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Bulldogs rally past Hilltoppers in D3 regional baseball opener

BOYCEVILLE — Tournament time offers a fresh start for all teams, but especially those that struggled in the regular season.

Much like the Glenwood City baseball team that found victory just once this past spring.

And the Hilltoppers, seeded fifth, appeared refreshed and renewed for the opportunity when they traveled to Boyceville’s Evenson Field last Tuesday, June 2 to take on the resurgent and fourth-seeded Bulldogs in the opening round of the WIAA Division 3 baseball regionals.

Glenwood City clung to a 3-2 lead through five and a half innings due largely to a combination of solid defense, good pitching and timely hitting.

Toppers’ starter Joel Ormson had  been able to hold the Bulldogs’ dangerous bats in check for much of the game. The junior scattered seven Boyceville hits and allowed just a pair of runs in five innings of works. In addition, he had struck out six.

But in the bottom of the sixth, an old nemesis returned to haunt the Hilltoppers – errors.

Throughout the season, defensive misques had time and again led to defeat for the Hilltoppers and it would once again in Boyceville.

A one-out error with no Boyceville runners on base seemed to change the complexion of the contest.

Immediately following the error, Ormson surrendered a hard-hit double to Boyceville senior Damion Bicknell. A single from Bryce Boda followed as the Toppers’ defense collapsed.

Glenwood City committed two more errors and Ormson gave up a final hit to Micadin Kahl as the Bulldogs scored four times in the inning and rallied for an eventual 6-4 victory.

“This is the first playoff win in a while for Boyceville,” said Boyceville’s head coach Michael Roemhild.

“None of these guys have ever won a baseball playoff game before. Our goal was to play our best game, relax, and have fun,” added Roemhild.

James Palmer, who surrendered six hits and three runs in the first three innings, locked down his pitches late in the third inning and returned 11 straight Toppers batters after that to get the victory.

The Toppers did score a run in the top of the seventh when Palmer hit Joel Ormson with a pitch and gave up a single to Peter Hill but he got Nick Schone to bounce out and Mitch Hurtgen to strike out to end the game.

“James pitched a good game for us and even when things got a little rough in the 7th he didn’t get rattled,” noted Roemhild.

Although Boyceville enjoyed a 10-7 advantage in hits over rival Glenwood City, half or five came in the fifth and decisive sixth inning of play.

“Offensively we had guys come up with big hits when it mattered the most,” said Roemhild. “Kyle, Damion, and Bryce all got on and scored in the 6th. That’s huge when the bottom of the order can do that for you.”

Glenwood City head coach Jake Score did not provide the Tribune Press Reporter with any comments.

Both teams scored once in the second inning.

Jeff Schone reached on a one out single to get the Toppers’ offense started in the top of the second. Joel Ormson then followed with a double to put runners on second and third. A ground out by sophomore Nic Jensen scored Jeff Schone from third.

Boyceville countered with a run in their half of the inning.

Luke Knudtson had a lead off single. Senior Alex Lovett and Kyle Holden followed with consecutive singles, the later brought Knudtson home with the tying score.

But in the third inning, the Hilltoppers scored twice more to take a 3-1 lead.

Jake Logghe slapped a single to start the Toppers’ third. Then Mitch Hurtgen doubled to score Logghe. Hurtgen would score on a Boyceville error.

Boyceville took a run back in the bottom half of the third.

Micadin Kahl walked and later scored on back-to-back singles by Knudtson and Lovett. Knudtson tried to score the tying run but was put out at home by a nice throw from centerfielder Damian Hoitomt to catcher Jake Logghe, who made the tag to end the Bulldogs’ third.

The score would remain that way until the bottom of the sixth.

The Bulldogs threatened to tie the game or take the lead in the fifth as they collected a couple of hits including a Hunter Anderson double. But Anderson, who was waved in by his coach, was tagged out at home by Logghe to end the threat.

“Hunter did what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do and got on base three times with a huge double in the fifth. Even though I got him thrown out at home he got our dugout fired up.”

That lead to Boyceville’s offensive outburst in the sixth.

Kahl, Knudtson and Lovett each had a pair of hits off of Toppers hurler Joel Ormson, who suffered the loss. Anderson, Holden, Bicknell and Bryce Boda also had hits for the Bulldogs.

Jake Logghe and Peter Hill led the Toppers offense with two hits each off of Boyceville ace James Palmer. Jeff Schone, Ormson, and Hurtgen had the other hits.

Glenwood City finished the season 1-16 with the loss while Boyceville, 7-14, advanced to the regional semifinal against Elk Mound last Thursday, June 4.