By Chad Koenen


Josh Dykhoff struck out nine hitters as the Bluffton Braves were able to get the best of the New York Mills Millers in one of the most anticipated games of each season for either club on Wednesday night. During the annual fireworks game in NY Mills, the Braves were able to get on the scoreboard first in the top of the first inning when Connor Davis and Kyle Dykhoff hit back-to-back RBI singles with two outs to put the Braves up by a score of 2-0.

Just one inning later, Gabe Geiser hit a home run over the left field fence to make the score 3-0 in favor of Bluffton. 

From there, the pitchers for both teams took over as NY Mills pitcher Austin Maneval and Dykhoff for the Braves retired 16 consecutive batters and 21 of the next 23 hitters in order. 

The Braves ended up loading the bases with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, but Maneval worked out of the jam to hold Bluffton off the scoreboard and keep the score at 3-0. 

Bluffton added a final run when Justin Dykhoff hit an RBI double with two outs to bring Josh Dykhoff across the plate to score. 

The Millers didn’t go down without a fight as Brandon Kupfer and Zach Hocking led off the bottom of the seventh inning with back-to-back singles. Unfortunately, Kupfer was thrown out at third base on a bunt attempt and a hard line drive was caught by second baseman Tyson Barthel who then doubled up Caden Roberts on first base to end the scoring attempt. 

NY Mills picked up a pair of walks to put runners on first and second base with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Dustin Geiser was able to force back-to-back fly outs to end the game by a score of 4-0. 

Bluffton was led offensively by Payton Rondestvedt and Justin Dykhoff who each picked up a pair of hits, while the Millers were led by Derin Gaudette, Kupfer and Hocking who each finished with one hit. 

Josh Dykhoff picked up the win on the mound for Bluffton as he went eight innings and gave up just three hits. He struck out nine hitters and walked just three. 

Maneval took the loss by going nine innings and giving up eight hits, two earned runs and striking out five Braves hitters. 

Bluffton AB R H     BI

I Hamann 5 0 1 0

P Rondestvedt 5 0 2 0

Jo Dykhoff 3 2 0 0

Ju Dykhoff 4 1 2 1

C Davis 4 0 1 1

K Dykhoff 4 0 1 1

T Barthel 4 0 0 0

W Hamann 4 0 0 0

G Geiser 3 1 1 1

L Pulju 0 0 0 0

HITTING- 2B- I Hamman, Ju Dykhoff, P Rondestvedt; HR- G Geiser 

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-k)- Jo Dykhoff 8-3-0-0-3-9, D Geiser 1-0-0-0-2-1

NY Mills AB R H     BI

D Gaudette 3 0 1 0

B Ehnert 3 0 0 0

L Small 4 0 0 0

B Kupfer 2 0 1 0

Z Hocking 4 0 1 0

C Roberts 4 0 0 0

A Patron 3 0 0 0

C Teich 2 0 0 0

J Johnson 3 0 0 0

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-k)- A Maneval 9-8-4-2-3-5