Wothington, MN - With a Regional playoff berth on the line the RCTC Yellowjackets decided to let Coach Steve Hucke sweat a bit to earn their bid. The Jackets needing just a split over MN West to secure their spot in the post-season needed extra innings in game two to earn the trip to St. Cloud for the Regional Tournament. RCTC fell 6-7 in game one setting the stage for late-inning heroics and the 11-8 extra inning win in game two.
In game one RCTC jumped out early and looked to be on cruise control leading 6-2 heading into the bottom of the 5th. MN West had other plans though as the scored 5 in the 5th to cut the lead to 6-5 before walking off with 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th. RCTC got 6 strong innings from Ethan Hurn who gave up 5 runs on 8 hits and struckout 9. Matt Rhodes and Sanders Napoles each doubled and drove in two for RCTC.
Game two, proved to be nearly a repeat of game one as RCTC got out early and once again took a lead (5-0) into the bottom of the 5th. This time is was the Jacket defense that crumbled a bit, allowing 5 runs in the frame. MN West took a brief lead in the bottom of the 6th before RCTC ties it in the 7th. After holding the Blue Jays scoreless in their half of the inning, RCTC exploded for 5 runs in the top of the eighth, then held on for the win 11-8 to secure their bid.
It was all hands on deck as RCTC threw 4 different pitchers at the Jays, with Mitch McMurl getting the start going 4 2/3 allowing 5 runs on 6 hits. Parker Anderson got the last out of the 5th inning, then starter Jeremiah Van De Steeg pitched two scoreless innings before giving way to Ben Strassman who threw the 8th to secure the win.
A number of Jackets stepped up with big games at the plate as Hunter Todd lead the way going 3-4 with a double and 3 RBI. Matt Rhodes homered, and Jack Sperry had 2 RBI. Zach Wolter went 2-3 with 2 walks an RBI and a run scored, while Brad Barkema and Ethan Hurn each added RBI.
RCTC is the #8 seed heading into the Regional tournament and will take on St. Cloud at 4:00 on Thursday, May 15. The game will be played at Dick Putz field in St. Cloud.