CJ’s Blog: Championship Weekend [updated 9/2: 5 p.m.]

Posted on Aug. 27, 2013 by CJ Siewert

First and second weekend blog

* most recent post at bottom of article

Tuesday, Aug. 27

2 p.m. – The first two weekends of the State tourney are wrapped up and now it gets really interesting. Which Class C team will have the pitching staff, backed by a productive offense, to win four games in three days? Can a Class B team out of the loser’s bracket fight through and garner a championship just as Victoria did last year? Or will one of the two undefeated teams – Cold Spring and Shakopee – walk away with it?

Let’s take a closer look at Class C…

The final 16 teams include seven region champs, five No. 2 seeds and four No. 3 seeds. Of the six regions that sent a No. 4 seed, Region 3’s St. Benedict was the only one to win a game before falling in the second round.

Region 8 is proving to be the strongest region with three teams still alive – Sobieski, Avon and Lastrup. Region 6 (Belle Plaine and Jordan), Region 7 (Winsted and Green Isle), Region 12 (Howard Lake and Maple Lake) and Region 13 (Luverne and Fairmont) all have two teams remaining.

Pitching for the 16 remaining Class C teams has been stellar. And for the most part, it’s great to see teams using their own players to get wins. The only teams that have sent out a drafted player to start a game are Dumont and New Prague.

The pitchers that I’ve been most impressed with are Shaun McGuire (Fairmont), Kyle Collins (Avon), Brian Beuning (Luverne) and Mike Adelman (Dumont). McGuire and Collins have two starts. McGuire has two complete games and Collins hasn’t given up an earned run. Beuning has just one start, but he went the complete game without an earned run and struck out 17 of 34 batters he faced. And Adelman – as you all know – threw a no-hitter and has two wins as well.

I’ve listed each team’s “ace” and their stats, while Maple Lake, Jordan and New Prague have used two different pitchers for the majority of their innings.

Lake Henry: Nate Nietfeld, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 31 AB

Lastrup: Chad Weiss, 16 IP (2 games), 14 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 69 AB, 2 HBP

Fairmont: Shaun McGuire, 18 IP (2 games), 10 H, 2 ER, 12 K, 66 AB, 3 HBP

Winsted: Tony Kley 14.2 IP (2 games), 12 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 17 K, 61 AB, 1 WP

Belle Plaine: Ryan Diers: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 31 AB

Howard Lake: Adam Koch, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 26, AB, 1 WP

Avon: Kyle Collins, 14.2 IP (2 games), 10 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 55 AB, 1 WP, 2 HBP

Sobieski: Tyler Jendro, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 31 AB

Fergus Falls: Casey Kowalski, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 26 AB

Dumont: Mike Adelman (Clinton), 18 IP (2 games), 10 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 70 AB, 5 HBP, 2 WP

Green Isle: Cody Hallahan, 16.1 IP (2 games), 12 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 13 K, 63 AB

Sartell: David Deminsky, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 30 AB

Maple Lake: Mitch Wurm, 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 27 AB

                 Jeremy Schmidt, 7.2 IP (2 games), 3 H, 0 ER, 9 K, 28 AB

Luverne: Brian Beuning, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 17 K, 34 AB

Jordan: Mitch Bockenstedt, 8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 14 K, 32 AB

            Trent Bohnsack, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 27 AB, 1 HBP

New Prague: Ben Morrison (Prior Lake), 10 IP (2 games), 7 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 38 AB, 1 HBP

                 Dusty Beckius, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 20 AB

Looking back at my game predictions after the first round, I still feel confident in my “final four,” but the teams they face to get there will be different. Maple Lake is still my pick to win it all, while Winsted is looking good. Fergus Falls is a major threat and appears to be the real deal. I think Howard Lake will have the toughest road to make the final four.

Other teams that I think could make a deep run are Fairmont, Jordan and Luverne. All three of those teams have great pitching and as long as their offense is supportive, they could make a run at the title as well. And I’d be remiss to overlook Belle Plaine. (Maybe now I won’t get crap for being an RVL “traitor.” And maybe they’ll throw by teammate Ty Kaus at some point.)

In Class B, its obvious to anyone who follows town team baseball that Cold Spring is historically the biggest threat. Shakopee is the other undefeated team and I feel if its offense remains productive, the Indians may knock off the Springers.

In the loser’s bracket, Austin and Savage are my favorites to possibly make an upset.

Saturday, Aug. 31

2 p.m. – Aaaaaaaaand we’re back.

I’m in Maple Lake today watch a trio of games before heading to Delano for the nightcap matchup between neighboring league rivals Jordan (River Valley) and New Prague (Dakota Rice Scott). Both teams have good followings, so that should be a fun game to watch.

Last night I was unable to make the three Class B games because of a work commitment. I had to cover the season-opening rivalry football game between Le Sueur and St. Peter (St. Peter won 41-7). So I apologize to the B teams for my absence, but expect full coverage on Sunday and Monday.

