Royals still alive at state
BIRD ISLAND — Josh Conley’s pitching and a key error kept the Rochester Royals’ title hopes alive in the amateur baseball Class B state tournament.
After the the Royals dropped into the losers bracket with a 10-3 loss to Dundas on Saturday, they bounced back to nip the Mankato Twins 3-2 in an elimination game on Sunday.
Conley tossed a six-hitter and the Royals scored an unearned run to snap a 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"It's nice because they beat us a couple of times during the year," Conley said.
Mankato didn't have much success against Conley on Sunday. But the Twins did manage to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh on Steven Helget’s two-out RBI double.
But in the bottom of the inning, Rochester’s Jim Strain hit a one-out double. Ronnie Olson then slapped a roller to shortstop, but the ball went right through Ryan Greene’s legs and Strain came around to scored what proved to be the winning run.
"I was running to third there and I think I kind of screwed him up," Strain said.
That was all the support Conley needed. He struck out two and walked one in the complete-game victory.
"I had a little more speed on the fastball tonight and I had all three pitches going," Conley said of his fastball, curveball and changeup. He also said he had good movement on his two- and four-seam fastball.
"He was mixing it up well and hitting his spots," Strain said. "They never hit the ball hard."
"I can't say enough about how Josh pitched tonight," Royals manager Dan Hoefs said.
The Royals also played stellar defense, turning two double plays and catching Helget off second base after he hit his RBI double in the seventh.
The biggest double play came in the ninth. Conley issued his lone walk to start the inning. Tony Konick then hit a hard shot to second. But Olson snared the grounder and started a 4-6-3 double play.
"We played really well on defense," Conley said. "I was a little worried when I walked that guy in the ninth, but Ronnie really picked me up."
"That was awesome," Strain, the shortstop, said of the double play. "Ronnie made a very nice play."
The Royals never trailed after scoring twice in the third inning. Singles by Josh Matti, Bryan Dennisen and Kirk Rubado led to the runs. Matti scored on a throwing error after Rubado’s infield single. Tim Oesterlin followed with an RBI groundout.
"It's always nice to play with the lead," Hoefs said. "I think that helped up dictate (the tempo)."
Mankato scored a run in the fifth on doubles by Brady Ranweiler and Greene to pull within a run.
The Royals nearly had a big first inning. With one out and two on Chuck Krom smacked a ball to deep center, but the wind held it up. Mankato center fielder Ben Kaus followed that with another catch that saved two runs when he made a diving grab on Dave Adams’ fly ball to left-center field.
The Royals (20-18) will now face Burnsville on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Willmar.
Royals 2, Mankato Twins 1
Mankato 000 010 100 — 2 6 2
Royals 020 000 100 — 3 8 0
Mankato:Tony Konicek 2-for-4; Brady Ranweiler 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B; Ryan Greene 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 2B; Steven Helget 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 2B; Aaron Berner 1-for-3, 1 R. LP: Brettn Fratzke 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
Royals:Tim Oesterlin 1 RBI, 2 HBP; Jim Strain 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B; Ronnie Olson 1-for-4; Josh Matti 2-for-4, 1 R; Bryan Denisen 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B; Kirk Rubado 1-for-3. WP: Josh Conley 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
Dundas 10, Royals 3
Dundas broke open a close game with nine runs over the final four innings in a second-round game.
The Royals held a slim 2-1 lead before Dundas scored four times in the sixth inning off of Justin Sokol to take the lead for good. The Dukes had six of their 18 hits in the pivotal sixth inning. Steve Loos, Tyler Jones and Pat Wadzinski all had RBI singles for Dundas in the sixth.
Chuck Krom had an RBI ground out for the Royals in the first inning and Ronnie Olson hit an RBI single in the fifth for the 2-1 lead.
After the Dukes struck for four runs in the sixth, they added two runs in both the seventh and eighth and one more in the ninth.
Olson walked with two outs and the bases loaded to force in a run for Rochester in the seventh, but the Royals then left the bases loaded.
Dundas 10, Royals 3
Dundas 001 004 221 — 10 18 4
Royals 100 010 100 — 3 7 2
Dundas:Tyler Jones 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBIs, 2 2B; B.Rolloff 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI; Pat Wadzinski 3-for-5, 2 R 1 RBI. WP: Charlie Ruud 6 1/3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K.
Royals:Tim Oesterlin 1-for-2, 1 R; Ronnie Olson 1-for-2, 2 RBIs; Chuck Krom 1 RBI; Spencer Brady 1-for-4, 1 R; Kirk Rubado 2-for-3, 1 R; Jim Strain 1-for-4; Bryan Denisen 1-for-4. LP: Justin Sokol 6 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Other pitchers: Bryan Toov 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 K; Austin Baukol 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.