Class A state tournament: Three shutouts and a slugfest Sunday at Palm Field

By Mike Marsnik

ScoreMonster Contributor

Minnetonka Millers 4, Stockmen’s Irish 0

Sam Schlecht limited the Stockmen’s Irish to eight hits as the Minnetonka Millers eliminated the Irish in a 4-0 victory Sunday The Millers face Air Freight Unlimited at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.

Minnetonka scored single runs in the first and seventh innings, then tacked on two in the eighth, which was more than Schlecht needed to secure the victory.

Blaine Rutledge led off the bottom of the first and coaxed a walk from Irish starter Ryan Duffy. Cleanup hitter Jack Hanson plated Rutledge on a opposite field shot to right. The score remained 1-0 until the seventh when the Millers struck once more. Andy Andreson led off the inning with a blooper to right center. Paul Voelker followed with an infield hit, Andersen moving to third. Max Pederson launched a fly ball to right field and Andreson tagged up. First baseman Bryce Hingst cut off the throw to the plate from right fielder Eric Olheiser and caught Voelker trying to advance with a throw to shortstop Joe Silversmith who slapped the tag on him. But Andersen scored on the sac fly to give the Millers a two-run lead.

Brian Knight gave the Irish some hope as he pulled a single to right to open the top of the eighth. However, Schlecht then retired the final six batters to complete the shutout. The Millers added two more runs on two hits and three walks from Duffy, who had not walked a batter to that point.

Duffy struck out six, walked three and picked off one runner, throwing 124 pitches in his eight-inning stint. He battled and kept his team in the game, but though they banged out eight hits the Irish were not able to find their way home against Schlecht. He pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the second, inducing a 6-4-3 double play. He also benefitted from a DP to end the first and induced a ground out with runners at first and third and two out in the sixth. He struck out the Irish’s Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters in the third and finished the game with six Ks.

Designated hitter Joe Schallenberger had two hits in three at-bats and a walk for the victorious Millers. Knight and Silversmith also had two-hit games for the Irish, who now look forward to next season.

Baseball 365 9, Air Freight Unlimited 0

Noah Danner tossed a two-hit complete game shutout Sunday afternoon leading Baseball 365 to a 9-0 victory. Danner set down the first nine Air Freight Unlimited hitters before Jack Koch singled to center in the fourth, spoiling the perfect game.

Nate Pearce led off the fifth for the Air Freight nine with a knock to right. Only one other batter reached base off Danner. That would be Kyle Halvorsen, who reached on an error in the seventh.

The Baseball 365 squad put the game out of reach in the third, sandwiching four runs between a pair of outs, then smacking seven straight two-out hits. By the end of the half-inning they had a 9-0 lead.

J.T. Engeswick took over for starter Jack Schweitz with two out in the third inning and kept the opponents off the board the rest of the way, averting the threat of an early finish by the 10-run rule. In 6 1/3 innings he allowed one hit and three walks while fanning five.

Danner’s line: 9 IP, 0R, 0ER, 8K. He threw 67 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

Sam Kulesa, 365’s third baseman and 3-hole batter, led all hitters with a double, two singles and a walk. Mark Fenstad and Jake Porter both drove in a pair. Porter, Jack Priam and Nate Behlen all hit doubles as well.

Baseball 365 will take on the St. Louis Park Pirates, the only other unbeaten team, under the lights on Saturday (7 p.m. first pitch). Air Freight Unlimited will face the Minnetonka Millers in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Minneapolis Cobras 17, Highland Park Beavers 4 (7 inn.)

The Minneapolis Cobras batted around twice in a 17-4 win over the Highland Park Beavers on Sunday morning. The Cobras banged out 22 hits in the seven-inning affair, including four home runs and three doubles. They had managed only two runs on five hits in their 3-2 loss to Air Freight Unlimited the day before.

Starter Derek Mason exited with one out in the top of the third, his team trailing 4-2. Righty Danny Smith pitched 3-1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win. Isaac Harrill toed the rubber in the seventh for the Cobras, issuing one walk but retiring the other three he faced.

The Cobras scored nine runs in the third inning, sending 13 batters to the dish. They sent another 10 in the fifth, plating five more on seven hits.

Mason Reinhart, Jordan Kozicky, Brandon Schmahl, and Ryan McGie all homered for the Cobras. The Beavers used four pitchers, none of whom could thwart the lethal Cobra attack.

While the Beavers look forward to next baseball season, the Cobras continue their run with a 10 a.m. game against the tournament host St. Anthony Hogs on Saturday.

St. Louis Park Pirates 4, St. Anthony Hogs 0

Right-hander Andy Davis blanked the tournament host St. Anthony Hogs under the lights Sunday, leading the St. Louis Park Pirates a 3-0 victory. He threw 100 pitches, 80 of them for strikes, while fanning 11 and issuing no free passes.

The Hogs managed only four singles off Davis who was never really in any trouble. The closest he came to a high-pressure situation was by virtue of two infield errors behind him in the first inning. With two on and two out, he induced a pop-up from Hogs’ lefty first baseman Ryan Bernardy.

Jordan Wiggins was the only other Hogs batter to reach second base. He singled to lead off the second and advanced on a ground-out to first baseman Adam Seaman.

Austin Ledin led off the bottom of the third for the Pirates with a double to the right field gap. One out later Brady Burzynski singled him home with the first run of the game.

The Pirates manufactured two more runs in the fifth on two hits, a Hogs error and a hit batter. Donald Blunt homered in the sixth to cap the scoring.

Bennett Wiggins pitched seven innings for the Hogs. He pitched out of jams in the second, fourth and seventh innings to keep his team within striking distance. He threw 103 pitches, 76 for strikes, as he scattered 11 hits. Reliever Sullivan Jahnke survived a bases loaded, one-out jam of his own making in the eighth when shortstop Jeff Ostrom made an over the shoulder catch while sprinting into center field. He had walked the Pirates Nos. 8 and 9 hitters.

Blunt doubled, grounded into a round-the horn double play, and singled in addition to his round-tripper. Jimmy Heck was also 3-for-4 for the Pirates, including an RBI double in the fifth.

The Hogs must now face the red-hot Minneapolis Cobras in a 10 a.m. game on Saturday.  The Cobras recorded 22 hits in their seven-inning 17-4 victory earlier in the day.

The Pirates take on also-undefeated Baseball 365 under the lights on Saturday, the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. at Palm Field.

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