CLASS B AT DELANO: Joey Connelly strikes out 13, Shakopee beats HitDawg 7-5

By Eric Kraushar

MBA Reporter

The Plymouth HitDawg scored in each of the first four innings, leading 5-0, in the opening game of the Class B Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament. The knockout punch, though, never came.

Shakopee, making its 11th state appearance since 2000, the first since 2018, rallied with seven straight runs, advancing to the second round with a 7-5 win on Friday in Delano.

Tom Keohen’s game-tying double pulled the Indians even at five in the fifth inning. A throwing error extended the frame, allowing Shakopee to claim a 6-5 lead.

The bulk of Shakopee’s seven runs came on three outfield sacrifice fly outs and two HitDawg errors. Justin Winterfeldt, who reached base four times, including three singles, started the four-run fifth inning with an RBI-single.

Joey Connelly threw five shutout innings in relief, striking out 13 batters, including the final out on a called third strike, for the win.

Connelly relieved Shakopee starter Vinny Schleper, who was tagged for five runs, one earned, over four innings with nine strikeouts. Vinny and Joey were longtime teammates on the Millers club baseball team. It was the Schlepers that invited Joey to join Shakopee this season.

“They took me in right away,” said Connelly, who graduated from Eden Prairie High School in 2022. “Everyone welcomed me. Everyone on this team is competitive, like me, so it was a natural fit. It’s been great from the start.”

The game was all Plymouth early on, with Parker Mathieson leading off the game with a no-doubter over the right-field scoreboard for a solo home run and 1-0 lead.

The HitDawg added single runs in the second and fourth innings, and two runs in the third inning, all as the result of errors.

When the momentum shifted, it shifted quickly in favor of Shakopee.

“I definitely had a lot of trust in our offense, so when I came into the game I knew we weren’t out of it. I just wanted to do my job, let my team carry us through to victory,” Connelly said. “The momentum shift was insane. I definitely felt more hyped up after we took the lead.”

Jack Schleper (2-for-4, two runs) and Keohen (2-for-4) also had multi-hit games for Shakopee.

Jordan Amundson (3-for-4, RBI) and Tommy Lyman (3-for-4) were offensive leaders for the HitDawg. Jeremy Klick scattered eight hits with five strikeouts, allowing six runs, two earned, in four-plus innings, in the loss.

Shakopee next plays Sunday, Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. against the winner of Stockmen’s Irish and the Moorhead Mudcats.

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