Kraushar: Bird Island uses extra innings once again to advance

By Eric Kraushar

ScoreMonster Contributor

erickraushar@gmail.com

Photo courtesy of Town Ball Tuesdays

Bird Island needed a state-record 21 innings to advance to the third round of the 99th annual Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament Aug. 28. A game that saw each team strikeout 24 times and neither team score over a 12-inning stretch.

So when the Region 4 champion Bullfrogs were no-hit through 10 innings, yet remained in play, scoreless with Red Wing in the round of 16 Saturday, there was no panic.

Logan Swann, the clean-up hitter in Bird Island’s line-up, 1-for-13 with five strikeouts in the tournament, delivered with a sharp single to center field. Trent Athmann, who reached on a wild pitch on strike three, scored from second base for the Bullfrogs’ 1-0 walk-off win in the bottom of the 13th inning.

WATCH THE GAME-WINNING HIT  

Swann was the only Bird Island position player to not play 21 innings in the Bullfrogs’ state opener. He was forced out after 16 innings with cramps. It was time, he said, to get the game done.

“I had two strikes on me and I was just looking to put the ball in play. I was just trying to not roll it over too much. It wasn’t a great swing, but it was a great result,” Swann said. “I was glad I had the opportunity this time to end it.”

While Bird Island’s first win saw both teams have numerous chances, opportunities were farther in between against Red Wing. The Aces had three early hits but were held to five base runners by Atwater draftee Josh Kingery, who finished with 15 strikeouts in nine innings.

Fellow Chucker draftee Kobe Holtz was equally impressive, not surrendering a hit with two walks and seven strikeouts in a four-inning relief win.

“You start to feel bad because our draftees have thrown the majority of our innings. Josh Kingery has pitched 21 innings, two runs scored, one earned, and we can’t get him a win. He might be the MVP if we get farther in the tournament,” Swann said.

Ben Kuehni took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, replaced with two runners on and two outs by Red Wing teammate Brady Schroeder. The duo combined for 10 strikeouts, allowing two singles and nine walks.

Bird Island’s first hit came in the 11th inning off the bat of Braeden Tersteeg.

“It was one of those games where the wind was blowing in, the ball was hanging up. Anything in the grass – it’s so long because I’m sure with all of the rain last week – it’s just not going. It was just one of those games where not much was happening,” Swann said.

So, what is it like to play in 21- and 13-inning games to advance to state quarterfinal Sunday in the Class C state tournament?

Swann said it was a tough week recovering from the first one. Bird Island manager Mike Nagel was looking ahead minutes after, celebrating with the fans, and making sure the pitchers were ready to get the ball for one, potentially two games, on Sunday.

Bird Island will face 2021 state runner-up Watertown at 11 a.m. on Sunday in Faribault.

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