This morning in Maple Lake, Belle Plaine defeated Avon 6-3 to advance to the “Elite 8.” Ryan Diers pitched another great game for the Tigers, lasting seven innings with one earned run on four hits. He struck out seven and walked two against 28 batters.

The Tiger bats proved Avon ace Kyle Collins is indeed hittable, to the tune of six hits – including a three-run homer by Diers – and six runs during his five innings on the hill.

I was happy to see my team represented at State as Ty Kaus tossed the eighth inning for Belle Plaine. He faced four batters without giving up a hit and walked one.

Belle Plaine will face the winner of Howard Lake and Green Isle tomorrow morning.

Over in Delano, last year’s runner-up Fairmont hit two home runs in the seventh and one in the ninth to come back and defeat Lastrup 6-2. Adam Schmidt, Taylor Morris and Luke Becker had the three bombs for the Martins.

Fairmont ace Shaun McGuire pitched five innings after throwing two complete games in the first two rounds. He allowed two earned runs.

Pipestone draftee Brandon Alfson threw the final four frames and picked up the win in relief. He allowed only two hits.

Chad Weiss took the complete game loss for Lastrup. He gave up eight hits and struck out nine.

Check back later today for move State coverage. 

9:15 p.m. – After watching three games in Maple Lake, I’m now down in Delano to watch Jordan and New Prague. We’re in a rain delay, but it’s letting up and looks like we’ll be able to get things started back up in a half hour or so. In the meantime, here’s a quick update of events since my last post.

The second game at Maple Lake ended in favor of Howard Lake. The Orphans beat Green Isle 2-0 behind a combined three-hitter by Adam Koch (6.1 innings, 2 hits) and Dassel-Cokato draftee Jordan Danielson (2.2 innings, 1 hit).

Cody Hallahan suffered the complete game loss with two earned runs on five hits and five strikeouts.

In Delano, Fergus Falls topped Dumont 5-4. One game removed from his no-hitter, Mike Adelman threw his third complete game of the tourney, but gave up five runs (two earned) on 10 hits. His defense committed five errors.

Brandon-Evansville draftee Collin Modahl got the win after seven innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on 10 hits. Vergas draftee Brock Collins registered a save with two innings of relief, allowing just one hit.

The two teams combined for nine errors with eight of them committed going into the third inning.

The marquee game of the day thus far has been Luverne’s 11-inning upset of defending champion Maple Lake. The Lakers had a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the ninth and seemed in complete control behind the pitching of Jeremy Schmidt.

With the rain coming down consistently, Luverne pitcher Brian Beuning started the frame with a groundball and was called out on a sweeping tag from the first baseman. He made it clear to the first base ump that he did not agree with the call and was ejected from the game.

The next play resulted in the second out after a base-running mistake ended in a rundown.

Down to their last out of the game, the Redbirds scrapped together a couple hits and cut the deficit to 2-1. With the tying run on second, Luverne got another hit to tie the game at 2-2. Maple Lake got out of the jam and the game was sent to extras.

After an uneventful 10th inning, Maple Lake pulled its starter – Schmidt – after 10 innings pitched. He allowed two earned runs on eight hits with seven Ks, two walks and 122 pitches.

Sam Marsnik came in relief and the one mistake pitch he made traveled 374 feet and over the center field wall off the bat of Codie Zeutenhorst. In his third inning of relief, Andrew DeBoer shut down the Maple Lake bats and picked up the mound win in relief. He gave up just one hit and struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced.

Shortly before Luverne beat Maple Lake, the Winsted Wildcats pulled out a come-from-behind victory of their own over Lake Henry, 3-2, in Delano.

Trailing by one run going into the seventh, the Wildcats put up two runs and held on to that advantage for the win.

Winsted ace Tony Kley tossed the complete game with two runs on six hits. He struck out 10 against 37 batters.

Nate Nietfeld took the loss for Lake Henry after 6.1 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits.

Two more games are to be played tonight. We’re waiting on Jordan vs. New Prague in Delano and Sobieski vs. Sartell in Maple Lake. 

Sunday, Sept. 1

1:45 a.m. – Eat. Sleep. Baseball.

The second activity is currently being neglected thanks to a 150-minute rain delay before the last games of the night. I made the trip to Delano to watch Jordan take on New Prague and the fans stuck around during the rain delay, which was good to see. And I think the beer sales benefitted from that.

New Prague took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after a double came around the bases. In the second, Jordan attempted something I haven’t seen yet during this tournament, or in a few years now that I think about it – stealing home. Trent Simek tried the ultimate stolen base, but was tagged out sliding head first into home.

The next inning was more fruitful for the Brewers. With the bases loaded and two out, Scott Hollingsworth hit a two-run single for a 2-1 lead. But the Orioles responded immediately with a run on an error, followed by a bases loaded walk to regain a 3-2 lead.

