CLASS C SATURDAY ROUNDUP AT DASSEL: Bird Island rides Kingery past Waconia

By Kip Kovar

DASSEL – The Crow River Valley League has been a thorn in the side of Mike Nagel’s Bird Island Bullfrogs for the past handful of years. This time around, it was his squad that was able to overcome the Waconia Lakers as the Bullfrogs put together an impressive showing in a 4-2 win to advance to the Class C state quarterfinals. 

“This was the game we needed,” Nagel said. “I’m not going to lie, Waconia can swing it. You saw it in the ninth inning. It can get tight in a hurry. They don’t win the Crow by accident. In my opinion, from top to bottom, that’s the toughest league. I knew they were going to be a tough out. We got up on them and our guys got some confidence early.”

In each of the past three seasons, the Bullfrogs have had their season come to an end at the hands of a CRVL team. Just a year ago, the Watertown Red Devils knocked off Bird Island in the quarterfinals. In 2021, the Carver Black Sox took care of business in the opening round.  Back in 2020, it was Young America who came out on top in the quarterfinals. This time was different for Bird Island.

With Atwater draftee Josh Kingery on the mound, the Bullfrogs took control of the game early on in the win 

Kingery might be a draftee but he seemed right at home with the Bird Island Bullfrogs. For the third time in four years, he found himself as the go-to pitcher for Bird Island and he came through with another impressive performance to send the Bullfrogs to the state quarterfinals. 

For the game, Kingery went all nine innings allowing just two runs off six hits while striking out 10. In his nine innings of work, he sent down the Lakers in order in six of them.

Offensively, Bird Island got contributions from all over the lineup. The Bullfrogs had seven players with at least one hit in the win while all four runs were scored by four different players.

“We don’t have anybody who has hit double-digit home runs,” Nagel said. “That’s not what we do. We use our speed and play small ball. I think we have a great defense so you throw strikes and play defense and hope you can score a few runs.”

With the win, Bird Island advances to the state quarterfinals where it’ll face off against St. Martin. 

“We have a really good team chemistry,” Nagel said. “These guys love each other. That’s the beauty of townball. We’re all local guys. It’s our local team and it’s just fun to see them keep developing and getting better. We got a stable of horses. We’re going to lean on our guys now and they’ll be up to the task. We just gotta keep hitting.”

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