1 run; Jake Leuschke 1-4; Kevin Engebretson 1 run; Trey Thompson 1 run.

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