American Legion baseball: Pierz advances to region title game, 5-0 – St. Cloud Times
Pierz advances to state baseball championship game with 1-0 win.
WAHPETON, N.D. — No baby yet, but Dylan Pittman returned to the Pierz American Legion baseball team and Matt Tautges welcomed him back with a two-hitter.
Pierz Post 341 defeated Las Vegas (Nevada) 5-0 in the Division II Central Plains Regional semifinals to advance to the championship game. Pierz (17-1) will play for the regional title at about 1 p.m. Sunday.
The championship game will start about 45 minutes after the completion of the third-place game. Pierz will play either West Salem, Wisconsin, or Thompson, North Dakota, for the region title.
West Salem and Thompson are playing the late semifinals game and the game had a rain delay. The third-place game is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Pittman, Pierz’s head coach, was not with the team the first two days of the regional because his wife, Colleen, is expecting the couple’s second child. No new baby, but Pittman was back with the team Saturday.
“She had an appointment yesterday to make sure she’s not going to go into labor in the next couple of days and she’s not showing any signs of going into labor,” Pittman said.
So Pittman made the two-hour drive to Wahpeton, North Dakota, to coach Pierz in the region semifinals.
“It was fun to see the guys again and get back to coaching them because it’s so fun to coach them,” Pittman said.
Tautges threw 61/3 innings of hitless baseball. He allowed two singles up the middle by Jordan Bohnet and Jimmy Katona in the seventh inning after getting the first out in the seventh.
“Then he got a one-hopper (ground ball) and caught it with his bare hand and threw the guy out for the last out,” Pittman said. “I think he was a little frustrated he didn’t finish off the no-hitter.”
Tautges, who plans to play baseball next season at St. Scholastica, struck out four and walked three.
Pierz scored two runs in the third to take the lead. With one out, shortstop Preston Rocheleau put down a suicide squeeze bunt to score left fielder Reese Kapsner from third for the first run. First baseman Noah Boser followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
In the fourth, third baseman Jack Suska doubled and scored on a double by center fielder Luke Girtz to give Pierz a 3-0 lead.
Then in the sixth inning, Kapsner had an RBI single and Rocheleau knocked in a run on a ground out for a 5-0 lead.
“The big dogs in our lineup didn’t do a whole lot, but the bottom of our lineup did,” Pittman said.
That offense was enough for Tautges.
“I was hoping we’d score enough runs to get him out of the game because his arm was a little sore today,” Pittman said. “But that was not bad for having a bit of a stiff arm.”
Rocheleau, who threw three innings in a start Friday, will get the start in the championship game. Rocheleau was the starting pitcher for Pierz in the Class 2A state high school championship game.
Suska was 2-for-3 with a double, Girtz was 2-for-3 and Reese Kapsner was 2-for-3 for Pierz, which had eight hits.
Ethan O’Neal took the complete-game loss. He struck out three and walked four.