Milaca rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and tipped Mora 9-8 in the opening round of the American Legion playoffs Thursday, July 18, at Milaca.
The game was a play-in game to the district tournament, advancing Milaca to a best-of-three series against Providence Academy Saturday, July 20, at Loretto.
Providence Academy won that series in two games, scoring 4-2 and 11-0 victories to end Milaca’s season.
“The Mora game was a lot of fun – we did just about everything right offensively and defensively,” said Milaca Manager Bart Naumann. “It was great to see us rally like we did.
“We didn’t play as well against Providence Academy.”
Milaca trailed Mora 8-6 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Justin Fransen’s single drove in two runs, including the winning run.
Earlier this season the teams had played two low-scoring games, with Milaca winning 2-0 and Mora winning 1-0.
Matt VanSomeren, who pitched a three-hitter in Milaca’s regular-season victory, struggled against Mora in the playoff game. He allowed eight runs over four innings on five hits and a pair of walks.
Brian Kiel pitched the final three innings and allowed one hit and one walk while striking out four.
Hunter Foss collected three singles and Fransen had a pair of singles to lead Milaca’s eight-hit offense. Ian Carpenter, Mason Hoskins and Mike McLouth each had a single.
“We had our 9-1-2 hitters leading off the seventh inning and I was confident we’d get something going,” said Naumann.
Providence Academy took a 4-0 lead in Saturday’s first game before Milaca rallied with a run in the fourth inning and one more in the sixth.
Kiel pitched six innings, allowing four runs (one earned), seven hits and one walk while striking out three,
“We made some errors in the third inning and Providence took advantage of that and scored three runs,” said Naumann. “After that the defense settled down and we played well.
“Brian pitched a nice game.”
Milaca had just three hits as Fransen, Zack Streff and Mike Garber each had a single.
Providence Academy took a 6-0 lead after two innings in the second game and eventually ended the game after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
Milaca’s lone hit was a single by Carpenter.
VanSomeren pitched the first two innings, with Fransen pitching the final three frames.
Milaca finished with a 7-9 record.
Providence Academy advanced to the district meet at Browerville this weekend.