Wolf Celebrates 20th Season with 14 Strikeouts
The Owatonna Aces wrapped up their regular season Friday night with a 15-3, seven-inning win over Waseca. It concludes 20 seasons of amateur baseball for the Aces' Brandon Wolf, nearly half of those playing in Owatonna at Chuck Fuller Field. Wolf threw the complete game, striking out 14 Braves' batters along the way. He received a commemorative home plate afterward and tipped his cap to the fans.
Wolf struck out batters in six of his seven innings. He struck out the side twice and could have had four strikeouts in the seventh. After fanning the lead-off man in the final frame, the next batter reached on a dropped third strike. It still counts as a strikeout, but not as one of the three outs of the inning. The other two outs came on ground balls to the shortstop with two strikes on the batter.
Wolf didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning when Waseca pulled even at 2-2. Up until that point, the Braves had three base runners. One was eliminated on a double play. Another was picked off first by Wolf. The third got stranded at third. Wolf got three strikeouts in the fourth and sixth and two in each other inning except the first.
Before his current nine-year run with the Aces, Wolf played six seasons with Sauk Centre, four with Crookston, and a year with Brainerd. Wolf is also a coach on the Owatonna High School staff. Wolf is pictured with longtime baseball player/coach/field groomer Tink Larson of Waseca in the lead photo with this posting.
The Aces turned in some nice defensive plays as well. Matt Simon made a sliding catch of the lead-off batter of the game. A double play later ended that inning. Tyler Smith speared a line drive at third base with two out and a runner at third in the third while the contest was still scoreless.
Kodey Kiel smashed a two-run, stand-up triple in the bottom of the third. The Aces pulled away with an 11-run fifth inning to go up 13-2. The massive output included five singles, five walks, and three hit batters. Kiel had a two-run single. Owatonna added two in the sixth and the Braves plated one in the seventh for the 15-3 final.
The game also featured the father-son combo of Phil and Ethan Walter running the base paths together in addition to a couple of innings of both being on the field defensively. Phil Walter said he joined the team in order to play with his son.
The win puts Owatonna at 6-4 on the abbreviated town ball season in what apparently was their final game this season at Dartt's Park. Word is that they won't host any playoffs games even if they are deemed an upper seed for the playoffs. Seating capacity at Fuller Field is reduced due to damage from a March fire than has closed a portion of the seating. A new concern for amateur baseball fans came Friday when the City of New Ulm rescinded their approval of using city parks for the state tournament, according to a report in The Journal of New Ulm.