Berg Baffles Tigers
Jesse Berg played fourteen years in a Springfield Tiger amateur baseball uniform before joining the Redwood Falls Redbirds for the 2011 season. On Sunday night in Redwood Falls he was the bulldog on the mound that the Tigers knew very well, only this time he was shutting down his former team. Going into the game, Springfield knew that a win would mean a second place finish in the American Division of the Tomahawk East, unfortunately the Tigers couldn't take care of business and a coin flip will determine whether the best-of-three playoff series against Leavenworth will start at home or on the road on Friday night.
The Tigers drew two walks and got a base hit from Alex Fink to load the bases in the top of the first, but were unable to get onto the scoreboard. This would be a theme of the evening, as Springfield would strand seventeen runners during the ballgame. Berg was able to bear down and get the big outs when needed, including getting four of his six strikeouts for the final out of the inning.
Dave Kreft was Berg's mound opponent. Redwood Falls got back-to-back hits from Logan Swann and Josh Junker to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the home half of the first. Kreft seemed to settle in, getting two strikeouts, allowing just a two-out hit in the second, but he ran into trouble again in the third. Elliott Serbus dropped down a bunt single to start the inning. Then Junker smashed a homer over the left field fence to give Redwood Falls a three run lead.
Alex Fink came on in the bottom of the fourth. He had a rough outting, giving up two runs on three hits in the fourth. The key hit, a two-run single, coming again from Junker. The Redbirds put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth taking advantage of a two-out walk and back-to-back doubles to push their lead to 7-0.
The Tigers went to the bullpen again in the bottom of the sixth. Brady Schwab made his first mound appearance of the season and did a nice job working around one hit in each of his three innings of work. Most importantly, he kept Redwood Falls from any further scoring.
Springfield spoiled Berg's shutout in the top of the eight when Ryan Sturm ripped a one-out single. Zach Bisel worked a walk during a ten pitch at-bat. Then Fink smashed a double to score Sturm. After giving up the single run, Berg got the out he needed to get out of the jam without any further damage.
John Jenniges took over the mound duties in the ninth for the Redbirds. Jordan Milbrath and Marc Salazar greeted him with two straight hits. A dropped pop-up in short rightfield allowed Milbrath to score. Salazar scored on a groundout by Matt Baier, but a final ground ball ended the game with a 7-3 tally.
Jordan Milbrath led the Tigers with three hits. Alex Fink and Ryan Sturm each added two hits. Brady Schwab, Marc Salazar, and Christian Loomis rounded out the Springfield offense for the night with one hit each. Josh Junker had a huge night for the Redbirds with three hits and their first five runs batted in. Logan Swann also had three hits. Jesse Berg earned the win, going eight strong innings, allowing just one run on eight hits, with six strikeouts. Dave Kreft took the loss for the visitors, working the first three innings, allowing three runs on six hits, with three strikeouts.
Springfield finishes the regular season with a record of 12-10 in the Tomahawk East League and a 13-14 overall record. The Tigers will begin a best-of-three game series on Friday night against the Leavenworth Orioles. The Tigers won a coin toss so the series begins at Riverside Park. They will also host game three, if needed. See you at the ballpark!
|A. Fink, SS/P/2B||5||0||2||1||0||0||2B|
|R. Sturm, RF||3||1||2||0||0||0||HP|
|Kreft (L, 1-4)||3||6||3||3||1||3|