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The sixth man

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MCNABB — The Hall Red Devils snuck away with the third and final qualifying berth from Tuesday’s Putnam County 1A Regional tournament, by virtue of a three-way tiebreaker.

Hall, St. Bede and Seneca all came in at 362 with Amboy/LaMoille right behind them at 363. The Red Devils had the edge over the Bruins on the fifth-best score breaker thanks to Aaron Mitchell’s 98. Still tied with Seneca, the tiebreaker came down to Hall’s sixth-man Zach Vanderpool’s 106, whose score was three better than Seneca’s.

Hall coach Tom Bauer said he had lost regional championship on a fifth score in his first year as coach, but never seen a regional spot come down on the sixth score.

“It was nerve wrecking, but exciting,” Bauer said. “Until we got up there by the scoreboard, and I knew what the guys in the last group shot, I said wow, this is amazing. It doesn’t usually come that close with that many teams.

“I had been preaching to the kids there was five or six teams could make it out of regional and we’re one of them. If you shoot a bad round, you got to keep playing, because we might come down to that tiebreaker, not knowing it would come down to the second tiebreaker.”

While St. Bede missed out as a team in yet another close call at regional, Bruins Jarret Olson (84) and Joe Dudek (87) advanced as one of the 10 individual qualifiers to the Byron Sectional.

“Unfortunately, we’re getting used to it. We’ve missed out by a total of eight strokes over the past four years,” St. Bede coach Rich Cummings said.

Also advancing to the Byron Sectional are Putnam County freshmen Mitch Aimone (86), and Bureau Valley seniors Logan Twidell (87) and Ryan Young (88), who secured the 10th and final berth. Amboy/LaMoille’s Griffin Kozel, a junior from LaMoille, missed the cut by one stroke at 89.

Senior ace Pete Mautino led the Red Devils charge with an 81, fighting back after a 43 on the front 9 with a 38 on the back side to finish third individually.

“To come back with a 38 on the hard 9, the back 9, to help us pull us through, was very important,” Bauer said.

All six men counted for Hall this time, including senior Nick Scheri (92), freshman Matt Hoscheid (93) and junior Ryan Ott (96).

BV coach Dan Gustafson said both of his players struggled on the front side, but were able put a bad hole behind them and fight back to make it to sectionals.

“I was very impressed with the way they both pulled it together to shoot respectable rounds,” Gustafson said. “It was an extremely competitive regional with Ryan making it in for the last spot. I give them both a lot of credit. I couldn’t be more happier as a coach to be able to take both of them to sectionals at Byron and I think they are ready for the challenge.”

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