<HR><CENTER><B>Redbirds move into semifinals</B></CENTER>

Luverne plays Brainerd in Fairfax Friday

By John Rittenhouse

The Luverne Redbirds remained unbeaten in the Minnesota State Class C Amateur Baseball Tournament after posting a pair of weekend wins in Fairfax.

Luverne bested Perham by five runs in an elimination game Saturday. The win gave the Redbirds a berth in what now is an eight-team elimination tournament, and they got off to a good start by edging Watkins by one run Sunday.

The Redbirds are one of four unbeaten teams remaining in the double-elimination event. They will play Brainerd, another tournament unbeaten, at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in Fairfax.

If the 25-12 Redbirds would win Friday, they would play again on Sunday. A loss would force them to play Saturday.

Luverne 7, Watkins 6

The Redbirds prevailed during their first test in double-elimination play by downing Watkins by one run Sunday in Fairfax.

Luverne never trailed in the game and led 7-6 before Watkins put together a five-run ninth inning that ended one run short of catching the Redbirds.

The Redbirds plated single runs in the second and fourth innings to gain a 2-0 advantage before Watkins scored its first run in the top of the fifth.

Cole Irish gave Luverne a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the second. Mike Wenninger singled and scored a fourth-inning run after T.J. Schmidt singled.

After Watkins cut the lead in half (2-1) in the top of the fifth, Luverne's Terry Eernisse delivered a solo homer in the bottom half of the inning before the Redbirds put the game away with a four-run eighth inning.

A single by Derek Ohme and walks to Micky Sehr and Irish loaded the bases in the eighth.

Wenninger drew a walk to force home Ohme, and Corey Nelson singled home Sehr and Irish. Nelson scored the final run after Jesse Reisch singled.

Schmidt tossed eight and one-third innings to pick up the pitching win. He worked eight innings of one-run ball before allowing three runs in the ninth.

Wenninger replaced Schmidt and was touched for two runs before recording the final two outs of the game and gaining a save.

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