Baseball: Lewiston-Altura repeats as Section 1A champion

Lewiston-Altura certainly picked the right time of the season to peak.

Lewiston-Altura second baseman Alex Brown makes a diving catch in foul territory of short right field against Randolph on Tuesday in the Section 1A finals. More photos from this game are available at

Lewiston-Altura certainly picked the right time of the season to peak.

The Cardinals limped through the regular baseball season with a 7-13 record. To its credit, L-A is a Class A team that plays a number of Class AA teams in the Three Rivers Conference.

"And when you're playing four or five games a week, it's tough to get your (starting) pitching lined up," Cardinals coach Cory Schmitz said.

That hasn't been a problem in the postseason, where L-A has been perfect. Lewiston-Altura repeated as the Section 1A champion with a 7-0 victory over Randolph at Mayo Field on Tuesday.

"It feels good, it's a relief," Schmitz said.


The victory capped a 5-0 run for the Cardinals in section play.

"It feels awesome," L-A senior John Clobes said. Clobes, a left-hander, tossed a seven-hit shutout and struck out five to help the Cardinals repeat as section champs.

"We didn't really have high expectations coming in (to section play)," Clobes said. "But once we got rolling, it's a train you can't stop."

The Cardinals played a strong all-around game Tuesday. Clobes not only pitched well, but the Cardinals also got diving catches from Landon Kieffer in center field, Spencer Spletz in right field and second baseman Alex Brown. Brown made his stellar grab in foul territory after a long run. Plus left fielder Cullen Neeck preserved the shutout when he threw out a runner at home with L-A up 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh.

"They're playing good baseball right now," Randolph coach Chris Stanton said. "You have to give them credit, they made three diving plays. If one of those falls in, who knows."

"Our defense is in its prime right now," Clobes said. "Same with our offense."

Clobes (7-2) has also been outstanding. He has not allowed an earned run in his last 51 innings of work.

"I was using a good mix of offspeed pitches and fastballs," Clobes said. "I had a slider, too. I kept them off speed and guessing."


Clobes entered the section finals with a 0.74 ERA and Tuesday's win was his third of the postseason.

"He's been pitching awesome in the postseason and has been striking out guys left and right," L-A senior catcher Peyton Schumacher said. "He's stepped up his game."

Cardinals offense steps up

The Lewiston-Altura offense has also been sizzling in the postseason with 35 runs in five games. Randolph pitcher Nathan Overby entered the section finals 10-0 with a 0.24 ERA, and he had allowed just 30 hits in 57 innings. The Cardinals collected 15 hits against the right-hander.

"We knew Randolph was a good team and their pitcher comes right at you," Schmitz said. "We talked about putting pressure on them. Good things happen when you put the ball in play."

Neeck broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the third inning. The senior is now batting .500 (8-for-16) in the postseason with 13 RBIs in just five games.

"He's been hot," Schmitz said. "And like I said before, he's now become a complete hitter."

Neeck finished the game 3-for-4 while sophomore Dusty Knutson was 3-for-3 and scored a pair of runs. No. 9 hitter Alex Brown went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, one in both the sixth and seventh innings when L-A broke the game open.


Clobes, Schumacher and Taylor Matzke also added two hits each as L-A got hits from seven different players. Schumacher had been hospitalized for two and a half days with a skin infection. He wasn't released until 2 p.m. Tuesday, yet three hours later he was behind the plate catching.

"It's an awesome feeling," Schumacher said. "This was our goal."

The Cardinals will play in the Class A state quarterfinals a week from Thursday in Chaska. Last year the Cardinals were 0-2 at the state tournament.

"The goal is to do the best we can," Schumacher said.

Randolph had lost to L-A 6-1 in subsection play before winning four straight games to reach the section finals. The Rockets finish the season 22-4.

Lewiston-Altura 7, Randolph 0




Lewiston-Altura: Alex Brown 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 R; Dusty Knutson 3-for-3, 2 R; Taylor Matzke 2-for-4, 1 R; Landon Kieffer 1-for-4; Peyton Schumacher 2-for-5; Hunter Brommerich 1 RBI; Cullin Neeck 3-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R; John Clobes 2-for-4, 1 RBI. Pitchers:John Clobes (LP) 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.

Randolph: David Speight 1-for-2 ,1 2B; Nathan Overby 1-for-3; Mitch Kimmes 2-for-3; Billy Siebenaler 2-for-3, 1 2B; Andrew Wenstrom 1-for-4. Pitchers:Nathan Overby 7 IP, 15 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 10 K.

Lewiston-Altura catcher Peyton Schumacher, right, tags out Randolph's David Speight at home in the seventh inning of Tuesday's Section 1A title game.

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