STARK TOWNSHIP - Springfield defeated the Stark Longhorns 4-3 in Region 2C amateur baseball playoff action on Sunday.
Springfield also defeated Leavenworth 3-2 on Saturday night to open the tournament.
On Sunday, Stark gave the ball Adam Sellner. He worked his way around a number of Tiger baserunners while keeping Springfield off the scoreboard, stranding four in scoring position during the first five innings.
Brandon Wilhelmi took the mound for the Tigers. He worked around a walk in each of the first two innings by picking off the baserunner in the first, and starting a 1-6-3 double play in the second.
A pair of errors in the bottom of the third put Stark on the board with an unearned run. Jake Mangen led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit. Brandon Helget followed by launching a two-run homer into the field over the right field fence to push the Stark lead to three.
Ryan Sturm started the top of the sixth with a single. Marc Salazar followed with a base hit of his own. A double play put a damper on the rally, but left the Tigers with Sturm at third. Cooper Scheffler ripped the third hit of the inning to get Springfield within two at 3-1.
The Tigers continued to fight back in the seventh. Zach Bisel started the inning with a base hit. Menage drew a walk to get two on. With two out, Alex Fink nestled a pop-up into short right field to drive in Bisel. Sturm followed by smashing a single to drive in Menage and tie the game at three apiece.
Wilhelmi kept the damage at three after the homer in the fourth. He retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh, the only three-up, three-down inning of the ballgame, to cap his solid performance.
Fink reached on a Stark's only error of the ballgame with two outs in the top of the ninth. After Fink swiped second, the Longhorns issued an intentional walk to Sturm. The free pass brought up Salazar, who doubled to right-center field. Fink scored to give the Tigers the lead, but the inning came to an end as Sturm was thrown out at the plate.
Given the lead, Portner went to work in the bottom of the ninth. He struck out the side to help close out the win.
Three Tigers had multi-hit days as part of Springfield's 11-hit attack. Marc Salazar led the way with three hits on the day. Sturm and Scheffler added two hits each. Menage, Brandon Wilhelmi, Alex Fink, and Zach Bisel all contributed one hit to the Tiger offense.
Craig Fischer had two of Stark's six hits in the game to lead the Longhorns.
Eric Portner picked up the win, working the final two innings, giving up one hit while striking out three.
Sellner took the complete game loss for the Longhorns. He allowed four runs, three earned, on 11 hits with eight strikeouts, while walking five and hitting two.
The win moves Springfield to 2-0 in the Region 2C Tournament and drops Stark to 0-2.
The Tigers opened the Region 2C Tournament by defeating Leavenworth 3-2 on Saturday night. Hanska draftee Dayton Larson earned the win for the Tigers, along with big hitting and pitching by Fink, gave the Tigers a win.
Zach Mickelson smashed a double to right field to start the ballgame. A wild pitch moved him over the third base. After a Tiger error, Andy Cook opened the game's scoring with a sacrifice fly to give Leavenworth an early 1-0 lead.
Springfield went to work in its first at-bat with Menage legging out an infield hit to start. Fink then doubled to right-center, scoring Menage to even things at one.
Christian Loomis battled off a number of pitches to win the battle with Leavenworth hurler Derek Skovbroten and draw a base on balls to begin the bottom of the second. A sac bunt by Scheffler, followed by a ground out moved him to third with two down. Jacob Vanderwerf put the Tigers in the lead with a single to score Loomis, making the tally 2-1.
In the third, a wild pitch from Skovbroten allowed Wilhelmi to score and give Springfield a two-run lead.
After allowing the run in the top of the first, Larson settled in and retired 10 straight Oriole batters. The string was broken by a leadoff walk in the fifth. He worked around walks in the sixth and seventh, as well. Through seven strong innings Larson had allowed just two Leavenworth hits.
With the three Springfield runs already on the board, Skovbroten found a groove, scattering three hits during his final five innings of work. Most importantly, keeping the Tigers from adding to their lead.
In the eighth, the Orioles put together three hits to load the bases with two outs. A Tiger miscue allowed Leavenworth to score its second run. Larson coaxed another grounder to get out of the jam without any further damage.
Fink came on in the save situation in the ninth and picked up his third save of the season.
Fink and Sturm led the Springfield offense, each going 2-for-4 on the night. Menage, Wilhelmi, Christian Loomis, and Vanderwerf all added one hit each to the Tiger attack.
Cook led the way for Leavenworth with two of the team's five hits.
Larson picked up the win for Springfield, going eight innings, allowing two unearned runs on five hits, while striking out six.
Skovbroten took the loss for Leavenworth, going the distance, allowing three earned runs on eight hits, while collecting four strikeouts.
Springfield hosts Sleepy Eye at 8 p.m. Tuesday while Stark travels to Lamberton at 8 p.m. Tuesday.