CLASS B ROUNDUP SUNDAY AT WACONIA: Minneapolis Angels, Cobras and Baseball 365 advance

By Bill Nelson

Photo via Justin Braun Images

In the surprise of the Class B tournament, the Minneapolis Angels broke open a tightly contested game with the 2022 Class B runner-up, scoring two runs in the seventh inning and six runs in the eighth. They scored two more in the ninth to cap off an 11-2 win.  

Champlin Park started out like a house a fire. Sam Riola threw a 1-2-3 first inning. 

LoGators left fielder Andrew Hanson walked to start the bottom of the first and stole second and third on the first two pitches. Adam Puder singled but Hanson couldn’t advance, but Ethan Mocchi knocked Hanson in with a grounder to short. Riola hit a long double to center field, scoring Puder. That was the end of the LoGators scoring. But they held on to a 2-1 lead until the seventh inning.  

In the seventh, the wheels came off for the LoGators. It started off with two quick outs for Riola.  Then Max Krebs singled, Danny Miller walked and Taylor Brenstad hit a liner off the right fielder’s glove, scoring Krebs and Miller putting the Angels up 3-2.

After holding Champlin Park in the bottom, the Angels came back with six more runs in the eighth. With one out Owen Dauk singled, Brady Johnson singled, Tyler Johnson reached on catcher’s interference, Tim Kohlman was hit by a pitch, scoring a run and Jay Asmus singled in another run.  

That was it for Riola. He pitched seven and two thirds innings giving up eight runs, seven earned, nine hits, three walks and 11 strikeouts. Lefty Charlie Hutchinson came in to face lefty Taylor Brenstad. Brenstad greeted him with three-run homer over the right field fence making it 9-2. The Angels scored two more runs in the ninth to make the final 11-2.  

Matt Schuld pitched a superb complete game for the Angels on 95 pitches. He gave up two runs to the first two batters of the game and settled down after that. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out six. He threw 27 of 31 first-pitch strikes. He and Taylor Brenstad, who had six RBI were the co-players of the game.  

“It was a good battle all the way through,” Schuld said. “We were just grinding away and staying in it. These guys kept battling until the end and finally strung a few hits together in the seventh and made it happen.” 

When told that he threw 27 of 31 first pitch strikes he said, “My stuff’s not good enough to pitch from behind so I have to get ahead.”

“These games are fun.  We’ve had trouble the last couple of years — we get walked off,” Brenstad said. “It’s fun to turn down with the bats and get some runs and give our pitcher some help. Sam Riola is a good pitcher. I usually do this every at-bat, but I look for one good one to hit right away and got one and luckily he didn’t catch it. It was close.” 

Champlin Park brought in a lefty to face him and he hit his home run.  

“That was a lefty and I’m not very good against lefties so I’m going to just have to thank the Big Man for helping me with that one,” Brenstad said. 

It was a good day for the Angels.  

Minneapolis Cobras 5, Coon Rapids 3

In a tight game that the Cobras led most of the time, it all came down to a ninth inning pop-up just to the first base dugout side of first base.  

Coon Rapids player Jack Arndt was called on to pinch hit with two outs, bases loaded and trailing 5-3. He popped the ball toward the dugout and the Coon Rapids base coach leaned down and put his hands over his head to protect himself. The Cobras first baseman bumped into the coach and the ball dropped. The umpires called interference and the game was over.  

The Cobras started the scoring in the top of the second. Mason Reinhart hit a bouncer that the pitcher could have caught but it went over his head for a hit. That was followed immediately by two errors, one by the third baseman and one by the pitcher, loading the bases.  

Morgan Holmes hit a sac fly to center scoring Reinhart with Jordan Kozicky going to third.  Greg Carpenter stole second and the catcher threw the ball into center field, scoring Kozicky.  

Coon Rapids tied the game in the bottom of the third on RBIs by Jake Paulson and Scott Jussila.  

In the fourth inning, the Cobras scored two more on a two-run double by the No.8-hitter Ryan McGee.  

Coon Rapids made it 4-3 in the fourth when Tanner Stein got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.  

The Cobras scored their final run in the seventh inning. Reinhart singled and came home on a single by Ryan McGie. It was his third RBI of the game and earned him Player of the Game honors.  

Blake Williams got the win, going the last 4 2/4. He was in a lot of trouble, but worked his way out each time.  

“My arm felt a lot better today than I thought it was going to,” Williams said. “But my legs started giving out at the end there. I was in a couple of spots, but I just had to keep battling, throwing strikes and let them get themselves out.” 

Jeff Lindstrom, longtime coach of the Coon Rapids team, agreed with the final call and thought it was an unfortunate way to end the ball game. 

“We left 14 or 16 guys on base,” he said. “We can’t do that. We would still be even if we didn’t have a Little League second inning. Three errors, three guys on base nobody out and the ball never traveled a hundred feet.  

“Next year will be our 20th year … we won 12 of the last 16 coming in and seven in a row. I like the tournament, I knew it was coming to this (A and B together) and there will still have to be some changes. Pretty good baseball.” 

Baseball 365 6, Andover 2

Noah Danner started his day by yielding a run in the first inning for Baseball 365. After that he settled down and gave up only one unearned run the rest of the way. He pitched eight innings, striking out 13 Aces, giving up six hits and no walks with one earned run.  

Baseball 365 answered back in the bottom of the first. Conor O’Brien hit the first pitch he saw for a double. Wyatt Rogers then hit the first triple of the 2023 tournament, scoring O’Brien. Wyatt scored on his brother Walker’s sac fly to right making it 2-1.  

Wyatt also hit what looked like a double in the third but pulled up just before first with a hamstring injury.  

“I was doing really good before I got hurt,” Wyatt said. ”I just heard a pop and I went down. It hurt bad, I scared myself, but it’s better now. I should be ready to go next week.”  

In the fourth, Angelo Pacyga led off with his own triple and scored on a wild pitch. In the sixth inning, Baseball 365 scored two more runs, scoring both CJ Smith and Pacyga. Nate Belen capped it off for Baseball 365 with a home run to left field on the first pitch of the seventh inning.  

“I played high school ball at Woodbury High School, said Danner.  “I didn’t play any ball in my college years,” he said.  

That was five years from 2012 to 2017 in North Dakota. When he got back to the Twin Cities he pitched in a Sunday league for two years. Then he got hooked up with Baseball 365.  

“I was feeling real good out there and it just took an inning to get used to the mound, figure out where I’m at and get some good push off with my legs and be able to hum strikes,” he said flashing a big smile.  

He had no walks.  

“That’s something my dad always harps on, don’t give any free passes,” he said. 

Danner sure didn’t give anything for free against the Andover Aces.

Check out additional content below