Resorters East baseball: Pitchers' duel ends in walk-offMiltona edged out Carlos 1-0 in playoff action
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
An expected pitcher’s duel with two of the best hurlers in the Resorters League lived up to its billing in Miltona last Saturday as the Tigers punched their ticket to region play with a walk-off win over Carlos in the East semifinals.
Miltona’s Chris Koep and the Cougars’ Ben Bruggeman matched each other pitch-for-pitch almost all night. But like so many times this season, Koep proved to have a little bit more in a 1-0 victory.
“Chris has had another outstanding season,” manager Paul Walsh said. “He’s definitely the guy that wants the ball in a big game.”
Former Alexandria Cardinal standout Ross Thompson made sure he got the win in the bottom of the ninth. The second baseman had a chance to break a scoreless tie in the fifth when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs. Thompson hit the ball hard but right at the left fielder as the game remained scoreless.
He did not waste a second chance in the bottom of the ninth. Colin Erickson reached on a one-out single and was replaced on the bases with pinch runner Kevin Engebretson. Engebretson stole second to get into scoring position for Mark Whiting before Bruggeman won that battle with a strikeout.
That brought Thompson to the plate in another clutch situation. He squared up the ball again, this time sending it just inside the right-field line as Engebretson raced home for the winning run.
“Ross has done extremely well considering this is his first year in amateur baseball,” Walsh said. “He has adjusted to wood bats very effectively. Ross is also probably the [best] defensive second baseman in our league.”
The Cougars saw some early chances go by the wayside that cost them in the end. Carlos put a runner on second base in each of the first four frames but could not get the big hit against Koep.
Those proved to be the only chances the Cougars would get as the game went along. Koep found his groove and retired 12 straight batters at one point. He finished his day by allowing just three hits and striking out 12. He heads a staff that gives this team a chance almost every game.
“This is probably the deepest pitching staff that the Tigers have had in recent history,” Walsh said. “Backing up Koep, we have Colin Erickson, Shawn Krueger and John Mohror as starters. We also have a few guys that have proven they can handle short relief duties as needed.”
Koep needed to be almost flawless with Bruggeman countering him on the mound. He gave up just five hits and struck out eight. Both pitchers got error-free defense behind them.
The win for Miltona secured its trip to the region tournament and a spot in the Resorters East title game. Carlos made sure it would get another crack at the Tigers in that game by beating Urbank 5-2 on Sunday in the loser’s bracket.
The East championship game will be played tomorrow, Saturday, with a 5 p.m. first pitch in Carlos. The Cougars also secured their spot at regions with the win over Urbank. The two teams will now be playing for the right to represent the East as the No. 1 seed.