Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial outlasted Deer River 7-4 in a game where both teams struggled at times with fundamentals.
The Knights advance to the Class 1A state tournament semifinals Friday at the Mini Met in Jordan.
The tone was set for a wild game in the top of the first inning as leadoff hitter Jake Dalton scored on a Deer River error to make it 1-0. Luke Benson put Deer River ahead 2-1 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. Another Deer River run made it 3-1 after two innings.
Defensive plays ruled the third inning. Deer River second baseman Travis Kane dived to snare a line drive and end the top of the inning. Then Lake Crystal turned perhaps the game’s most crisp defensive sequence. Damon Benham struck out swinging and catcher Carter Kottke threw down to second base to nail Kane on a stolen base attempt. In a position to hit with at least one runner on base and one out, Benson came up with nobody on and two outs before striking out.
A wild fourth inning followed. Lake Crystal’s Evan Davis drew a walk to start the inning and later scored thanks to two Deer River errors. The Warriors made four errors in the game. Lake Crystal scored three times to take a 4-3 lead. Deer River tied the game in the bottom of the fourth as Cody Willis scored from second on a wild pitch and ensuing confusion in pursuit of the ball.
Lake Crystal kept the pressure on in the fifth inning as Davis doubled in Brian Jacobs to start. Mitch Kelly’s sacrifice fly made it 6-4.