Distict Baseball: Spencer sends Spirit Lake home, 9-5
The Tigers got to Spirit Lake starter Paul Brown early and never trailed in a 9-5 win in the Class 3A District 1 Semifinal Friday night in Le Mars. Spencer will advance to face Le Mars in the District final on Monday, July 16 in Le Mars at 7 p.m.
Spencer scored twice in the top of the first and added four more runs in the third off Brown, who held the Tigers to just two hits on June 18. Tayler Tatman earned the complete-game win for Spencer, allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits. He walked two, hit two and struck out four.
"Tayler Tatman competed like crazy out there for us," Spencer coach Brian Dirkx said. "And we didn't make it easy on him."
Spencer committed five errors in the game, including a dropped fly ball to start Spirit Lake's first inning which scored. Despite the errors, Tatman's only real trouble came in the third inning when Spirit Lake scored three runs on two hit batsman and two doubles.
With Spencer leading, 6-4, after three innings, Tatman and reliever Brandon Stoll settled in and threw two scoreless innings. Spirit Lake cut into the lead with a Nic Amundson RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-5.
The Tigers capitalized on a leadoff error on right fielder Cody Poock as Blake Seier ended up on third after a dropped fly ball. They would add two more runs, helped by another Indian error.
Spencer collected 11 hits on the night, including three by freshman designated hitter Chase Habben. Habben singled in two runs in the third inning to extend Spencer's lead. Jordon Plueger went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Blake Seier collected two hits, drove in one and scored two runs.
"Tonight, it was pitching and offense," Dirkx said. "We were able to string enough hits together, and then we got some big hits. We executed on bunts and made them make mistakes. It was nice to see the offense come to life."
The Tigers advance in the postseason for the first time since 2010. They lost to Storm Lake in the district opener last year.
Next up will be Le Mars (27-6, 14-0 Lakes) on Monday. The Bulldogs defeated MOC-Floyd Valley, 14-6, in the second game of the night in Le Mars on Friday. The winner of the game will advance to the Substate final versus either Bishop Heelan or Humboldt.
Le Mars won both contests versus Spencer this year - 12-0 on June 8 and 6-1 on June 27. Chris Eckstaine no-hit the Tigers on June 8 in Spencer.