<HR><CENTER><B>Luverne Redbirds rough up<br> Lake Henry in state opener</B></CENTER>
By John Rittenhouse
The Luverne Redbirds passed their first test during the Minnesota State Class C Amateur Baseball Tournament in Fairfax Sunday.
Playing Lake Henry in a single-elimination game during the tournament’s first round, Luverne fell behind early in the contest only to outscore its opponent 12-0 the rest of the way in a 12-1 victory.
The win sends the 23-12 Redbirds into the tournament’s second round of single-elimination play Saturday in Fairfax. Luverne plays Perham at 7 :30 p.m.
A victory would give the Redbirds a berth in the tournament’s championship rounds with seven other teams. The final eight teams compete in double-elimination play.
Luverne would start the championship-round action with a 7:30 p.m. game Sunday in Fairfax if it can knock off Perham Saturday.
Things went well for the Redbirds during Sunday’s tournament opener against Lake Henry.
Lake Henry plated an earned run off Redbird starting pitcher Robert Peterson in the bottom half of the first inning, but the rest of the game belonged to Luverne.
The Redbirds were limited to eight hits in the game, but walks by Lake Henry’s pitchers and a number of fielding errors allowed Luverne to score 12 unanswered runs and win the contest by the 10-run rule after seven innings of play.
Luverne scored twice in the top of the second inning to take the lead for good.
Mike Wenninger reached base on an error and scored the tying run when Petersen doubled. Redbird Corey Nelson was hit by a pitch as the inning progressed and gave Luverne a 2-1 lead when Jesse Reisch singled.
Reisch walked and scored an unearned run in the fifth inning to give the Redbirds a 3-1 cushion, which set up a nine-run rally in the fifth inning that all but ended the game.
Lake Henry was its own worst enemy in the sixth as the home team’s pitchers allowed four walks and hit one batter during the inning. Two errors by Lake Henry also fueled Luverne’s rally.
Wenninger supplied the biggest hit of the eruption when he singled home a pair of runs. Jeff Sehr had an RBI single, and Nelson drew a bases-loaded walk during the frame.
Peterson pitched one-run ball through six innings to pick up the win. Wenninger, who led Luverne with two hits, pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the winners.