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Resorters baseball: Carlos rallies in battle of the best

Matt Hoelscher released a pitch in the fifth inning on Sunday. Hoelscher got the win after throwing five scoreless innings. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

The Brandon-Evansville Bluedogs could only watch as the Carlos Cougars chipped away at a four-run deficit before Brad Nyberg delivered the game-winning hit in an 8-7 win for Carlos on Sunday.

A game between the two division leaders in the Resorters League lived up to the billing. The Bluedogs struck with a solo home run in the first inning from Chris Shea and eventually built a 7-3 lead in the fourth. That came after a five-run run third inning that was highlighted by a two-run, two-out double from Monte Hinzmann.

The Cougars chipped away from there. They got RBIs from AJ Anderson and Justin Steidl that made it 7-5 in the sixth before tying things up in the eighth. Ryan Severson evened it up with an RBI single. Then in the ninth, Nyberg delivered a game-winning hit through the left side of the infield after Jay Schueler had got on with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

"Basically, I was trying to make solid contact," Nyberg said. "I haven't been put in that situation yet this year, and I'm glad it came out the way it did."

That made a winner out of Matt Hoelscher on the mound. Mark Hillesheim started for the Cougars and went the first four innings before Hoelscher took over with his team trailing by four in the fifth. He proceeded to pitch five shutout innings that allowed his team to climb back into it. The Bluedogs threatened in the ninth, putting runners on first and second with nobody out, but Hoelscher got the next three guys he faced to secure the win.

"It's just mainly throw strikes and keep ourselves in it," Hoelscher said of his approach once he took over. "Our defense did a heck of a job. I'm not a strikeout pitcher. I pitch to contact and we had guys, infield, outfield, making plays. My mentality was just go up there and try not to give up any runs and keep us in the game so we can come back on offense."

The Cougars did that and will head into the postseason with a perfect 13-0 record. They wrapped up another East Division title during the regular season and will now turn their attention to the playoffs. Brandon-Evansville has three games left before the postseason and is trying to wrap up the West Division after falling to 9-2 overall with the loss.

The Bluedogs looked to be in good position before things got away from them in the late innings. They rallied after falling behind 3-1 when Jake Tharaldson drilled a two-RBI triple for Carlos in the top of the third inning. Brandon-Evansville answered back immediately behind Hinzmann and an RBI single from Brent Meissner that made it 7-3. Ryan Hendrickson eventually took the loss in relief after allowing three runs over the final two innings.

"We didn't put it

together those last three innings," Brandon-Evansville's Josh Meissner said. "If we would have played a lot better those last two when [Hendrickson] came in, we would have closed it down. We couldn't hit Matt at the end there."

Collin Modahl started for Brandon-Evansville on the mound but didn't factor in the decision. He hadn't played in three weeks after getting married last weekend. Modahl said he felt pretty good but went just four innings to save his arm for a July 4 game against Ashby. His only blemish came in that three-run third inning for Carlos.

"I try to get the ball over the plate," Modahl said. "We play in a pretty big park here, so just get them to hit the ball. Put it in play and let the defense do a lot of work. Early on, I wasn't mixing it up enough. I was throwing too many fastballs, and they're just too good of a team with just a fastball. I had to kind of work backwards with curveballs and sliders early in the count to get them off balance, but you can't hold them down. They're going to hit the ball hard. You just hope it's at somebody."

The Bluedogs will try to get back on track with that game tomorrow, Thursday, at 7 p.m. against Ashby in Evansville. They will be at Clarissa on Saturday and at Kensington on Sunday to wrap up the regular season. Both those games are set for 2 p.m.

See Friday's issue of the Echo Press for more on both these teams as they set their sights on a run to the state tournament in the next couple weeks.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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