CLASS B ROUNDUP SUNDAY AT DASSEL: Shakopee pulls off stunning comeback to reach title game

By Nick Gerhardt

The cardiac kids did it again with a little veteran help.

Shakopee rallied from three deficits to defeat Cold Spring 11-8 Sunday at Saints Field in Dassel to reach the Class B state championship game for the first time since 2013.

“It’s been really fun,” Indians manager Gary Schleper said. “We were hoping just to get to the tournament this year and get some experience. We weren’t expecting this to happen.”

Most of the Shakopee roster is filled with college-aged players but there are still some veterans on the squad, namely Aaron Olson. 

Olson capped a five-run eighth inning that gave the Indians the lead for good with a bases-loaded double to score three runs. Olson finished 3-for-5 with five RBI to lead Shakopee. He went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI against the Minneapolis Cobras the previous day.

“During the season a lot of the times he doesn’t even play,” Schelper said. “He wasn’t going to be in our lineup for the playoffs. All of a sudden he got hot and hit a couple of walk-off homers in our section playoffs. All of sudden he was back. It’s that quickly you can go from a bench player to the starting lineup.”

Olson won back-to-back state titles with Shakopee in 2009 and 2010. He still swings a big bat in the lineup for the Indians, who rallied from a 5-0 in the opening game of the tournament to beat the Plymouth Hit Dawg 7-5.

Cold Spring led 4-0 after the second inning but Shakopee rallied to tie the game in the sixth inning. Alex Broholm drew a bases-loaded walk and Shakopee got a two-run single from Kolin Williams in the sixth. The Indians went on to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh after two Springers errors and base hits from Steve Boldt and Olson.

Cold Spring took a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the seventh. BJ Huls hit a lead-off single and tagged up on Brian Hansen’s long fly ball to left field to start the rally. Drew Bulson’s double scored Huls to tie the game 6-6 and Brad Olson’s double.

Then Shakopee started a five-run rally when Broholm walked and Williams reached on an error. Jack and Dominick Schleper hit back-to-back singles and Boldt had a sacrifice fly to score a run. Justin Winterfeldt singled to load the bases for Olson.

The Springers came out swinging again against the Indians, opening up a 4-0 lead in the second inning. Cold Spring got a clutch base hit from Drew Van Loy in the sixth inning for the go-ahead run to score Joe Dempsey, who hit a leadoff double.

Van Loy drove in a run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 11-8.

Shakopee faces Air Freight Unlimited for the Class B title tonight.

Air Freight 5, Minnetonka 2

Air Freight Unlimited starting pitcher Graham Laubscher has been unreal this season.

He entered the state tournament without allowing a run and continued that streak to 52 innings before giving up a run to the Minneapolis Angels Aug. 26 in a 4-1 win to reach the quarterfinals.

Laubscher, the former University of St. Thomas star, remained dominant Sunday in a 5-2 win over Minnetonka to send Air Freight Unlimited through to the Class B championship at Saints Field in Dassel. He allowed just three hits, struck out 21 for the second game of the tournament and walked two.

“I’ve just kind of been able to stay comfortable out there and kind of be in attack mentality,” Laubscher said. “I’ve been able to keep the hitters off-balance. I’m mixing in first-pitch fastball, slider, curveball. The most important thing is I’m having fun out there.” 

Laubscher struck out the first 10 batters he faced and set a state tournament record by striking out 55 for the tournament. He allowed just a two-run home run to Millers designated hitter Joe Schallenberger in the sixth inning. Minnetonka tallied its first hit of the game in the fifth inning against Laubscher.

Brian Jenneke with Glencoe held the strikeout record of 54, set in 1998 when the Brewers won the Class C championship. The tournament was double elimination back then.

Air Freight Unlimited gave Laubscher run support right away in the top of the first inning. Kyle Halverson singled with two outs to score Charlie Barthlowomew. After Tommy Cummings singled, Evan Kolker singled to make it 2-0.

Air Freight added a run in the fifth inning when Halvorson got hit by a pitch to start the inning. Cummings doubled and Chandler Schaefbauer singled to score Halvorson.

Barthlowomew added to the lead in the eighth with a two-run shot to left field after Sam Kulsea singled with one out. Barthlowomew finished 3-for-5 with a run and two RBI. Schaefbauer went 3-for-4 with an RBI for Air Freight, which finished with 14 hits.

Last season, Minnetonka defeated Air Freight 11-3 in the consolation bracket of the Class A state tournament and a year before, Air Freight defeated the Millers 7-1 in the second round of the Class A tournament.

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