MARSHALL - Most fans probably expected a low scoring affair between Windom and Springfield for the Section 3A Championship. Springfield was coming off of three straight shutouts, while Windom had only allowed one run in its previous three games. The game did not disappoint, as Windom came away on top of the pitchers' duel 1-0 to advance to the state tournament.
"To be honest with you, I expected a 1-0, 2-1 game and it happened," Tigers' coach Bob Fink said. "Unfortunately, we were on the short end of a 1-0 game."
Both starting pitchers turned in great performances. Collin Lovell and Isaac Kirschstein both pitched complete games while allowing two hits each and no earned runs.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Dahlseid/Marshall Independent
Sprinfield’s Isaac Kirschstein delivers a pitch against Windom in Thursday’s Section 3A championship game in Marshall.
Kirschstein suffered the loss with one unearned run being the difference.
The Tigers played great defense with few mistakes. They only committed one error and Kirschstein only gave up two walks or hit batters. Unfortunately for the Tigers, all of those mistakes happened in the top of the third inning.
The first two at bats in the inning looked almost identical. Kirschstein got up 1-2 on both batters, but followed them with inside pitches that just got a piece of the Windom hitters. After striking out the next batter, Andy Pfeffer connected with a single to right field. Outfielder Cole Milbrath struggled to snatch the ball out of the grass, allowing Sam Huska an extra base and the game's only run.
Kirschstein recovered very well, retiring the next two batters and not allowing a hit in the final three innings.
"Isaac was on," Fink said. "He pitched a great game. I couldn't ask for anything more. He competed, and I don't recall really one hard hit off of him. He did a tremendous job, and I'm proud of him."
Kirschstein finished the game with four strikeouts and no walks.
On the other side, Collin Lovell had a spectacular showing on the mound for the Eagles. He recorded nine strikeouts with only two walks in his complete-game shutout. Those strikeouts included seven of the nine outs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
"He was on," Fink said of Lovell. "He was in, out, up, down. The umpire had a good strike zone, did a great job, but he was hitting spots. He is a difficult pitcher to hit. There's no doubt about it."
Equally impressive was the Eagles' defense. They committed no errors in the game, and catcher Danny Kneeland threw out Springfield's only steal attempt.
Coach Fink was saddened to see his season come to an end.
"It's a disappointing ending, because our goal was to go to state," Fink said. "However, I could not have been blessed with a greater team to coach and a group of seniors who are outstanding. I feel blessed to have coached these guys."