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Tom Mix, Published August 11 2013

Burnsville defeats Creighton Prep at Central Plains Regional baseball tournament

FARGO – There will be a new representative heading to the American Legion World Series from the Central Plains Region.

Burnsville, Minn., eliminated defending region champion Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) with a 7-3 win over the Jr. Jays on Sunday during the Central Plains Regional baseball tournament at Jack Williams Stadium.

Burnsville, which clinched a spot in the region championship with a win over Carroll County, Iowa on Saturday, must be defeated twice by Omaha West today to be eliminated from the tournament. The championship game is set for 3 p.m. today. If necessary, a second championship game will be played at 6 p.m.

The winner will earn a berth into the World Series set for Aug. 16-20 in Shelby, N.C.

A five-run sixth inning and a complete-game effort by starting pitcher Zach Smith proved to be a winning combination for Burnsville (34-10).

Burnsville’s bottom three hitters in its order went a combined 5-for-12 with four RBIs. Burnsville finished with 11 hits, including four for extra bases.

“They swung the bat and put the bat on the ball,” Burnsville head coach Greg Nesbitt said. “It’s a real testament to all our players especially the bottom three hitters in the order Cooper Maas, Logan Vermeer, and Joe Keller.

“We have 15 guys on the team and everyone has a role,” Nesbitt added. “Everyone contributes and that was evident (Sunday). Joe Keller hasn’t caught yet this tournament. He caught all nine innings (Sunday) and had two hits and two RBIs.”

Burnsville scored first when Vermeer connected for an RBI single in the second inning that scored Brandon Dorshak.

Creighton Prep (50-12) answered with three runs in the top of the third inning.

“We gave up a couple runs in the third inning, but we never gave up,” Smith said. “We got a five spot in the sixth. It was our third time through the order on their starting pitcher and I thought we were going to get a few pitches to hit. We put some hits out there and capitalized.”

Smith, a 5-foot-10 left-hander, scattered nine hits and finished with six strikeouts.

Burnsville has had its starting pitcher go the distance in three of its four games at the tournament.

“Our plan going into games is to challenge hitters,” Nesbitt said. “Sometimes they get themselves out, sometimes we have to make plays and sometimes they get hits. We want to challenge them and not go five, six pitches an at-bat.”

Creighton Prep 003 000 000–3 9 1

Burnsville 010 005 10x–7 11 2

Allen, Albrecht (5) and Emodi. Smith and Keller. W–Smith. L–Allen.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562