SLEEPY EYE — The No. The 7-seeded Martin County West Mavericks are embracing the underdog role throughout the Section 2A baseball tournament.
The Mavericks continued their magical run through the postseason tournament by upsetting the No. 2-seeded Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Knights, 5-4, in an undefeated-bracket game Thursday in Sleepy Eye.
Martin County West, which improved its record to 14-7 overall, advances to face the No. 1-seeded New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds at 11 am Saturday at ISG Field — formerly Franklin Rogers Field — in Mankato. New Ulm Cathedral remained unbeaten in sectional play by edging Sleepy Eye High School, 11-10 in eight innings, on Thursday.
“I told the guys we just need one out,” MCW head coach Phil Rotunda said when his team took the field for the bottom of the seventh inning. “I told them to get the sure out and not try to push it.”
Things got interesting as the Mavericks watched their 5-2 lead shrink to a single run.
Kain Sanders ended his day on the mound in the seventh inning, hitting his pitch count with one out, two runners on base and an unearned run in.
Jesse Potts came on, giving up a run after an infield miscue, and loading the bases with a walk. Potts induced a game-ending looper that was hit right at Mavericks’ shortstop Zach Anderson.
MCW posted its second straight victory over a higher-seeded opponent.
“I love that these kids have embraced themselves in these games,” Rotunda said. “They’ve dedicated themselves to playing their best baseball.”
The Mavericks scored their fourth and fifth runs of the game on Christian Bachenberg’s two-run double in the seventh inning. The Mavericks thwarted the Knights’ rally and now head to Mankato with confidence.
MCW scored two runs in the second inning, but Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s tied it with single runs in the third and fifth innings.
MCW went ahead for good on Potts’ run-scoring single, plating Wyatt Williamson. The Mavericks added two runs in the top of the seventh.
Bachenberg, Jacob Fiala and Potts each collected two hits, while Sanders and Brice Enter each had one hit for the Mavericks.
Joseph Herzog had two hits to pace the Knights’ hitting attack. Carson Domeier, Owen Weiss, Mark Anderson, Kaleb Wait, Brandon Schmitz and Kamerson Kosak also had hits for the Knights.
Sanders earned the pitching win, giving up four runs, eight hits, two walks, two hit batters and two strikeouts for the Mavericks.
Potts had a save for MCW, not giving up a run, zero hits, one walk, while Talan Helget took the loss for St. Mary’s.
MCW 020 001 2 — 5 8 2
SESM 001 010 2 — 4 8 3
Kain Sanders (WP), Jesse Potts (7, SV) and Christian Bachenberg. Brandon Schmitz, Talan Helget (7, LP), Owen Weiss (7) and Talen Helget, Riley Rutscher (7).
LOB–Martin County West 8, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s 11. 2B–Bachenberg (MCW) 2, Jacob Fiala (MCW).