Duluth Marshall senior Derrick Winn moved from starting pitcher to catcher, a move that helped reliever Ben Benson and his off-speed pitches shut down Caledonia 6-3 on Friday in the Class 2A semifinals at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.
Benson pitched four innings of relief, giving up two hits and no runs to get the victory for Duluth Marshall (23-4).
Winn had allowed three runs on six hits in three innings. Caledonia tied the game 3-3 in the third inning.
“I realized that they can hit the straight ball,’’ Winn said, “and I know that my teammate [Benson] has a really good off-speed pitch, so I figured if he could get them with that, then he would be able to be successful.”
Winn helped at the plate with two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Centerfielder Carter Sullivan had three hits, an RBI and scored a run. Designated hitter Tyler Johnson also had an RBI and scored.
Caledonia pitcher Payton Schott kept the Warriors in the game with a strikeout to end the top of the sixth inning when Duluth Marshall had the bases loaded.
The victory pushed the Hilltoppers into the championship after losing in last year’s semifinals.
“That was our main drive this entire season, to not be on the other side of this game,” Winn said.
After two lead changes, Duluth Marshall found a way to stay ahead and defeat upstart Caledonia 6-3 on Friday to advance to the Class 2A championship game Saturday at Target Field.
Caledonia (22-3) grabbed a 2-0 lead early at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud, but the Hilltoppers went ahead in the third inning 3-2 before the Warriors (23-4) knotted up things again.
After a lightning delay, Duluth Marshall jumped ahead to stay with twos runs in the fifth inning.
Check back later for more on the game.