Kraushar: A 500-mile journey to the ballpark ends in Dumont walk-off win

By Eric Kraushar 

ScoreMonster Contributor

erickraushar@gmail.com

Photo courtesy of Chris Reuvers

The Dumont Saints did something last summer that no team from Region 9 had done since 2014 – win a game in the Class C Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament – defeating Richmond 4-3 in the opening round.

Shutout in its last two state appearances in 2017 and 2019, the Saints weren’t content with just one win in 2021, so they won another. Dumont beat Loretto 6-4 in a Friday night game in Chaska. The team bus pulled back into town after 3 a.m.

The three-plus hour trips chronicled on the team’s Twitter page. Pre-game movie choices featured Field of Dreams, Major League and Moneyball. Post-game victory celebrations were more of the liquid variety.

“It’s a karaoke session. Someone grabs the mic and it’s a big party,” Saints outfielder Carson Maudal said.

Dumont, region champion a year after falling in the third round of the state tournament to eventual Class C champions Sobieski, were back on the road Sunday, Aug. 28, another Kevin Costner baseball classic, Bull Durham, the pre-game film of choice on the charter bus.

Two teammates, though, weren’t on the road. They were high above the skies.

All headed to the same final location, Bell Field in Faribault.

Maudal and Mason Lampe were attending a wedding for former Dumont teammate Curtis Coffman in Watford City, North Dakota on Saturday. By 8 a.m. the next morning, wheels were up, the two Saints were headed to Faribault, among the starting nine for Dumont.

“I was joking around, I mentioned flying back and my buddy, John Brink, his brother, Wolfgang, has a little 4-seater plane and he was like, ‘we could make this work if we wanted to,’” Lampe said.

Lampe had some convincing to do. His parents rode to the wedding on a motorcycle. His fiancé, Mikaela, and 3-year-old son, rode in their truck. So, naturally, the motorcycle was loaded into the truck, their son rode back with grandpa and grandma, and mom and dad were headed to Faribault with Maudal.

John Brink, a groomsman of Lampe’s upcoming wedding, and former high school teammates at Wheaton-Norcross, called on his brother for the pick-up. Wolfgang Brink, a family farmer, younger brother to John, with crop dusting experience, attended the University of North Dakota for aviation, receiving his pilot license. 

Wolfgang took off from the airport in Wheaton, Minnesota, on the western edge of the state, at 4:30 a.m. A two-hour or so flight was extended by another 45 minutes by a storm that forced him to change his flight path into South Dakota.

Maudal recalled seeing the plane for the first time.

“I see it roll up, and both me and (Lampe), we’re on the taller and bigger side, and I am like, ‘how are we going to get four people in that?” he said.

While above the clouds at around 7,000 feet the ride resembled a Sunday drive in a Cadillac, the final descent was a bit uneasy.

“We were like five miles out and it started raining and I couldn’t see the runway. It was pretty bumpy. We were sideways a bit. And then when we’re approaching, there were like 10,000 seagulls in the middle of the runway. Wolfy was a bit worried they might not move,” Lampe said.

The plane landed safely, and a car was waiting to take the players to the field where their gear was brought down with the team. Brink returned to Wheaton before the next line of storms came through.

Dumont was originally scheduled to play at 1:30 p.m., but after morning rain, the schedule was pushed back an hour. That allowed both players to partake in batting practice and after a 4 ½-hour flight, in which Maudal said his “knees and hips weren’t agreeing” with him, getting that extra time was key.

“Halfway there, we found out they had pushed the game back an hour. We were running behind, so to say the stars aligned is an understatement,” Lampe said.

Dumont led Richmond 6-2 through seven innings, but the Royals rallied, scoring twice in the eighth and ninth innings to force extras.

It was in the bottom of the 12th inning when Lampe came up with the potential winning run on base.

“It was the 10th or 11th inning, I had been catching all game, and I’m sitting on the bench and I say, ‘Guys, I’m wiped out. I’m not sure how much more I can play.’ In the 12th, Jordon Roos got on, stuff happened where we got guys on second and third base and I came up. I had struck out twice the other two times I had faced the pitcher. I figured I’d go after the first pitch, and it was a fastball away, and I just went with the pitch and I got good wood on it. I was thinking I have to get it over with. I can’t do it anymore,” Lampe said.

Lampe finished 3-for-7 in the game with three runs batted in. Maudal added two hits with an RBI and a run as well.

“He was the mastermind that got me on the plane. So for him to be the one who got it done, after we had way too many keg beers the night before, it was a special way to win,” Maudal said.

