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Redfield edges Groton in pitchers duel

Owen Osborn, of Redfield Post 92, center, and Andrew Marzahn, of Groton Post 39, right, look to the base umpire after Osborn tagged Marzahn out at second base late in Sunday’s elimination round game at the South Dakota American Legion Class B State Tournament at Locke-Karst Field in Groton. Photo by John Davis taken 8/1/2021

GROTON – Redfield won its sixth consecutive post-season elimination game, ending the season of rival Groton 1-0 during the American Legion Class B State Baseball Tournament at Locke-Karst Field on Sunday afternoon.

Christian DeYoung of Redfield outdueled Groton’s Alex Morris in a game that lasted about only 75 minutes.

It marked the fifth time that Redfield had beaten Groton this season, the last two by one run each.

“It’s a rivalry. Each team is going to go on their streaks where they win a few,” said Redfield coach Tommy Gregg. “Everybody knows each other so well. I think you saw two teams leave it out on the field.”

Groton coach Matt Locke said the two teams have been going at it for years.

“We’ve battling for years and it’s not going to go anywhere. It will continue to be that way,” Locke said. “We know that they’re going to come to play and they know we’re going to come to play. It’s good baseball. That’s what it is. A rivalry is a rivalry.”

There were very few scoring chances in the game. Redfield took advantage of one of theirs in the fourth inning when a sacrifice fly by Camden Osborn scored Peyton Osborn for the game’s only run.

Groton’s best chance came in the fourth when it had runners on second and third before DeYoung got the final out on a strikeout.

“Right there, I needed a strike out. I knew I needed one, because their second batter was up,” DeYoung said. “He’s a good fastball hitter, so we pounded him with curveballs and got it done there.”

It was DeYoung’s curveball, or knuckle curve as he called it, that kept Groton’s batters off stride.

“That’s my best pitch. That’s what I rely on,” DeYoung said. “It takes a bit of practice, but once you do it a lot you get used to it.”

DeYoung said the two teams know each other well and he felt that worked in his favor.

“Actually, I think it helped me more, because I know all of them,” DeYoung said. “I’ve been playing for five years and I remember everything they do at the plate.”

Combine that with his pin-point control and DeYoung was nearly unhittable. He struck out eight batters and allowed just one walk.

“He hadn’t thrown for us a lot in the past. He kept begging us to pitch,” Gregg said. “We could have maybe played more Legion games to get some guys some more arms at the back end of the rotation. Well, you can see for us he’s got front-end type stuff. His arm is fairly fresh. It’s kind of a Godsend for us. He’s in his last tournament. He just went out there and put us on his back and we’re very, very fortunate that we came out and got one, and we’re going to the Final Four.”

The loss marked the second time in three games that Groton was shutout in the state tourney. Locke was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We just didn’t have the sticks today. Everything else was working,” Locke said. “You’ve got to give DeYoung credit, too. He threw a lot of curveballs. He threw a lot for strikes. It’s disappointing, but the kids came and played hard. The breaks just didn’t go their way.”

As tough as DeYoung was, Morris was nearly his equal.

“A ton of respect for Alex Morris,” Gregg said. “He’s bee a very good player for a long time for them.”

Redfield, which won five straight elimination games in the region to qualify for the state tourney, will try to keep its streak alive when it faces Madison in another elimination game today.

“We’re happy where we’re at,” Gregg said. “We want to be here a couple of more days.”

Groton 000 000 0 – 0 4 0

Redfield 000 100 x – 1 5 0

Alex Morris and Cade Larson; Christan DeYoung and Keaton Rohlfs. 2B – Redfield, Seth Siebrecht.

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