|6/21/2019 1:01:00 PM|
Pointers get by Belmont in state tourney opener
It is safe to say the Mineral Point vs Belmont WIAA Division 4 state semi-final game was better than the weather.
In a steady downpour most of the time Wednesday the Pointers used sophomore Liam Stumpf and his live arm to get past the Braves, 6-2. Stumpf used that live arm to strike out 11 Braves in six innings. He left with 99 pitches thrown which eliminated him from mound duty for the rest of the tournament. He gave up three hits and one unearned run while walking four and hitting two.
Stumpf also played the igniter role for the Pointers with a home run over the left field fence, just inside the foul pole and 325 feet from home plate on the professional baseball field. His solo shot in the third pushed the score to 3-0.
Stumpf also lofted a fly ball near the warning track in left center in the bottom of the sixth that fell between two waiting Braves outfielders for a two run triple that scored pinch runner Will Straka, who came in after Leyten Bowers walked and Grady Gorgen had singled. Those two runs gave the Braves a much bigger hill to climb in their last at bats.
The Pointers started off with a two run outburst in the bottom of the first off Belmont starter Ethan James. Stumpf reached on an error, one of five for the Braves that day, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on an rbi single by Ian Lindsey. Lindsey then crossed the plate on Grant Bossert's RBI single.
The Pointers also got a run in the bottom of the fifth thanks to some wildness and an error which loaded the bases. Stumpf had reached third on an errant throw on a fielders choice and came home when Cox dropped down a bunt.
Belmont gave it a shot in the bottom of the seventh when they got to reliever Justin Baehler, who had switched places with Stumpf, for a run. Ethan James started the inning with a single and Brady Wedig walked. After Riley Christensen flew out to right and Baehler recorded his fourth strikeout, Luke Kamps sharply singled to send in James. Baehler walked the next batter to bring up Justan Ernst who represented the tying run but the game ended when he flew out to first
The first Braves run came in the fourth. Christensen doubled to the left center gap, Cody Lindholm was hit by a pitch and Kamps walked. Stumpf spied Lindholm straying off second and tried to pick him off but his throw got away, allowing Christensen to score.
It was a day of many chances for the Braves but they were unable to capitalize on many of them, leaving 12 runners stranded. Their five errors also contributed to extended innings.
The Braves outhit the Pointers 7-5. Christensen and Kamps were 2x3 while James, Colin Austin and Ernst each had one hit.
Stumpf was 2x3 for the Pointers. Gorgen, Bossert and Cox had one hit each.
James went 5 1/3 for the Braves with two strikeouts, four walks and four hits. Austin finished the sixth and gave up one hit.
While Tibbits was glad to see southwest Wisconsin so well represented he was not overly impressed with the Pointers' hitting.
"It wasn't our best performance offensively but Liam was great at the plate and provided us with a spark with his home run," Tibbits said.
"We did not have to make a lot of plays in the field with Liam striking out 11 and Justin four," he added.
The duo combined for nine straight strikeouts, fanning the side in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
"We were able to put the pressure on early and survived to advance by using only two pitchers," Tibbits added. "We are ready to roll tomorrow. Webster is a great team full of talent and we will have to play our best to win. But our guys are hungry and focused. It is amazing how far we have come in four years."
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