Decorah defeated Benton 5-3 in nine innings to advance to the semi-finals behind an impressive Austin Ashbacher. The southpaw tossed 6.1 innings of one-run relief while fanning seven Bobcats en route to the Vikings victory. Benton starter Mitch Moser surrendered three runs on five hit over 4.1 innings of work. Jonny Frese suffered the loss in relief, allowing the two go-ahead runs in the ninth.
Benton got out to the early lead, after a lead-off single by Mitch Moser. Jonny Frese moved Moser over with a sacrifice bunt and Jacob Germann singled to put runners on the corners for Jake Stenberg. The Benton backstop got the job done, knocking a sac-fly to right to plate Moser.
The Bobcats added one more run on three hits in the second. Kasson Kuester started the inning off with a single and moved to second on another sacrifice bunt. Brady Stramer walked and Moser knocked his second single of the game to load the bases.
Frese connected on his first hit of the night with a liner to left to score Kuester and chase starter Josey Jewell out of the game. Austin Ashbacher entered in relief and induced an inning ending double play to stop the Bobcats advance.
The Vikings threatened in the fifth after Peter Lillibridge’s lead off walk led to trouble for Benton. Blake Moen sacrificed Lillibridge to second. Jacob Kvale, Josey Jewell and Andy Houden then ripped three straight singles. Jewell’s jab plated Lillibridge for Decorah’s first run and knocked Moser out of the game.
Jonny Frese took the mound in relief to allow Houden’s hit that brought home Kvale to knot the score at two. James Ostie walked to load the bases and Collin Nimrod took four balls force home Jewell and give the Vikings a 3-2 advantage.
Benton refused to go down easy, coming back in the bottom of the seventh to score a run and send the game into extra innings. Moser helped his own cause, leading off the inning with a single up the middle. Frese moved his fellow hurler to second with a sacrifice bunt. Germann had a productive ground out, moving Moser to third with two down. Jake Stenberg delivered the clutch base hit on a frozen rope to right to tie it up at three.
Decorah looked to take the lead in the ninth with back-to-back singles by Kvale and Jewell with one down in the inning. Two stolen bases put two in scoring position for Houden, whose ground ball to third caught pinch runner Cole Svestka in a run down for the second out of the inning. With two down, Ostie was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Kyle Kane took advantage bouncing an infield single to score the go-ahead run. Austin Ashbacher was then hit by a pitch with the bases juiced to give the Vikings an insurance run.
Iowa Prep Sports: Decorah upsets Benton
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