MITCHELL — Colin Muth knew full well what he was up against.
He would be taking the pitching mound against an Alexandria lineup filled with contact hitters who have had plenty of success at the South Dakota State Class B Amateur Baseball Tournament over the past decade.
Sure enough, he was right.
“That’s a really tough lineup,” said Muth, Tabor’s lefty pitcher who got the start in Monday night’s 10-3 loss to the Angels in a second round showdown in Mitchell.
Again, he was right.
Alexandria has won three state championships since 2013 and made five straight title game appearances (2013-17). And most of that lineup is still intact.
“In amateur baseball, you just don’t see teams like that very often,” Muth added. “There’s never really a guy you can take lightly.”
While six different Alexandria batters drove in a run — highlighted by a John Greicar three-run home run — Tabor couldn’t do much against Tyson Gau.
One of the state’s most effective pitchers in recent memory, Gau allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts over seven innings.
Muth, meanwhile, allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits in six innings.
“I thought Colin pitched a really good team, but fortunately we just weren’t able to get many timely hits,” Tabor manager Chris Sutera said.
With two outs in the top of the third inning, Greicar — the head baseball coach at Dakota Wesleyan — drilled a three-run homer over the left field fence.
Alexandria tacked on another run in the fourth on a Reid Smith RBI triple. The Angels then scored three times in the fifth to pad their lead to 7-1.
Christian Uecker came in to relieve Muth in the top of the seventh, but Alexandria added three more runs to lead 10-1.
Tabor scored twice in the bottom of the ninth, on a Christian Uecker RBI single and a Bryce Scieszinski RBI fly out.
After Tyson Gau pitched seven strong innings, his brother Jordan completed the final two innings.
In the end, though, the Alexandria offense got the job done, according to Muth.
“They do a good job knowing what pitchers do and not trying to press,” he said. “There’s nothing more frustrating for a pitcher than a team that chips away, but that’s what they do.”
Cam Guevara had two of Tabor’s seven hits in the game, while Tanner Van Driel, Muth, Sutera, Uecker and Bryce Scieszinski all singled.
After losing in the first round of the state tournament last year, the Bluebirds went one step further this summer.
“This is a young team, and we’ll only get better,” Sutera said. “You could see it at the end, we basically had four legion guys out there on the field.”
Van Driel (a pickup player from Lesterville but who plays Legion ball for Tabor) was joined by Uecker, Joey Slama and Beau Rothschadl in the late innings.
“Give us a year or two, we’ll be even better,” Sutera said. “Things are looking up for us.”
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