By Matthew Davis
New London-Spicer Twins pitcher Adam Nibaur saw this before.
He started for the Twins in last year’s first-round state tournament game with Howard Lake, which the Twins won 4-1. Fast forwarding a year, Nibaur took the mound again against the Orphans.
Nibaur didn’t an enjoy the cushion of a three-run home run as support this time around though. He kept Orphans batters off balance with six strikeouts and allowed two hits in a 2-0 win as the Twins advanced.
“I was just throwing my fastball, and the off-speed, that changeup, that really cut and fooled them a lot,” Nibaur said. “I knew the top hitters were very good, so I had to hit that corner a couple times.”
Twins second baseman Adam Schrader at least gave Nibaur some early support with an RBI double to deep center field in the bottom of the first inning. It scored Austen Hadley, who had the three-run homer in last year’s contest with the Orphans.
“Once I get that run, I’m very confident with what I’m going to do out there,” Nibaur said.
Howard Lake didn’t get a hit until the top of the fifth inning when designated Jared Koch singled. Center fielder Steve Boger had the only other hit on a single in the top of the seventh inning.
The rest of the night, the Twins fielded everything the Orphans made contact with.
“They always have my back,” Nibaur said of the fielders.
The Orphans stayed in the game with their pitching and fielding, keeping the score to 1-0. They escaped the bottom of the second inning with a tag at second base when the Twins had runners at the corners. Loaded bases with one out in the bottom of fifth inning didn’t faze the Orphans either.
Orphans pitcher Mike Dockendorf struck out Schrader and set up Twins first baseman Scott Rambow for a pop fly to end the inning. Dockendorf threw five strikeouts in six innings.
New London-Spicer grabbed an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when right fielder John Perkins hit an RBI single. Center fielder Wyatt White reached home after singling earlier in the inning.
The Twins flirted with a third run in the seventh with a base runner on third, but the Orphans got outs fielding, and Dockendorf ended the inning with a strikeout. The Orphans made quick work of the Twins in the eighth inning but couldn’t get anything going in the ninth at the plate — marking a second straight year the Orphans’ season ended against the Twins.
New London-Spicer will have a less-familiar face with Mora 1:30 p.m. Aug. 25 in the second round at Delano.