Prep baseball: Rams capitalize on Hilltoppers mistakes in state quarterfinal
Roseau will take on St. Agnes in state semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday
ST. CLOUD — Duluth Marshall’s Owen Marsolek walked three of the first four batters he faced in the Class A quarterfinal Tuesday at Dick Putz Field — definitely not the start he wanted.
Roseau’s Isaac Wensloff, on the other hand, didn’t allow a baserunner until the third inning and didn’t allow a Hilltopper hit until the fifth inning in a 13-2 win for the Rams.
“That’s what we’ve come to expect out of Isaac,” Roseau coach Josh Weckman said. “He’s got good velocity and any time he steps on the mound we get that warm fuzzy feeling that everything is going to be ok. He’s our senior leader, he’s proven it time and again that he’s our guy in big games.”
Marshall struggled against Wensloff’s velocity, but despite the score the Hilltoppers managed to put some “pretty good swings on a pretty good pitcher,” according to Garramone.
“He’s probably one of the top guys that we faced this year from a velocity standpoint,” he said. “We battled, the kids didn’t give up, they fought all the way to the end. It sucks to get punched in the mouth and it’s hard to not get down, just as a human being, but the kids battled.”
Not only did Marsolek have control issues early, but the Hilltoppers committed two errors that allowed three Roseau runs in the first inning. The Hilltoppers committed five errors in the game and though Marsolek sat the Rams down in order in each of the next three innings, Marshall never could get anything going offensively.
“We didn’t come out good and we didn’t locate right away,” Garramone said. “We made a couple of costly errors and it’s contagious when things don’t go well. A ball gets booted here and a walk there and that’s the game.”
The Rams took advantage of the early errors and even after Marsolek settled in and pitched three straight three-up, three-down innings, they stayed aggressive and ready to pounce.
“No doubt that team belongs here,” Weckman said of Marshall. “We got into some situations where we were able to get a couple of crooked numbers and we didn’t let off the gas pedal. Our guys were aggressive, they worked counts that were favorable for them to put a good swing on a pitch. When they did put a swing on it, we were aggressive and tried to take the next base.”
Next up for Roseau is St. Agnes in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Dick Putz Field. The Aggies topped second-seeded Watertown-Mayer 8-4 in their quarterfinal matchup.
“We looked at Watertown-Mayer when they stepped in and it was like ‘Holy cow, that’s a bunch of men out there,” Weckman said. “That St. Agnes team, they can swing it and their pitchers mixed it up well to keep Watertown off balance. You could see what Watertown had late in the game as far as pulling the ball around the ballpark, but St. Agnes stayed the course.”
While the Hilltoppers struggled Tuesday, they are possibly the youngest team in the state tournament. Pitchers Marsolek and Max Berrisford are both freshmen and starters Aaden Westerbur and Deegan Hoffbauer are eighth-graders.
“I know that the guys are going to be thirsty for more once they’ve had a taste of it,” Garramone said. “You get to be in this environment and play on these fields and be one of the last eight teams standing in the state — that’s a big deal. Today wasn’t our day, of course, but these guys are going to be thirsty for it and it’s going to be the expectation moving forward.”
Marshall will play Watertown-Mayer in the consolation semifinal at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday in Sartell.