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Hale’s no-hitter helps lift Luverne to semi-finals

A superb pitching performance by Luverne’s Corey Hale set the tone for the Tigers as they swept Trinity to move closer to the state championship game.

Hale pitched a no-hitter in the opening game, and the Tigers won 3-0.

Luverne struck early in the game, putting two runs up in the first inning on a home-run by Monterio May.

Later in the game, Hale helped his own cause by blasting a solo homer.

“We’re definitely swinging the bats well,” said head coach Andre Parks.

Even with the strong showing at the plate, Hale stole the show by pitching a complete game and striking out 11.

Parks said one thing that impressed him with Hale was his confidence.

“Corey has always had great stuff, and he’s starting to believe that he can go out and beat anyone,” Parks said. “Trinity averages 12 runs per game, so they’re not a team that struggles offensively. I’m very proud of Corey.”

In the second game, the Tigers got another strong performance on the mound from Adam Foster, who pitched six innings and gave up nine hits in the 6-4 win.

“Adam did a good job of keeping the hitters off balance,” Parks said. “He got a little tired at the end, and we gambled bringing Monterio in, since he hadn’t pitched in months.”

Despite the layoff, May came in and pitched the final inning to earn the save for the Tigers.

“Monterio just gives confidence to the whole team when he’s on the mound,” Parks said.

“We also got some good, timely hits on Friday,” he continued. “We also played good defense, and that’s a big difference between consistency and the ups and downs we had during the season. We’ve also had a complete team effort – it hasn’t been just one or two guys.”

The final team between Luverne and a spot in the state championship series is Dadeville.

Dadeville has 29 wins on the season and haven’t lost a playoff game so far.

“They’ve definitely got a good team,” Parks said.

There is also a family connection — Dadeville’s head coach is the father of Headland’s coach, and Parks has known both of them for years.

“I’m sure they’ve gotten together and talked and passed around some tips,” he said.

Despite that, the games will be held in Luverne, and Parks said he expects another great crowd.

“I had the feeling last week that there was going to be a football-type atmosphere around the game, and we had a fantastic crowd,” he said. “People are getting excited, and I think that’ll continue this week.”

The first game is set for 4 p.m. in Luverne and the second game will follow.

In case of a split, the third game will be Saturday at 1 p.m.