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Red Devils top Waconia twice to claim Region 7C title

Ben Smith climbs the fence down the left field line and makes an incredible catch for the first out of the inning between Watertown and Waconia.

It was an impressive weekend for the Watertown Red Devils at the Region 7C Tournament. Looking to claim their first region title since 2008, Watertown did just that as they beat the Waconia Lakers not once but twice. In a semifinal matchup, the depth for the Red Devils was on display as they outlasted the Lakers 3-2 in a thrilling game. Less than 24 hours later, Watertown took it to Waconia to win the Region 7C title and earn a bye in the first round of the Class C state tournament.

Watertown 3,Waconia 2

WINSTED – When two top-10 teams get together, anything can happen. The Waconia Lakers and Watertown Red Devils added another chapter to their storied rivalry as they both looked to reach the Region 7C championship

After Watertown took an early 2-0 lead, they were forced to regroup in the bottom of the ninth and they did just that as Zach Iten delivered with a walk-off RBI single to send the Red Devils to the Region 7C title game with a thrilling 3-2 win over the Lakers Aug. 13.

The Red Devils struck for two runs in the bottom of the first to put Waconia in an early hole. With the bases loaded, Ryan Hangartner put Watertown up 2-0 with an RBI single that scored a pair.

The Lakers wouldn’t go away quietly. With two runners on and no outs in the top of the fourth, Max Kalenberg scored on an error to cut the deficit in half. The Red Devils would get out of trouble after Zach Iten started a double play to limit the damage to just one run.

In the top of the eighth, the Lakers rallied again. Derek Martin started off the inning with a leadoff single and later came around to score on a wild pitch to tie the
game at two.

After seeing their two-run lead slip away, Watertown was forced to rally in the bottom of the ninth. Jadrien Keavy started the rally for the Red Devils after being hit by a pitch. Waconia then intentionally walked Ben Smith with a base open, and with two outs, Mitch Kelzer reached on an infield single to load the bases. Needing a clutch hit, Iten delivered with a singlethrough the hole between shortstop and third to send the Red Devils to the championship game with a walk-off win.

It was an impressive win for the Red Devils who were without two key players in Pat Tschida and Matt Butler. Thanks to a strong start on the mound from Holt Hunziker and big innings from Cale Wabbe and Jonah Lewis in relief, the Red Devils showed off their depth in a big way in the win over the Lakers.

Watertown 5,Waconia 0

WINSTED – Taking on the Lakers for the second time in less than 24 hours, the Red Devils kept things rolling as they used a little two-out magic to knock off a tired Waconia Lakers team. After playing two games the previous day, the Lakers struggled to get anything going in a 5-0 loss to Watertown to wrap up the Region 7C Tournament Aug. 14.

The depth for Watertown was on full display again as Ansen Dulas turned in a gem on the mound. He held the Lakers to just four hits as a team in a complete-game shutout in which he struck out nine.

The offense backed up Dulas with some clutch hitting as well. All five runs for Watertown were scored with two outs. The Red Devils struck for three runs in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI double from Tschida and an RBI single by Jackson Meyer. Watertown would tag on two more in the fifth as Andrew Nichols plated a pair of runs with a two-out triple that proved to be more than enough for Watertown.

With the win, Watertown is the No. 1 seed out of Region 7C and gets a bye in the first round of the Class C state tournament. The Red Devils will take on the winner of New York Mills and the Cold Spring Rockies Sunday, Aug. 28 in Faribault at 4:30 p.m.

Watertown added veterans Matt Wroge, Jake Prehn, and Curtis Herbolsheimer of Winsted to their roster through the draft as well.

Zach Iten celebrates with his teammates after delivering the walk-off hit in Watertown’s 3-2 win over the Waconia Lakers that sent the Red Devils to the Region 7C title game.

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