MITCHELL — With the “weight” of having to tie the game off his shoulders, Tabor’s Colin Muth used those relieved shoulders to lift a fly ball to left field, scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th of a 6-5 victory over the Kimball-White Lake Nationals in the first round of the South Dakota State Class B Amateur Baseball Tournament on Thursday at Mitchell’s Cadwell Park.
Sam Caba and Tanner Van Driel each had two hits for Tabor. Hunter Hallock doubled and Colin Muth singled for the Bluebirds, who took advantage of 10 walks and two hit batters. Zach Sutera scored twice in the win.
Trent Wookey and Wesley Kroupa each had two hits and two RBI for KWL, which outhit Tabor 11-6. Brian Zeman and Joe Hieb each had two hits, with Hieb scoring twice. Seth Kirsch, Zak Wallner and Ethan Vobr each had a hit.
Muth pitched the final two innings for the win. Bryce Scieszinski started, allowing four unearned runs over six innings. Austin Wise pitched five innings of shutout relief, striking out three.
“Our pitching has not been the problem,” said Tabor manager Chris Sutera. “Our problem has been putting runners in. I can’t thank our pitchers enough.
“I’m excited for our hitters to have a chance to redeem themselves on Monday.”
For KWL, Wallner struck out 12 in the complete game loss. He finished with 221 pitches.
The game-winner in the bottom of the 13th was set up by some wildness. After the Nationals took the lead in the top of the 13th, Scieszinski was hit by a pitch and Zach Sutera walked with one out in the bottom of the frame. Hallock reached on a fielder’s choice, with no outs recorded due to an error.
With Muth in the batter’s box, Wallner uncorked a wild pitch to score Scieszinski from third and move the other two runners to second and third.
“That wild pitch took 1,000 pounds off my shoulders,” Muth said. “I just had to put the ball in play and let my teammates do the work.”
After letting a second ball go by, Muth took the third pitch of the at-bat to left. Zach Sutera scored from third, giving Tabor the victory.
In the first inning, Tabor took advantage of early wildness from Wallner to take the lead. Back to back walks to open the bottom of the first and a hard-hit single by Muth loaded the bases for Guevara, who hit a sacrifice fly to score a run. The Bluebirds added a run on a wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead.
KWL broke through in the fourth. Back-to-back errors by Tabor were followed by a walk to load the bases. A Hieb single put the Nationals on the board, with Wookey’s two-run single giving KWL the lead. Kroupa followed with a run-scoring single to give the Nationals a 4-2 edge in the fourth.
After having nine straight batters retired, Tabor started to get runners on in the bottom of the fourth. The Bluebirds wouldn’t take advantage of those runners until the eighth. Back-to-back walks and a wild pitch were followed by a Caba RBI single. A double play plated a run, tying the game at 4-4.
KWL stranded runners on second in the ninth and 10th, with Tabor stranding runners on third in the 10th and 11th. The Nationals broke through in the 13th, scoring on a Kroupa single down the left field line.
What helped the Bluebirds stay in the game was staying away from the trappings of failure.
“We kept our cool,” Muth said. “We never pointed fingers, thought we would lose or got down on ourselves. That’s what I love about this team.”
Tabor advances to the 5:30 p.m. game on Monday against perennial power Alexandria, an 11-1 winner over Lake Norden on Thursday's final contest.
Follow @JCimburek on Twitter