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Chris Murphy, Published August 09 2013

Carroll County edges Creighton Prep to advance

FARGO – Carroll County (Iowa) came out on top of a 3-2 American Legion pitcher’s duel versus defending champion Creighton Prep (Neb.) on Friday in the Central Plains Regional baseball tournament at Jack Williams Stadium.

“We were lucky enough to get three instead of two,” Carroll County coach Rod Berg said. “It was a pitching duel from the beginning. We got a couple breaks early, and they got a couple breaks later. We hit the ball early, but their pitcher got stronger as the game went on and ours stayed the same.”

With two outs in the bottom of the first, Brandon Brittain walked and Chris Halbur and Mike Callahan each got infield singles to load the bases before a balk plated Brittain to put Carroll County up 1-0. In the bottom of the third, Carroll County struck again with two outs, as Kolby Hilgenberg plated two on a two-out single to make it 3-0.

That looked to be enough for Carroll County’s Preston Church, as he gave up just one hit through his first five innings. Creighton Prep, however, struck in the top of the sixth. Alex Allbery worked a walk and Alex Hechtner ripped a single to start things off. After a sacrifice bunt, Allbery scored on a passed ball and Jason Allbery ripped a triple to plate Hechtner. Church was able to get the next two batters and leave Jason Allbery at third.

“We know Creighton Prep,” Berg said. “Great-caliber team. It’s good to knock them off. We had a couple of mistakes that didn’t end up costing us runs. We have to clean that up a little bit. We ran ourselves out of an inning, so we have to clean that up, too.”

After Church went seven innings, the ball and the game were handed to Dylan Nelson, and it didn’t start well. Hechtner had a single and Zachary Garrett reached on an error when Nelson couldn’t handle his sacrifice bunt to lead things off in the eighth.

After a strikeout, Nelson threw a pickoff attempt into center field and Hechtner moved up to third. A ground out to third held Hechtner at there, but moved Garrett to second with two outs. Hechtner attempted to steal home, seemingly to try and force a balk out of Nelson, but he threw home and Hechtner had no chance.

Nelson set down Creighton Prep in order in the ninth to seal it. Carroll County will play at 7 p.m. today, and Creighton Prep will try to avoid elimination against Rapid City at 1 p.m. today.

CP 000 002 000–2 5 1

CC 102 000 00x–3 8 2

Jonas, Armendariz (8) and Emodi. Church, Nelson (8) and McAllister. W–Church. L–Jonas. S–Nelson.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548