Winona shuts down K-M bats
There could be a cliche used that says that the action in the Section 1AAA tournament opener between Kasson- Mantorville and Winona was as hot as it could be on May 26. However, such a statement could not have been more true as the KoMets and the Winhawks went to battle in temperatures hovering around the mid-to-high 90s in Winona.
As the temperature continued to rise throughout the afternoon, the only thing that couldn’t warm up was the KoMets’ bats. With Easton Gamoke throwing an absolute gem on the mound, K-M couldn’t find enough offense to score the upset in a 3-1 loss.
“Their pitcher was very good,” K-M head coach Matt Franke said. “We had our chances, but we couldn’t get the bat on the ball.”
The first inning set the tone for the game as after Easton Knoll lined out on the first pitch, Gamoke would record two strikeouts to get out of the inning. Opposing him on the rubber was Ben Kinney (6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 6 BB, 3 K), who was solid throughout most of the game but found himself in a jam in the bottom of the first before allowing a run to score on a wild pitch to give Winona an early lead.
From there, there was a lot of swinging and missing on the KoMets’ end as Gamoke would wind up striking out 17 batters in a complete game performance while walking three and allowing three hits. Outside of Jacob Bulger’s (2-for-2, R, BB) performance, offense would be at a premium on this hot afternoon.
After the Winhawks would take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third, the KoMets would find a way to put together a rally in the top of the fourth, eventually scoring on a dropped pop fly with two outs. Gamoke would slam the door from there however as Winona would get an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth to get the win.
Although the KoMets would drop their section opener, they still came in on a positive note thanks to a win over Zumbrota-Mazeppa in their season finale on May 22.
On the strength of a fiverun rally in the top of the sixth, K-M would come from behind thanks to tremendous offensive performances from Knoll (4-for-4, 2B, 3B, RBI), Matt Winkle (3-for-4, 3 RBI) and Matt Bradford (2-3, RBI) to earn a 7-3 victory. With the win, K-M was placed as the fifth seed in the tournament bracket, which led to their meeting with second-seeded Winona. The KoMets’ defeat placed them in the elimination bracket and had them host Albert Lea on Tuesday evening. If the KoMets picked up the victory, they’ll head to Red Wing to face the loser of the Winona/Northfield matchup at 1:30 p.m.