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Lightning win division playoff

The Lightning's Tyler Wittwer lines a double against Fort Ripley in the Victory League North Division title game on Sunday, July 20, in Nisswa. Photo by Pete Mohs

The Nisswa Lightning amateur baseball team downed the Fort Ripley Rebels 8-4 in the Victory League North Division title game on Sunday, July 20, in Nisswa.

The Lightning earn the top division seed and advance to face St. Stephen in the Region 8C playoffs at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 26, in Pierz. The Rebels will open the region playoffs against Freeport on July 26.

On Sunday, Nisswa snapped a 4-4 tie with two runs in the fifth inning on Morgan Shepherd's RBI double and a passed ball. The Lightning added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning on an error and then Jason Roepke's RBI single.

The Rebels maintained a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the third when the hosts rallied with four runs to assume the lead. Fort Ripley then tied it in the fourth when Rhett Williamson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Jason Sather then walked and Brett Kramer singled in the tying run.

Kyle Schaible started on the mound for Nisswa, and allowed four runs and five hits before being relieved by Brett Jenkins, who didn't allow a run and just one hit in five innings. Losing pitcher Brett Kramer allowed four runs and five hits in six innings after relieving starter Logan Kalis, who allowed four runs, two hits and five walks in three innings.

Aaron Jenkins, Tyler Wittwer and Ropke each had two hits for Nisswa. Fort Ripley was led by Kramer and Dustin Littlefield each with two hits.


* The Lightning enjoyed an 8-6 edge in hits. A big difference in the game was defensive play as the Rebels made four errors compared to no errors for Nisswa.

* After the game, each team selected a pitcher from their division. The Lightning chose Jake Lynn of Cuyuna Range while Fort Ripley took St. Mathias' Josh Haberman.

* The Rebels advanced to Sunday's division championship by defeating the Saints 5-3 on Saturday, July 19. Nisswa also edged out Fort Ripley for the regular season title in the North division.