A’s beat Hadley 7-2, finish third at Pepsi Invitational

The Pipestone A’s amateur baseball team wrapped up its second annual Pepsi Invitational tournament with a 7-2 victory over the Hadley Buttermakers in the third-place tilt Sunday at A’s Field in Pipestone.

Falling behind 2-0 after a frame and a half, the A’s scored all they would need to secure the win over the ensuing two-and-a-half innings – plating seven runs on nine hits, including a 3-for-3 stint by Cole Lueck and a 2-for-4, three-RBI performance from Collin Moeller.

The A’s also took advantage of four miscues by the visiting Buttermakers, while playing flawless defense behind starting pitcher Dawson Schelhaas (2ER, 0H, 2K, 4W) and reliever Reid Homann (5 inn., 0ER, 7H, 5K, 1W) – who claimed the victory.

“I thought I was actually starting today, but either way I know ‘Schelly’ usually does a good job,” Homann said. “I was ready to follow him when we needed to make a change.”

Schelhaas was rock solid in the first inning, striking out the first batter he faced before getting the ensuing pair of Buttermakers to ground out and fly out, respectively. Schelhaas wasn’t nearly as sharp in the top of the second, walking in a run and throwing a wild pitch that allowed a second to cross the plate. Schelhaas eventually coaxed Derek Platt into popping up for the third out, bringing the A’s up to bat in the bottom of the inning.

Before Homann took the hill to open the third, the A’s had managed to whittle the two-run deficit in half. 

Isaiah Byrnes’ comebacker, which followed one-out singles off the bats of Lueck and Schelhaas loaded the bases for Brandon Moeller to sacrifice the Lueck home. Schelhaas pilfered third base to apply more pressure, but Homann’s drive to Platt at short ended the threat.

Although Homann gave up back-to-back hits to open his tenure on the hill, the powerful right-hander used his defense to get him out of the jam via a pair of groundouts and a flyout. 

Still trailing by a run, the A’s doubled their second-inning output in the bottom of the third frame to take a 3-2 lead – a lead they would not relinquish.

Back-to-back errors combined with an RBI single and an RBI double off the bats of Collin Moeller and Caleb Tinklenberg, respectively, quickly turned the tilt upside down. And despite having a runner picked off at third base, the A’s appeared to be well in control of the game moving into the fourth inning.

Homann again used his defense to bring the A’s sticks back to the plate, as Byrnes, Brandan Alfson and Brandon Moeller turned a 4-6-3 double play to get the hosts out of the frame.

A series of miscues, a dropped third strike and a hit batter signaled the end of Carlson’s day on mound, but the Hadley defense didn’t help reliever Jaden Bloemendaal get off to a good start either. An error at short allowed Homann (DTS) to score, and Collin Moeller followed with a line-drive double down the third-base line – plating Danny Moffitt (HBP) and Alfson for a 7-2 A’s lead.

Homann did much of the rest himself, settling into a good rhythm behind a solid heater.

“I had a lot of early fastball control, which was really nice, and I was throwing my cutter for strikes as well,” Homann said. “It was starting as a strike before moving away as a ball, and they were chasing it. It was just nice to get ahead in the count and then be able to throw that thing.”

Outside of multiple-hit games from Lueck and Collin Moeller, Alfson, Tinklenberg (RBI), Schelhaas and Byrnes finished with base hits for the Arrows – who made good use of the left angle.

“They threw a lot of early fastballs, and we were abusing that third-base line,” Homann said. “We were ahead of it, but we still found hits down that line. We’d been hitting it foul a lot this tournament, so it was nice to have some land inside the line for a change.”

Overall, the A’s fared better than they did at last year’s inaugural summer tournament, and player/manager Jordan Karels is looking to group the tournament with other Pipestone activities next summer.

“We went 0-3 last year, so it was nice to see some different teams and get a couple of wins this year at our tournament,” Karels said. “Everyone helping is doing a great job, whether it’s the American Legion guys, Scott (Heidebrink) and Chad Walters, Mike Friese; Harlan Nepp and Sandy Karels helped out today and we couldn’t do this without their help and the help of Pepsi and our other sponsors.

“Next summer we’re hoping to match it up with the ‘Quarry Bash,’ at the Stonehouse Supper Club, to take advantage of all the other activities and make it a fun weekend.”

Hadley   020 000 0 – 2 7 4

A’s                         012 400 X – 7 9 0

A’s 5, Jax 3

The A’s rebounded from Friday night’s loss to knock off the Wabasso Jax Saturday afternoon at A’s Field in Pipestone. 

Collin Moeller paced the A’s at the plate with a pair of base hits and two runs scored. Lueck also had a pair of hits, while Homann (run), Moffitt (run), and Jordan Karels each had a hit in the contest. Schelhaas also scored for Pipestone against Wabasso.

Mike Friese pitched for the victory against the Jax.

Jax                        010 200 0 – 3 4 2

A’s                         010 004 X – 5 7 1

Hops 6, A’s 0

The A’s didn’t have much to celebrate regarding their play following Friday night’s tournament opener in Pipestone, as the Sioux Falls Hops limited the hosts to just two hits for the game – both off the bat of Alfson (double).

Austin Evans went four frames as the A’s starter, giving up five earned runs on five hits while striking out four and walking one. Dominic Freese hurled two innings, giving up one earned run on two hits, and Avery Ploeger closed out the game in the seventh – coaxing a trio of groundouts out of the Hops.

The big plus for the A’s Friday night was the aid raised for the Homann family to waylay the costs incurred in supporting Reid’s father Dave as he fights infection associated with his double lung transplant surgery.

“It was really great of Avery and Jordan to do that for us; we ended up raising close to $7,000,” Reid Homann said. “I know he really appreciates it and this will help all of us traveling down to Iowa City to be with him … and all the hotel stays for my mom.”

SFH                      020 301 0 – 6 7 0

A’s                         000 000 0 – 0 2 2