Class A state tournament: AFU escapes with win, Baseball 365 advances and St. Anthony gets big win

By Mike Marsnik

ScoreMonster Contributor

Photos courtesy of Michael Mingo/Twin Cities Photography

Air Freight Unlimited 3, Minneapolis Cobras 2

Dan Scallon’s two-run homer and Avery Lehman’s sacrifice fly to right field gave defending Class A champs Air Freight Unlimited a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Minneapolis Cobras in the eighth inning of the first game of the double elimination round Saturday at Palm Field in St. Anthony. Reliver Ben Meyer picked up the win in relief.

Cobra starter Mitch Walatzki scattered six hits over the first seven innings and held a 2-0 lead entering the bottom of the eighth. He struck out eight and walked none,

Cobras catcher Jeff Miller opened the scoring with an opposite field homer over the right field fence in the top of the third. Jordan Kozicky also homered off AFU starter Graham Laubscher, his coming in the seventh.

Laubscher went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He retired the first seven he faced, then 10 straight after Miller’s blast.

Air Freight Unlimited faces Baseball 365 in the winners bracket while the Cobras take on Highland Park in the losers bracket on Sunday, Aug. 14.

Baseball 365 2, Highland Park Beavers 1

Baseball 365 rallied in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Highland Park 2-1 in Saturday’s second game at Palm Field. Sam Kuleas delivered the game-winning run on a solid hit to right field plating pinch-hitter Alex Rutledge, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.

Starters Cory Reiter and C.J. Smith had a pitchers’ duel going, with each allowing single runs in the fifth inning. Reiter, the Beavers’ righty, struck out 11 while allowing only four hits in 8 1/3 innings. Lefty Smith went the distance for Baseball 365. He notched the “W” with 10 strikeouts, five walks, two hit batters and only six hits, all singles.

Reiter walked home the only run he allowed. Jake Porter scored from third on the free pass to Michael Thomas.

Highland Park opened the scoring in the top of the fifth with consecutive singles by Reiter,  Max Selim and Alex Selim, who constitute the top of the Beavers’ order.

Highland Park loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth. With Brady Steenson at the plate, Simon Huyck bolted for home. He was tagged out at the plate on an attempted steal.

Baseball 365 plays Air Freight Unlimited in the winners’ bracket and Highland Park faces the Minnetonka Millers in the losers bracket.

St. Louis Park Pirates 10, Stockmen’s Irish 0

Chris Odegaard blanked Stockmen’s Irish on seven hits as the St. Louis Park Pirates cruised to a 10-0 seven-inning victory Saturday afternoon.

The Pirates scored three runs on three hits in the second inning and another seven runs in the fourth, capped of by Joe Pierce’s three-run homer. Austin Ledin went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Every other Pirate starter scored one run apiece.

St. Anthony Hogs 5, Minnetonka Millers 4

Right-handers Matt Tappe and Ben Hughes both pitched 12 complete innings Saturday evening.  Tappe threw 180 pitches. Hughes threw 181. When the dust finally settled on Palm Field, Tappe walked away the winner as his St. Anthony Hogs outlasted the Minnetonka Millers 5-4.

The Hogs, tournament hosts, lost the pre-game coin flip and had to play as the visiting team. In the top of the 12th inning, Noah Bluth singled with one out and took second on a Hughes wild pitch. Hughes then managed to fan the Hogs’ clean-up hitter — Jeff Ostruin — for the second out. Bluth scored what would turn out to be the winning run on Jordan Wiggins’ single.

Tappe allowed a one-out single to Joel Thimsen in the bottom of the 12th. Ryan Poppitz put a scare into the Hogs’ fans when he followed with a deep drive to left that Andrew Johnson fielded a step away from the fence for the second out. Tappe then got Paul Voelker swinging and the Hogs could breathe a sigh of relief.

The Hogs struck first in the second inning with a pair of unearned runs. Jeff Ostrom and Wiggins both reached on Millers’ infield errors. Johnson dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move them ahead and Kris Long drove them both in with an opposite-field hit to right.

The Millers cut the lead in half in the fifth with an unearned run of their own. Nick Thimsen reached on an error and went to third on Joel Thimsen’s single to right. Poppitz plated Nick with a sac fly to center.

Bluth’s one-out first pitch homer gave the Hogs a 3-1 lead in the top of the eighth. The Millers scored one on two hits and a Hogs’ error in the bottom of the eighth to make it 3-2. Ryan Ferkinoff singled with one out in the top of the ninth and came around to score on an error. But the Millers wouldn’t say die. Joe Shallenberger hit a two-RBI bleeder to center with two out in the bottom of the ninth to tie it at 4 apiece.

Tappe, a sidewinder, fanned 11 batters while walking only one and hitting one other. He allowed 14 total hits.

Hughes scattered 10 hits. He struck out eight while walking two and hitting one.

The Hogs go up against the St. Louis Park Pirates in the winners’ bracket and the Millers play the Stockmen’s Irish in the losers’ bracket.

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