FAIRMONT - A bespectacled Aaron Siefken's effective repetoire of pitches left Minneota's batting order looking for ways to reach base during Wednesday night's amateur baseball playoff game in Fairmont.
Siefken recorded eight strikeouts to engineer a four-hit complete-game gem, while teammate Taylor Nawrocki collected three of Fairmont's 14 hits to power the Martins' 14-1, seven-inning rout of the Mudhens in the series' opener at Herb Wolf Field.
Fairmont (24-6), the No. 1 seed in the eight-team Region 13C tournament's second round of best-of-3 series, travels to No. 8-seeded Minneota (14-14) for Game 2 at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
WINDING UP — Fairmont Martins hurler Aaron Siefken prepares to deliver a pitch during Game 1 of a best-of-3, second-round Region 13C amateur baseball playoff game Wednesday night in Fairmont. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
"Our bats have really come around during the playoffs," said Martins' player/coach Adam Schmidt, who delivered an RBI single during the home team's five-run bottom of the first.
After Schmidt made a long sprint into foul territory from his first base position to corral a popup during the Mudhens' initial at-bat, he and his teammates staked Siefken to an early comfortable lead on the scoreboard.
Siefken smashed a one-out double into the right-field corner, Shaun McGuire was plunked by an Ethan Duffy offering and Max Waletich drew a walk to load the bases in the home half of the first.
Schmidt singled home Siefken before McGuire and Waletich circled the bases on Dustin Sobolik's two-run single.
Taylor Nawrocki drilled an RBI double before Ian Bents launched a sacrifice fly to center to widen the gap to 5-0.
After giving up a one-out single to Minneota's Beau Buysse in the second, Siefken retired a string of eight straight to allow the Fairmont lumber company to pound out two runs each in the second and third en route to a 9-0 edge.
Tanner Nawrocki led off the Martins' second at-bat with a walk, took second on Jon Ellis' sacrifice bunt and coasted home when Siefken blasted an RBI triple to deep right-center. Siefken then trotted home on Waletich's RBI single to left.
Taylor Nawrocki displayed his speed by legging out a one-out infield hit to set the table during the bottom of the third before scoring on Bents' RBI double to deep left. Bents, who advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch, crossed the plate when Ellis beat out an infield hit.
Trailing 9-0, Buysse spoiled Siefken's shutout bid by lining a leadoff single during the top of the fifth before wheeling to third on Tony Shaikoski's single to right. Buysse then crossed the plate on Justin Greenwood's RBI fielder's choice to short.
Siefken registered back-to-back strikeouts to quickly send Fairmont's lethal batting order back to the plate.
Taylor Nawrocki walked with one out, Bents singled and Tanner Nawrocki reached on an infield hit to short. Ellis drew an RBI walk before Bents scored the second of his three runs on a wild pitch for an 11-1 lead.
McGuire then hammered a two-run single to left to widen the Martins' margin to 13-1 after five full frames.
Bents later walked, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Tanner Nawrocki's RBI single in the sixth to cap Fairmont's offensive outburst.
Taylor Nawrocki went 3-for-3 with a double, one RBI and scored twice, while the trio of Siefken, Bents and Tanner Nawrocki each collected two hits.
Siefken allowed one earned run on four hits, struck out eight and walked two in seven innings of work to earn the victory.
Duffy, a draft choice from Heron Lake, allowed 13 runs on 12 hits, fanned one, issued five walks and hit one batter in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss for Minneota.
M'ota 000 010 0 - 1 4 1
Fmt 522 041 x - 14 14 1
Ethan Duffy (LP), Cal Swedzinski (5), Isaac Josephson (6) and Beau Buysse. Aaron Siefken (WP) and Dustin Sobolik.
LOB-Fairmont 6; Minneota 6. 2B-Siefken (F), Taylor Nawrocki (F), Ian Bents (F). 3B-Siefken (F). SF-Bents (F). SAC-Jon Ellis (F).