The Starbuck Stars amateur baseball team was eliminated for the season with a 3-2 loss to Willmar in the consolation bracket of the Region 4C Amateur Baseball Tournament, Saturday afternoon at Spicer.  

The Stars, who beat Milroy in an earlier game, Saturday, 5-4, trailed Willmar 3-0 before mounting a last-inning rally that fell one-run short.

The Stars ended the season with a 18-8 overall record, which included a 10-4 record in the regular season and 8-4 mark in the postseason.

Willmar, Raymond, and Bird Island will represent Region 4C at the State Class C Tourney, set to begin this weekend.

•  The Stars won the County Line playoff title to reach the Region 4C Tourney.  There were nine teams in the Region 4C Tourney, and the Stars beat Willmar (11-1) and lost to Bird Island (9-2) during the first weekend of play.

There are 218 teams in Class C and 48 advanced to the state tourney, which is set for Aug. 19-21, Aug. 26-28 and Sept. 2-5 at various locations.

Starbuck 5,  Milroy 4

The Stars won their first game, Saturday, despite trailing 4-1 after 2 1/2 innings.  Matt Gruber pitched a complete game to earn the win, while Mike Andreas and Austin VerSteeg led the offense with a combined five hits.

Starbuck went ahead for good with two runs in the fifth, thanks to four walks.  After a strikeout to start the inning, Andreas singled and Jackson Hendrickson, Andrew Toops and Aaron VerSteeg followed with walks, scoring pinchrunner Blake Andreas.

Milroy got the second out on a fielder’s choice at home, but Starbuck scored again when Michael Gruber coaxed the fourth walk of the inning to score Toop.

Matt Gruber did not allow another run after that, giving up only nine hits, four runs and two walks with four strikeouts.

Mike Andreas was 3-for-4 for the Stars, while Austin VerSteeg was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, Michael Gruber had a solo homer to lead off the first, and Jackson Hendrickson, Matt Gruber and Mitchell Gruber also had hits for the Stars.

Willmar 3, Starbuck 2

The Rails avenged a loss to the Stars earlier  in the tournament with a 3-2 victory, Saturday afternoon, in an elimination game at Spicer.

The first Willmar batter of the game reached after a third strike passed ball, and the Rails would go on to score two runs with a walk, hit-by-pitch and two singles.

Starbuck pitcher Austin VerSteeg settled down after that, giving up only  two more hits and one walk the rest of the way while striking out 16 batters over nine innings.

Willmar, which was outhit 6-4, scored another run in the seventh to go up 3-0 and that’s the way the score stood until the ninth when the Stars put together a last-ditch rally to save their season.

Darion Alexander walked to open up the inning, and Matt Gruber was hit by a pitch before Willmar got the first out on a foul popup.  Mike Andreas singled to load the bases and Jackson Hendrickson came through with an RBI-single to score Alexander with the Stars’ first run.

After a strikeout, Aaron VerSteeg walked to send home Gruber, but Mitch Gruber grounded out to shortstop to end the game.  Both teams left seven runners on base.

Mitch Gruber did have two of the Stars’ six hits on the night with Matt Gruber, Andreas, Hendrickson and Aaron Ver Steeg also coming through with singles.

Both pitchers had dominant performances, pitching complete games and combining for 27 strikeouts.

Starbuck Stars 5, Milroy 4

Milroy 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 4 9 0

Starbuck 1 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 x — 5 9 2

HittinG:  Starbuck-Mike Andreas 3-for-4; Austin VerSteeg 2-for-5, sb; Michael Gruber 1-for-3, 1 run, 2 RBI, sac, bb, HR; Matt Gruber 1-for-4, 1 run, bb; Jackson Hendrickson 1-for-3, RBI, bb; Mitchell Gruber 1-for-4; Darion Alexander 0-for-3, RBI, bb, sb; Andrew Toop 0-for-3, 1 run, bb; Aaron VerSteeg 0-for-1, 1 run, RBI, 2 bb, hbp; Blake Andreas 0-for-0, 1 run . . . MILROY-Dave Schmidt 3-for-5, 1 run; Jake Hughes 3-for-4, 3 RBI, double

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so):  Starbuck-Matt Gruber (W)  9-9-4-4-2-4 . . . MILROY-Isaac Schmidt (L)  4 2/3-7-5-5-6-1; Nathan Deutz 3 1/3-2-0-0-1-0


Willmar 3, Starbuck 2

Willmar 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 3 4 0

Starbuck 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 — 2 6 0

HittinG:  Starbuck-Mitchell Gruber 2-for-4; Matt Gruber 1-for-3, 1 run, hbp; Mike Andreas 1-for-4; Jackson Hendrickson 1-for-4, RBI; Aaron VerSteeg 1-for-3, double, RBI, bb; Michael Gruber 0-for-3, bb; Darion Alexander 0-for-3, 1 run, bb;  . . . WILL-Sam Etternam 2-for-4, 1 run, RBI, double

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so):  Starbuck-Austin VerSteeg (L)  9-4-3-2-2-16 . . . WILL-Jayden Dierenfield (W)  9-6-2-2-3-11