The Waterville Indians won three Class C state amateur baseball tournament games by a run. Two came in walk-off fashion.
On Friday night in Delano, a hit down the right field line by Sam Stier past a diving outfielder lifted Waterville (33-2) to a 3-2 win over the Fairmont Martins in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Martins scored first in the top of the third inning on a bases loaded RBI groundout from Sam Schwieger to score Blake Crawmer.
Waterville tied it in the third, only for Fairmont to respond with a Christian Petschke RBI single in the top of the fourth.
That was all the Indians' starting pitcher Luke Sellner allowed. The right-hander hailing from Mankato pitched seven innings and allowed five hits, two runs (one earned) and struck out 10 with one walk for Waterville.
Collin Lovell, a region draftee from the Windom Pirates and an Augustana University alum, pitched eight innings for Fairmont. He allowed the Indians to tie the game in the fifth inning.
Bladyn Bartelt relieved Sellner in the eighth. The future Minnesota State Maverick tossed two hitless innings with five strikeouts and two walks to earn the win.
Waterville's ninth inning heroics came with two outs against reliever Tyler Tennyson. The run was charged to Lovell.
Friday's first pitch was not until 8:43 p.m. The scheduled 7:30 p.m. start was pushed back due to the game prior going 11 innings.
That game was won 5-2 in 11 innings by the Hutchinson Huskies over the Sauk Centres. The Huskies (27-7) are who the Indians draw in the state quarterfinals of the single-elimination bracket that began with 48 teams.
Hutch and Waterville play 11 a.m. Sunday at Irish Stadium in Maple Lake. Waterville will be the home team. The winner advances to play 4:30 p.m. Sunday against the winner of top overall seed in the tournament, the New Market Muskies, and the Red Wing Aces.
In the Aug. 13 Minnesota Baseball Association Class C top-10 state rankings, Waterville is No. 6 and Hutch tied for ninth.
The Huskies are the Region 12 champions. They beat Marble 7-2 prior to beating Sauk Centre.
Hutch started Evan Kohli for 3⅔ innings on the mound followed by Jeremiah VanDeSteeg for 6⅓ and Hunter Hart for one.
Kohli is the team's innings leader (82⅔) and owned a 1.37 ERA prior to Friday. The 31-year-old lefty played at Illinois State University and as a professional in the Independent League.
Kohli also bats a team-high .465 with 30 RBIs. Jake Wendland hits .389 with nine home runs. Matthew Piechowski (.341, 15 RBIs), Marcus Hahn (.340, 22 RBIs) and Cody Arlt (.337, 23 RBIs) are also Hutch bats to watch.
Waterville will likely throw Dalton Grose, who has sat below a 1.00 ERA this season and started in the Indians' opening round game against St. Benedict.
Waterville and Hutch do not share any mutual opponents.
Draftee from the Faribault Lakers, Matt Lane, started on the mound for New Market in its 16-0 win Friday vs. New London-Spicer. He got the win pitching five scoreless innings with six hits allowed and five strikeouts.
Waterville Indians 3, Fairmont Martins 2
F — 001 100 000
W — 001 010 001
Waterville batting — Dalton Grose 3-4, 2 R, 2B Sam Stier 2-5, R, 2 RBI; Shane Sellner 1-2, 2 BB; Ben Boran 1-3, RBI, HBP; Tommy Gannon 1-3; Riley Schultz 1-4, 2B
Waterville pitching — Luke Sellner 7IP-5H-1ER-2R-1BB-10K, Bladyn Bartelt (W) 2IP-0H-0ER-2BB-5K
Fairmont batting — Dalen Keltgen 1-2, 2 BB; Levi Becker 1-4, R, 2B; Christian Petschke 1-4, RBI; Ethan Hurn 1-4; Sam Schwieger 1-4, RBI; Tyler Tennyson 0-3, BB
Fairmont pitching — Collin Lovell (L) 8IP-8H-3ER-3R-2BB-10K, Tyler Tennyson ⅔IP-1H-0ER-0R-0BB-1K