Waseca starting pitcher Kelvin Nelson started to feel his legs get weary in the final two innings Wednesday against Hastings in the opening round of the Region 5C playoffs at Tink Larson Community Field, but that didn’t stop him from completing a gem of a game.
Nelson hadn’t thrown a complete game this year but his effort in the final two frames helped the Braves hang on for a 4-2 victory.
“I was just focusing on throwing strikes,” Nelson said. “I was tired. They hadn’t hit me hard all game so I figured just throw strikes and get them to ground out. I knew my defense was playing great behind me and making all the plays.”
Nelson got his eighth strikeout of the game and a pair of ground outs to third to strand a Hawks runner at second to end the game. Nelson allowed two runs while scattering nine hits. He walked just two hitters.
Nelson worked with a lead in the late innings after Waseca spotted him four runs in the fifth inning. Cam Madsen smoked a double to left field that looked like it might clear the fence to lead off the inning and Chris Glynn followed with a one-out double to the fence in right field to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. They weren’t done and got a two-out rally started. Glynn later scored following two wild pitches and Sheldon Gant drew a walk before Kyle Waugh, Geno Glynn and Ryan Wangen all collected singles. Geno Glynn and Wangen picked up RBIs with their hits.
“We had the one good inning with the bats,” Tink Larson said. “The nice thing about that inning was we kept adding a run one at a time after we had two outs. As it turned out it was huge.”
Waseca had just two hits in the previous four innings but they finally got to Hastings starter Dennis Reinhart in the fifth.
The Hawks got a run back in the seventh when Cory Wolters scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-1.
Hastings edged closer in the eighth after Cole Benson hit a lead-off double. He came into score on a single from Blake Warner to make it 4-2 with one out. Warner moved into scoring position with a stolen base but Nelson reared back to get a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning.
Chris Glynn finished 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI to lead the offense.
Waseca will play Saturday in Red Wing at 4 p.m. against Stewartville-Racine, a team the Braves defeated 2-1 in 11 innings last Saturday.