Minnetonka wins the 2015 Class A State Championship

Posted on Aug. 16, 2015 by Trent Jackson

In a rematch of the 2014 Class A State Championship, Minnetonka came out on the winning end, defeating the defending champion St. Paul Capitals by a score of 5-2 Sunday afternoon at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington.

Minnetonka was consistently ranked No. 1 in the Class A polls throughout the season. They were the champions of the Riverview League and dominated tournaments the whole summer. The Millers were crowned champions of the Dundas Tournament, SPAMtown Challenge, and the Coors Light Classic in Jordan/Shakopee. Minnetonka began the season with a 21-game winning streak, and also finished the season undefeated at home.

The 2014 runner-up Millers came into the tournament as the top team in the state. They didn’t fail to impress, going 4-0 in the tournament with wins over the Minneapolis Angels, Air Freight Unlimited, Minneapolis Cobras, and St. Paul for the championship. The defending champions St. Paul came into the championship game with 30 wins on the season.

In the championship game, the Millers scored five runs off 14 hits. Starting pitcher Don Erdall had a great game on the mound, allowing just two St. Paul runs off five hits in seven innings pitched, earning the tournament MVP.

“I was super nervous going in to the game. It’s a team (St. Paul) that we played last year in the finals. They had seen 250 pitches over three days out of me last year,” said Erdall. “The defense made great plays, heck of a job. We gave up one run in the first, and our dugout is so resilient, they just know how to win a ball game. That instilled a lot of confidence in me to just go out and throw some zeroes.”

St. Paul got off to a good start. In the first inning, the Capitals scored one run off three hits. Logan Busch led off the inning with a line-drive single up the middle, and was then out at second when Zach Gottfredsen reached on a fielder’s choice. Rick Tossey hit another single up the middle, moving Gottfredsen to third. Ryan Abrahamson then followed and hit a bloop single over the second baseman to score Gottfredsen and give St. Paul a 1-0 lead.

After allowing the run in the first inning, Erdall was lights out for Minnetonka. He held St. Paul hitless until the seventh inning, retiring 17 batters in a row.

“We just mixed speeds. It’s a team you can’t throw fastballs by, so you have to spot up and make pitches that they don’t want to see. Connor Olson behind the plate did a hell of a job, blocks everything,” said Erdall.

Minnetonka got the scoring started in the second inning. Mike Davis was hit by a pitch and Zach Trygstad singled before Ryan Poppitz sacrifice bunted them into scoring position. Eric Fasnacht then smoked a triple past the right fielder, scoring Davis and Trygstad. The Millers added another off a single from Connor Olson to give them a 3-1 lead.

The Millers didn’t look back, scoring another two in the sixth. Eric Fasnacht led off the inning with his second hit of the game, roping a single to center. He then moved to second on a passed ball and then moved to third on Olson’s third hit of the game. A texas leaguer to right field by Joe Abellera scored Fasnacht, and then a sacrifice fly by Joe Shallenberger scored Olson, pushing the Minnetonka lead to 5-1.

The Capitals added a run in the seventh to cut the Minnetonka lead to 5-2, but that was enough for the Millers to shut them down.

Casey Jacobson came in to relieve Erdall in the eighth inning. He earned the two-inning save, striking out Luke Barry for the last out of the game, giving the Millers their 12th state championship.

Blaine Rutledge, Mike Davis, Eric Fasnacht, and Connor Olson all had multiple hit games. Davis and Olson both went 3-for-4. Fasnacht had two runs batted in.

Logan Busch and Phil McDermott were the leaders at the plate for St. Paul, both collecting two hits.

Tournament MVP Erdall also spoke about the Millers success: “We had a great mix this year. The pitching staff went very deep, all the guys performed well. Our lineup is very potent. A huge influx of young guys, they were really patient with their at bats and how much they would play, and they helped us at the end, the energy was excellent. I think we went through the tournament and made just one error. The best team that you could play on, it’s unbelievably fun.”

The Millers finished off an unbelievable season with an overall record of 50-4. 

Tournament final scores/information can be found here: 

http://www.mnbaseball.org/News/12156

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