Late runs spur Greyhounds to win

NEW ULM – In the fourth inning of the Section 2A baseball playoff game between Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity and New Ulm Cathedral, the game went to the dogs.

Greyhounds, that is.

Cathedral scored three runs in the bottom of the fouth inning, four in the fifth and three more in the sixth to rout LP/HT 10-0 in six innings on Tuesday at Johnson Park.

Gabe Knowles got the pitching win for Cathedral (16-3). He srtuck out 12 and allowed just three hits – none after the third inning.

Josh Volness took the loss for LP/HT.

Michael Skillings and Russ Hoffman each had two hits for Cathedral with Hoffman and Brandon Beranek each driving in two runs. Hoffman had a double and triple at the plate with Skillings, Collin Helget and Beranek each collecting a double.

Cathedral will now play Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s, which beat No. 2-seeded BOLD 4-1, at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Johnson Park.

“This was a game where our kids really accepted the challenge,” said Cathedral coach Bob Weier. “Today it was scoreless going into that fourth inning. It showed character and that we are competitors. That is nice to see.”

What was nice to see for Cathedral came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Skillings coaxed a walk from Volness and stole second. Beranek brought him home one out later with a deep triple to center field.

Jack Schwartz followed with a base hit on a suicide squeeze bunt for a 2-0 lead. Nick Stadick’s sacrifice bunt advanced Schwartz to second before a James Herzog base hit brought in Schwartz to give Cathedral a 3-0 lead.

The Greyhounds added four more runs in the fifth inning when Nate Palmer walked and hustled to third when LP/HT catcher Jared Stipel could not find the pitch in the dirt.

Helget walked and Palmer scored on a wild pitch on the walk to Helget. Skillings’ double scored courtesy runner EJ Berdan. Hoffman followed with a double to right field and a Beranek sacrifice fly scored Skillings for a 7-0 lead that ended Volness’ day on the mound.

“We had some very nice at-bats today – Beranek’s triple and then his fly ball to right field that moved a runner over, Hoffman’s ground ball to move a runner over, Schwartz’ squeeze bunt and Herzog’s line drive base hit,” Weier said. “And Stadick’s base hit to score the 10th run saved [Knowles] an inning and 15-16 pitches.”

Cathedral then ended the contest in the sixth inning on a Helget double, a Skillings base hit and a Hoffman triple before Herzog ended the game with that base hit.

“Once we got the lead on them they seemed to have lost their edge,” Weier said. “[Assistant coach] Alan Woitas noticed that [Volness] was going a lot to the curve ball after he got a one strike count. Once he got one srtike on you he was throwing curveballs. He (Woitas) shared that with the kids.”

Weier was also happy with Knowles, who struggled early but settled down later on.

“He found his groove in the fourth inning and had confidence in his pitches,” Weier said.

Weier and his Greyhounds now prep for Thursday’s game against the Knights.

“It will be a battle,” he said.

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