WATERTOWN – One inning really ended up separating the Huron Tigers Junior Legion squad from a state championship Sunday, but no one should be hanging their head after a hard-fought weekend in Watertown.
The Tigers earned a wild-card berth as the second-place finisher in pool play that had the lowest runs allowed and drew the Yankton BlackSox in the opening game of championship Sunday action.
The Huron offense struck first, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning, and then kept Yankton off the board until a late BlackSox rally fell short, giving Huron an 8-6 victory and a berth in the championship game.
Peyton Bischoff took the mound for Huron, and he was dominant, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing six runs, all unearned, on six hits and two walks, striking out five. Logan Leyendecker came in to get the final two outs in the bottom of the seventh to close out the victory.
Huron’s Tyson Pfitzer slides into second base during the American Legion SD 16U baseball tournament championship game against Renner in Watertown on Sunday.
The Tiger offensive attack pounded out 10 hits and drew seven walks in the game. Kolby Hofer led Huron with a triple, a single, and a walk. Layne Wenzel scorched a triple and added a single.
Bubba Peterson had a pair of singles, a walk, and stole a base.
The championship matchup brought a rematch with the only team in the tournament to defeat the Tigers, Renner, who was also the tournament’s top-seeded team.
Renner came out like a champion in the first inning and put four runs on the board in a hurry against Huron starter Wenzel. However, just as a loss to Renner didn’t knock out Huron from getting to the championship game, the early runs wouldn’t keep the team from fighting to the end.
Huron put three runs on the board in the top of the fourth inning to bring the score to 4-3. Unfortunately, that’s as close as the Tigers would get on the scoreboard, as Renner put up two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 6-3, and a seventh-inning rally pushed one run across for Huron, but fell short of the needed three runs to tie the game, giving Renner the title with a 6-4 win.
Huron catcher Kolten Ogle tries to tag a Renner base runner during action in the American Legion SD 16U baseball tournament championship game in Watertown on Sunday.
Wenzel tossed the first two innings for Huron, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. Tanner Gilbert threw four innings of relief, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk, striking out a pair of Renner hitters.
The Huron offense was able to put 15 runners on base, with nine hits, a walk, and five hit batsmen.
Leyendecker had three singles in the game. Teagen Pfitzer had a pair of singles and stole a base.
Kolby Hofer powered a double and was hit by pitch twice.
Huron finishes the season as the state 16U runner up and with a 15-17 record.