Section 6-2A Baseball: Tautges delivers in clutch for Pierz
Pierz 6, Cathedral 4 The key: The Pioneers scored twice in the top of the seventh to win section title Overall: P 21-4, SC finishes 15-9 Next: Pierz in Class 2A state quarterfinals, Dick Putz and Joe Faber Fields, St. Cloud, June 16-17. ST. CLOUD...
The key: The Pioneers scored twice in the top of the seventh to win section title
Overall: P 21-4, SC finishes 15-9
Next: Pierz in Class 2A state quarterfinals, Dick Putz and Joe Faber Fields, St. Cloud, June 16-17.
ST. CLOUD-St. Cloud Cathedral just brings out the best in Matt Tautges.
In the Section 6-2A winners' bracket game Monday against the Crusaders, the Pierz junior led off the sixth inning with a double and the Pioneers went on to score two runs and secured a 4-2 victory. He also pitched a complete game.
In Thursday's section championship game against Cathedral at Dick Putz Field, Tautges came through again. With two out in the top of the seventh, Tautges smoked a single off of Cathedral sophomore right-hander Tyler Bautch, scoring Michael Meyer with the go-ahead run, and Pierz went on to a 6-4 win.
"I was just trying to be aggressive because we had a runner in scoring position," Tautges said. "If he gave me something to hit, I was just trying to put it in play, get a hit and get him in."
Pierz head coach Danny Saehr repeated one word to describe Tautges: "Clutch, clutch, clutch."
"He was clutch against Cathedral the last game," Saehr added. "He pitched three complete games (in the tournament) for us.
"Truly, any kid who would have been in that batters' box at that moment, I would have had confidence in. Honestly, I mean that, from our No. 9 hitter Nick Herold who had two big hits tonight. Every one of these guys they're competitors. They want to be in that moment. And when they're in that moment, they take advantage of it."
After Tautges' game-winner, Noah Boser's delivered a run-scoring single and propel Pierz to the state tournament, which opens June 16. It will be Pierz's time state tournament since 1986. The Pioneers will find out their opponent Saturday when the tournament is seeded.
Thursday's title was Pierz's third section team title during the 2015-16 school year. The Pioneers won the Section 5-3A football title and went on to capture the Class 3A state championship. The wrestling team won the Section 7-1A title and finished third in the 1A state tournament.
"That's pretty impressive," Saehr said. "I don't know that there has been any boy that won three section (team) championships in school history (in the same school year).
"This is a special, special group of kids. I'm truly honored to coach these guys. They come from great families. And, we're not done yet."
Noah Boser went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Herold finished 2-for-3 with an RBI as the East Subsection No. 2 Pioneers dethroned the East No. 1 Crusaders. Cathedral had won five straight section titles and was the 2-time defending 2A state champion.
"It's been a lot of fun, especially knowing they've won (the state title) two times in a row," Tautges said. "They beat us early in the year (2-1 April 22) but we came back today. Nobody got down."
Matt Kummet, the third Pierz pitcher, got the win. In three innings in relief of Aaron Weber and Lane Girtz, he allowed just one hit and no runs, walked one and struck out three. Kummet retired six of the last seven Crusaders in order.
"We talked about it going into the game today that we're going with Aaron," Saehr said. "I didn't tell the kids this but deep down inside I knew we have all kinds of (pitching) depth with Lane, Kummet, Tautges, (Kolton) Eischens and (David) Skiba. If things weren't going well for somebody, we would go with the next guy. If you would have told me we would use three pitchers and win it, I would have been a little nervous.
"Every time we break the huddle we always say 'Team.' Today was another good example of that."
Winners of 11 straight games, Pierz fell behind 2-0 in the first on Zack Sufka's RBI groundout off of Weber's foot and Bautch's RBI single. After walking two batters to load the bases with two out, Weber struck out Reagan Garden to escape further damage.
Pierz, ranked eighth in Class 2A, tied it 2-2 in the second on Meyer's fielder's choice and Herold's RBI single.
In the top of the third, the Pioneers surged ahead 3-2 as Boser doubled, advanced on Aaron Weber's single to center and scored when the throw to the plate skipped to the backstop. Cathedral, ranked ninth in 2A, left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning.
Tautges, who transferred to Pierz from Brainerd as a seventh-grader, made another key contribution in the fifth when his squeeze bunt scored Herold, who led off the inning with a double, for a 4-2 Pierz edge.
Cathedral, whose coach Bob Karn is the winningest coach in Minnesota high school baseball history with 751 victories, tied it 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth on run-scoring hits by Will Kranz and Jack Schramel. Eischens, the Pierz left fielder, threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate to end the inning.
Pierz 021 010 2 - 6 10 1
Cathedral 200 020 0 - 4 9 1
Pierz: Aaron Weber, Lane Girtz (2), Matt Kummet (5) and Kummet, Teddy Dehler (5).
Cathedral: Tyler Bautch and Zack Sufka. WP: Kummet (3-1). LP: Bautch. 2B: SC-Camren Dehler, Tyler Bautch; Prz-Kummet, Noah Boser, Nick Herold.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .