SAUK CITY — The Sauk Prairie Twins have kept things interesting through the first two weeks of the Home Talent League playoffs.
A week after capitalizing on an error to open the Northern Section postseason with a walk-off win over Black Earth, the second-seeded Twins were back to small ball in Sunday’s 4-3 win over Ashton. Dylan Slotty tied the game with a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning, then Lucas Koenig brought home Sam Koenig with a squeeze bunt that gave the Twins their second walk-off win in as many weeks.
"After a walk-off win last week against Black Earth, we were able to top that win another," said Lucas Koenig, who serves as a player-manager. "Ashton outplayed us for 8.5 innings, but in the bottom of the ninth we were able to come up on top."
The Twins (14-3) trailed throughout, as Ashton (12-5) scored single runs in the third, fourth and eighth innings to open up a 3-0 lead.
Sauk Prairie finally got to Ashton pitcher Derrick Rothwell in the ninth. The Twins scored a pair of earned runs off Rothwell, who ended up with a no-decision after throwing 8⅓ innings of six-hit ball before he was relieved by Shane Adler.
Sauk Prairie climbed all the way back, starting when Chucky Schara singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Elijah Jorgenson and Alex Mayer each drew walks to load the bases. Schara came home on a wild pitch, then the A's intentionally walked Sam Koenig to reload the bases. Slotty’s two-run single also moved Koenig to third base, allowing him to score when Lucas Koenig squeeze bunted on the first pitch he saw.
"We had some great at-bats in the ninth and Dylan came through to tie it," Lucas Koenig said. "I gave Sam a wink at third base to indicate the squeeze sign, and we executed it for the walk off."
Connor Leister picked up the win for the Twins, allowing six hits and one earned run in 5⅔ innings of relief. Taylor Koenig got the start, giving up three hits and two earned runs in 3⅓.
Kyle Klapper hit a solo home run for the A’s, who outhit the Twins 9-8. Sauk Prairie will face Muscoda in next weekend’s Northern Section final. Muscoda swept Sauk Prairie in two regular-season matchups and is coming off a 1-0 upset win over top-seeded Middleton.
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Sauk Prairie will also play in the Night League playoffs at Cottage Grove on Thursday.
Ashton 001 100 010 — 3 9 2
Sauk Prairie 000 000 004 — 4 8 1
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — A: Rothwell (8.1-6-2-3-7), Adler (L; 0.2-2-2-2-0). SP: Leister (5.2-6-1-2-3), T. Koenig (3.1-3-2-1-0).
Leading Hitters — A: Belleveau 2x4, Prochaska 2x5. HR — Klapper. SP: L. Koenig 2x4, Dederich 2x4.
Sauk Prairie 7, Shullsburg/Benton 4
The Twins also remained alive in the Night League playoffs with a 7-4 win at Shullsburg/Benton in 11 innings on Aug. 8.
"It was a hard-fought victory," Lucas Koenig said. "I like our ability to stay focused, even when we fall behind. We were able to battle our way back and regain the lead to continue our Night League season."
Sauk Prairie trailed until Adam Juran's drag bunt led to an error that allowed two runs to score and the Twins to take a 4-3 lead. Shullsburg/Benton came back in the seventh — the final inning in Night League play — to send the game to extras.
The Twins put the game away with three runs in the top of the 11th. Leo Joyce bunted and Nolan Joyce drew a bases-loaded walk to give Sauk Prairie a 5-4 lead. Lucas Koenig followed with a sacrifice fly, while Tyler Prime added an RBI single for the final run of the night.
Sauk Prairie will visit Cottage Grove in Thursday's quarterfinals.