The Faribault Bethlehem Academy Cardinals outhit United South Central 12-6 but it's runs that count and the Rebels tallied 6 to the Cardinals 3 tonight in Wells.  Credit United South Central with making some stellar defensive plays and starting junior pitcher Sam Zebro for throwing a very efficient game.  Zebro went the first 6 innings and was pulled after throwing 74 pitches, 58 for strikes, so he could throw on Saturday. The right handed pitcher was not overpowering, striking out two batters, but he didn't give any free passes and obviously pitched well with runners on base.

The Cardinals started the game with back to back singles by sophomores Josh Oathoudt and Spencer Ell.  When the inning closed they were still standing at first and second base.  After a strikeout sophomore Jack Jandro smashed the ball to right field but it was caught and not deep enough to advance a runner.  A ground out ended the top of the first.  In the bottom of the inning United South Central sophomore center fielder Isaac Meyer worked the count full against Bethlehem Academy junior right handed pitcher Zach Van Thomme and singled to right.  He went to second on a passed ball during a four pitch walk of sophomore catcher Zach Niebuhr and the Rebels were in the same situation as the Cardinals in the first.  Runners at first and second and no outs.

Senior first baseman Levi Thisius crushed a 1-2 pitch right at Cardinal 8th grade second baseman Aiden Tobin.  The Rebel pitcher came up and worked the count full before swinging and missing for a strikeout but the ball got by the catcher scoring Meyer on the play.  Van Thomme struck out the next batter and a ground out ended the inning.

In the bottom of the second inning four Rebel runs would score with the aid of 2 hits.  The inning started with a walk, a sacrifice by the number 8 hitter, junior third baseman Sean Doyle advanced junior left fielder Joe Bushlack to second.  A fly out was recorded for the second out.  Meyer was then hit by a pitch, Niebuhr had a RBI single to right field, Thisius was hit by a pitch, Zebro was walked with the bases loaded.  Junior right fielder Jacob Stevermer cracked a two run single on a 3-1 count and four runs were in to make it 5-0.

Bethlehem Academy answered with a run in the top of the third inning.  Eighth grader Aiden Tobin hitting in the ninth spot of the batting order opened the inning with a solid single to left.  Josh Oathoudt followed with a single to put runners at first and second and nobody out again.  Spencer Ell then hit a sinking liner to left that Rebel junior Joe Bushlack made a lunging catch on and threw in to second to record a double play.  Van Thomme was up next and during his at bat a balk was called just as he laced a hit down the left field line.  Oathoudt went to second. On a 1-2 count Van Thomme still came through with a RBI single.

Van Thomme pitched the first two innings and did't look comfortable on the mound to me.  He threw 61 pitches, 31 strikes, struck out 3, walked 3 and hit two batters.  Five runs scored in those two innings on 3 hits.  Both hit batsmen scored and a walk scored.

Freshman left handed pitcher Jarrett Malecha entered the game in the bottom of the third inning and did what he was asked to do and that's put zeros up each inning.  He gave up a unearned run in the third and pitched four solid innings throwing 71 pitches, 40 for strikes.  There was one strikeout, two walks and 3 hits by the Rebels against Malecha.

The Cardinals mounted a two out rally in the last inning off senior right handed Rebel pitcher Hunter Johnson.  Following the first two batters getting out on a strikeout looking and ground out Oathoudt hit grounder to third resulting in an error.  Ell hit a single to right center that Oathoudt scored on from first base, Van Thomme crushed a RBI double, Jandro was save on another error, freshman Bo Dienst was hit by a pitch and junior first baseman Kyle Kohl came into the batter's box as the potential go ahead run.

Kohl has recently returned from a torn hamstring and clobbered the ball to right field but United South Central's Jacob Stevermer made a nice running catch that probably saved a tie game.

In his one inning Johnson threw 27 pitches, 17 for strikes, struck out 1 and hit a batter.  He also gave up two hits.

Bethlehem Academy finished the game leaving 9 runners on base, 4 in scoring position and had one error.

United South Central had 7 runners left on base and 6 in scoring position.

The West Subsection 1A number five seed Cardinals ended the year with a 2-14 record and the number four seed Rebels are 4-7 and play 10:00 a.m. Saturday in Austin against top seed Hayfield.

Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game were Van Thomme with two hits and two RBI, Oathoudt with a three hit day and two runs scored, Malecha with his four strong innings of relief and seniors Jaymeson Susen and Luke Donkers.

Donkers was injured during the basketball season and was unable to play but was still included as a member of the team.

Back of Bethlehem Academy Dugout in Wells. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld