Bullheads advance in 35-and-over state tourney

GAYLORD – The Searles Bullheads advanced to the championship semifinals of the Class AA 35-and-over state baseball tournament with a pair of wins during the weekend.

On Sunday evening the No. 11-seeded Bullheads beat the No. 14-seeded Shakopee Chiefs 6-3 in the second-round game played at Gaylord.

Among highlights of the game were the seven sacrifices registered by the Bullheads. Searles’ first four runs were hit in by sacrifice fly balls to the outfield.

In the third inning, Corey Schaefer and Craig Schmitz got the RBI sac flys. Cory Haala hit a sac fly in the fourth inning and Schmitz got his second RBI on a fly ball to right field in the fifth inning to give the Bullheads a 4-3 lead.

Then in the bottom of the sixth the Bullheads added two insurance runs. Matt Kuster scored his second run of the game on a defensive error at second base. Troy Kamm scored the final run on an RBI single by Schaefer. John Giefer, Scott Rummel and Schaefer recorded sacrifice bunts during the game.

Haala, in his first pitching start of the season, went six innings for Searles, scattering six hits and striking out two batters. Haala gave up single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Chris Peters, who had two of the six Bullheads’ hits, pitched the seventh inning and gave up one hit.

On Saturday the Bullheads opened state tournament play in Hamburg by playing the No. 6-seeded Menahga-Sebeka Relics. Scott Rummel got his fifth win of the season by going the full seven innings and shutting out the Relics by a score of 5-0. Rummel gave up four hits, with his teammates playing errorless defense behind him and recording two double plays.

Although the Bullheads had only five hits of their own, along with three walks and a hit batsman.

Searles scored two runs in the third inning. After a walk, sacrifice bunt by Rummel and a single by Kamm, Giefer got an RBI on a ground out. Two batters later Schmitz hit a single to drive in Kamm for the second run of the inning.

In the fifth inning, Brant Drill laced a double to the left field corner, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Giefer’s sacrifice fly.

Two more insurance runs were added in the sixth. Schmitz was hit by a pitch, went to second on Brian Sieve’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Doug Ekstrom’s triple. One pitch later, Ekstrom scored on Haala’s perfectly suicide squeeze bunt, which was the 11th sacrifice in the two tournament games.

The Searles Bullheads will now play the St. Peter Saints at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Arlington in the semifinal game. Last year, St. Peter defeated Searles in the Class AA championship game. The Bullheads will conclude state tournament play on Sunday in Hamburg, in either the championship game at 6 p.m. or the third-place game at 4 p.m. Bullheads fans are invited.

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