And like true Dumont-style, the ride home, which included a pit stop for a refuel on Busch Lattes, became a karaoke dance party. A rendition of “Closing Time” from Minnesota-own Semisonic as they rolled through the countryside into Dumont around 3 a.m.

Among the Cinderella teams a year ago, Dumont will hit the road again on Friday, the meeting time of 1 p.m., with a goal of advancing through to Sunday’s quarterfinals. The Saints will face Stark, which beat Maple Lake 9-8 and Bemidji 7-3, at 7:30 p.m. in Dundas.

If Lampe and Maudal’s journey shows us anything, it’s never say never for Dumont.

“Baseball is a wildly unpredictable game. You just never know what will happen,” Lampe said.

So, another plane ride?

“No. I wouldn’t mind getting there on four wheels,” Maudal said.

SECOND WEEKEND NOTES

  • Of the 20 teams to advance to the final weekend, 13 were region champions, including Miesville and Blaine in Class B. The second weekend winners? Region 8, which saw Nisswa win in a walk-off, Avon score a 2-1 victory over St. Martin and Buckman, which shutout Luverne 4-0. Webster, the No. 4 seed out of Region 3, is the long shot among the sweet 16 in Class C.
  • As reporter Kip Kovar reported, of 16 Class C games, nine were decided in one-run games, with five needing extra innings for a winner. The 21 innings between Loretto and Bird Island set a new record for longest state tournament game ever. The previous record was 20 innings, set in 2017 (Brooklyn Park 4, Elko 3), 1976 (Cyrus 2, Fairfax 1) and 1971 (Hector 4, Stark 2).
  • The Class B semifinals, originally set for Aug. 28, were pushed back to Friday, Sept. 2, in Miesville. There will be a doubleheader that night beginning at 6 p.m.

GAMES OF THE WEEKEND
1. Bird Island 3, Loretto 2: In a weekend full of intrigue and walk-off wins, it’s hard-to-beat a record-setting 21-inning contest. Here’s one more crazy stat. Of the 18 starters, only four had multi-hit games, with many batters coming to the plate 10 times.
2. Bluffton 4, Hutchinson 3: A pitcher’s duel between Jake Dykhoff and Zach Kueseke, each pitcher surrendering just one run, the Huskies took a 3-1 lead in the 11th inning in an improbable way, as longtime Huskie Adam Katzenmeyer, the No. 9 hitter, belted his first amateur baseball home run. Bluffton came back, aided by an error, to score three runs in a walk-off win.

3. Waconia 9, Fergus Falls 8: A home game for Waconia, a last-minute host after rain derailed Sunday’s original plan, 7-0 and 9-3 leads for the Lakers were never secure. Fergus Falls climbed back within one and nearly tied the game and potentially take a lead in the ninth inning.

ALL-WEEKEND TEAM

Aaron Johnson, Red Wing, 9IP complete game, 2 hits, 10 strikeouts (1-0 win)

Brian Sprout, Miesville, 2-for-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBIs, two runs, HBP

Matt Tautges, Buckman, 9IP complete game, 5 hits, 5 strikeouts (win); 2-for-4, RBI

Joe Lucas, Jordan, 2-for-5, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs

Sam Riola, Champlin, 4-for-6, HR, two doubles, 3 RBIs, three runs

Tyler Steen, Raymond, 4-for-5, double, 2 RBIs

Tate Meiners, Rochester, 3-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBIs, two runs

Matt Meyer, Rochester, 9IP complete game, 6 hits, two runs, 15 strikeouts (win)

Hunter Ranweiler, New Ulm, 3-for-5, 2B, 4 RBIs, run

Chris Bullis, Waconia, 3-for-3, BB, RBI, two runs, SB

Josh Kingery, Bird Island, 12IP, 6 hits, two runs, 13 strikeouts

Alex Geislinger, Cold Spring, 4-for-4, RBI, run

Pat Tschida, Watertown, 2-for-3, 2 BB, two doubles, two runs; 2 ⅓ innings, 4K (save)

Peter Tveite, Webster, 3-for-5, RBI; 8IP, four hits, 0ER, 8K (win)

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Home run tally: first weekend (15), second weekend (18)
  • Joey Werner, Miesville; Brian Sprout, Miesville; Caleb Curry, Avon; Hayden Lanoue, Dundas; Chris Olson, Blaine; Lane Glaser, Hutchinson; Adam Katzenmeyer, Hutchinson; Sam Riola, Champlin; Drake Siens, Champlin; Jayse McLean, Moorhead; Spencer Flaten, Moorhead; Tate Meiners, Rochester; Bo McClintock, Rochester; Drew Block, Rochester; Corey Koskie, Loretto; Cole Schmitz, Richmond; Sam Holthaus, Richmond; Justin Schroeder, Richmond

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