The Otters travelled to Morris on Saturday to play in the Eye Of The Tiger MSF qualifier. They won all three games in the blistering heat to punch their ticket to state. The finals were 8-2 over Alexandria, 5-3 over Prairie River Thunder and 14-4 over Morris.
Game 1 featured some timely hitting and a pitching gem by Dexter Felstul. Felstul tossed four shutout innings allowing one hit with 11 strikeouts. The Otters opened scoring in the second with a lead-off walk by Chase Johnston followed by consecutive singles by Frank Schierer, Gus Proudfoot (2 RBI) and Owen Johnson (RBI), Landon Noon also had an important walk to extend the inning. In the third inning the Otters went to work with two outs — a single by Isaac Jenc, an RBI triple by Felstul and an RBI single by Johnston giving the home team a 5-0 lead. The fourth inning started with Proudfoot and Cade Johnson singles, then walks by Hayden Heruth and Weston Youngberg along with a couple wild pitches allowed the Otters to score three more insurance runs. Owen Johnson came in to slam the door on Alex in the fifth inning to secure an 8-2 victory.
In Game 2 the Otters were again the home team against a great hitting Prairie River Thunder team. The Otters needed the win to clinch a trip to state. The Thunder scored two runs in the first to take the early advantage. The Otters got a run back in the bottom of the first, Kade Johnson walked and came around to score on a Felstul single. The Thunder answered right back, scoring a run in the second to take a 3-1 lead. The Otters were able to hold the Thunder in check the rest of the way thanks to great pitching by Jenc and some spectacular defensive plays by Jude Moline and K. Johnson. The Otters broke out in the bottom of the fourth with a Weston Youngberg walk, followed by hits from K. Johnson and Jenc to set the table for a bases-clearing Felstul triple to put the Otters on top for good. Jenc started the game throwing four solid innings with eight strikeouts and three hits allowed, Kade came on in the fifth for the save.
In the championship game Johnston took the hill and pitched 2 ⅓ effective innings. The Otters scored early with patient at-bats working several walks and running the bases aggressively. They scored 9 times in the first two innings. Cade Johnson and Isaac Jenc led the offensive attack with two hits each in the game. The Otters ended the game in three innings with the 10-run lead rule to take home the hardware.
With the win the Otters will play in the state tournament in Mankato July 23-25.
Hitting leaders for the tournament were (4) Felstul and Jenc, (3) C. Johnson, (2) K. Johnson and Proudfoot, Johnston, Schierer, O. Johnson and Moline.