Dusty Beckius ended his night on the hill for New Prague with one out in the fourth, giving way to Prior Lake draftee Ben Morrison. With the bases loaded and two outs, Morrison got Joe Lucas looking at a third strike on one of the nastier pitches I’ve seen recently.

Jordan tied the game in the fifth when a run scored on a sharp single that deflected off Morrison’s glove.

In the sixth, New Prague regained the lead at 4-3 with a two-out triple by Tyler Seurer followed by an error.

That lead didn’t last long as Jordan scored a run on a ground ball double play in the seventh.

The Brewers then took the lead for good in the eighth on an RBI single by Steven Beckman. At this point, the calendar flipped from August to September.

Trent Bohnsack came out for the eight and got two outs before leaving the game after 142 pitches. He allowed four runs (one earned) on four hits with nine Ks and six walks. Dillon Lee came in to close out the game.

In the ninth, Jordan tacked on an insurance run as 52-year-old Paul Buss was green-lighted on a 3-0 pitch. He drove the ball over the right fielder’s head, scoring a run and giving his team a two-run lead.

New Prague threatened in the bottom half with runners on the corners and two outs, but that’s where it ended and Jordan advanced to the Elite 8.

Over in Maple Lake, Sartell edged Sobieski 2-1. David Deminsky picked up the complete game victory with no earned runs on three hits. He struck out 11 and walked four.

Tyler Jendro suffered the complete game loss with one earned run on eight hits and nine Ks.

The remaining eight teams are Belle Plaine, Fairmont, Howard Lake, Fergus Falls, Winsted, Luverne, Jordan and Sartell. Since I picked Maple Lake to win it all, that means I need to pick a new favorite. I won’t back out on my prediction of Winsted reaching the title game, but after what I’ve seen over the past three weekends, I’m taking Jordan over Winsted for the championship.

Although, if Belle Plaine can win two games without Diers on the mound all the while Jordan wins two games, too, I think inter-galactic warfare might break out in the River Valley League. 

4 p.m. – I really don’t know where to begin on this one. Belle Plaine just defeated Howard Lake 7-6 in a 17-inning game that lasted 4 hours and 17 minutes.

Belle Plaine used five pitchers, while Howard Lake used four.

There were 114 at-bats between the two teams. In a losing effort, Eric Schreifels went 6-for-7 with three runs, two RBIs, a home run, two walks and two stolen bases. In a winning effort, the entire Belle Plaine team went 10-for-58.

This game had everything and I’m exhausted from simply watching it to detail everything that happened. If you want a recap of the play-by-play, check the tweets from @MinnBaseball. That will give you a good visual of all that happened.

The other River Valley League team vying for a trip to the final four is Jordan, who just started its game against Luverne.

I’ll have more to write later, but I’m still reeling from that last one. 

8 p.m. – After a 17-inning marathon win for Belle Plaine, the Tigers traveled from Delano to Maple Lake to take on Winsted – who had just beat Fairmont 10-7. Belle Plaine controlled the game throughout and punched its ticket to the Class C championship game for the first time since 1994 when the Tigers won it all.

Chanhassen draftee Justin Thompson got the start after pitching 5-plus innings just a few hours prior. Thompson picked up the win after six innings. He allowed two earned runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts.

Waconia draftee Evan Buhr took the loss after 3.1 innings.

Ryan Diers led Belle Plaine at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a home run, walk and stolen base. Diers is making a strong case for the All-Tournament team and possibly a MVP nomination. He is batting .533 with two home runs and six RBIs. On the mound, he is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA.

Over in Delano, Jordan made a statement victory, 10-3, over Luverne. The Brewers scored eight runs in the fifth inning, large in part to Scott Hollingsworth’s grand slam. Hollingsworth is also making a strong case for All-Tournament honors, batting .556 (10-18) with a home run, two doubles and eight RBIs.

The winner of Jordan and Sartell tonight will face Belle Plaine for the title. And as many people have already pointed out, it would be an all River Valley League affair if Jordan wins. Oh, and next year’s State Tournament host sites are Belle Plaine and Jordan. 

Monday, Sept. 2

5 p.m. – After watching Sartell capture its second ever Class C State championship with a convincing 10-0 victory over Belle Plaine this afternoon in Maple Lake, I’m back in Delano for the B title game(s). Shakopee just defeated Cold Spring 5-1, forcing a game two for the title. 

This year’s State tournament has had everything – a 17-inning marathon, a game that was played in two different months and a no-hitter. With so much going on and a lot to discuss, I plan on emptying out the notebook when I have more time to sit down and recollect everything. Right now, we’re preparing for the deciding game two for Class B. 

So check back here tomorrow and later in the week. After we have a Class B champion, I’ll take a few photos and them I’m outta here. I can’t complain, but it’s simply a lot of baseball to take in over the past three weekends. 

See you tomorrow. 

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