State Tourney Blog: First Weekend Game Recaps

–by Brett Kruschke & Loren Muraca               FIRST AND THIRD PHOTO CREDIT: @rkuersch

Editor’s note: for many more details, including photos and videos, scroll the MBA Twitter feed.

FIRST WEEKEND PHOTO GALLERY

FRIDAY, AUGUST 19

Raymond Rockets 9, Delano A’s 6 @ Dassel (7:30 pm)

The Raymond Rockets blasted out of the gate Friday night, taking a 9-0 lead after three innings against Delano. But you never know in baseball.

The A’s responded with five runs in the fourth, then another in the fifth. They brought the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth, but that’s where it ended and Raymond moves on.

Raymond’s John Sawatzky had a perfect night at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, three RBI and a walk. First baseman Kyle Knott also drove in three runs on a pair of hits, including a double. Center fielder Kevin Jaunich was the only Delano player with multiple hits. 

Winsted Wildcats 6, Roseau Royals 0 @ Litchfield (7:30 pm)

A long day for the Roseau Wildcats started off with a six-hour drive to Litchfield, then got longer as they drew Winsted ace Tony Kley. The MVP of last year’s Class C state tourney went 7 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts, while also going 4-for-5 as Winsted’s leadoff hitter. Three-stick Joe Kley aided the cause with a 3-for-5 performance and a pair of RBI.

Roseau’s starting pitcher, TJ Erickson had some nerves in the beginning but settled in nicely, throwing six innings while giving up two earned runs. He could have lasted a lot longer, but the defense behind him coughed up three early errors. Shortstop Kenny Hayden collected three of Roseau’s six hits. 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 20 

Regal Eagles 4, Shakopee Coyotes 2 @ Dassel (11 am – 12 innings)

Nathan Meyer had a great day Saturday – and that’s before he hit a game-winning, two-run, walk-off home run to lift the Regal Eagles to an opening-round victory. Meyer finished 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, three RBI and yes – his dazzle-ing shot to left-center field.

Both starting pitchers put in a solid day’s work – Alex Johnson for the Coyotes, and Chris Beier for the Eagles. Meyer paced the game with four hits, while Shakopee’s Logan Becker and Regal’s Blake Karsh both collected three.

Minnesota Lake Royals 5, Chokio Coyotes 2 @ Brownton (11 am)

The Minnesota Lake Royals played a solid all-around game, belting out 13 hits, and buoyed by a stingy complete-game effort from pitcher TJ Nowak. The right-hander held a shutout until the eighth inning and allowed just six hits and a walk while punching out 10 Coyotes. Chokio contributed to their demise with four fielding errors.

Minnesota Lake’s Jeff Cole swung the big bat for the game, finishing 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI – one of four Royals with multiple hits. Chokio’s Alex Erickson and Tom Holland joined the multi-hit parade.

Blaine Fusion 16, Duluth Xpress 4 @ Litchfield (11 am – 7 innings)

Duluth took a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the third but from there it was a Blaine bludgeoning, with the Fusion scoring multiple runs in each inning the rest of the way – including an eight-spot in the fourth. And as is often the case for teams that lose in the tournament, the Xpress had three errors to none for the Fusion.

Blaine’s Corey LaPlante and Ben Danielson turned Litchfield’s Optimist Park into a wiffleball field, each going 4-for-5 with four RBI. Wes Anderson and Jake Casareto both posted multi-hit efforts for the Xpress.

Foley Lumberjacks 6, Farming 4 @ Brownton (1:30 pm)

Farming trailed 2-0 after six innings but struck twice in the seventh and eighth for a 4-3 lead with six outs to go. Foley responded with a three-spot in the eighth to pin the loss on Farming starter Brad Mergen, then turned it over to Rum River’s Tyler Kronstedt for the three-out save.

Jacks’ leadoff hitter Noah “Babe” Winkelman paced the winning attack with three hits, while the ageless Mike Beier was the only other member of the Foley lineup with multiple knocks. For Farming’s leadoff hitter also tallied three hits in the form of Mitchell Thielen, while Aaron Nett and Taylor Fourre had a pair.

Lastrup Lakers 13, Detroit Lakes Angels 0 @ Dassel (1:30 pm – 7 innings)

Scoreless after two frames, Lastrup started their attack in the third and poured it on heavier as they went. Not much noise was made by the Angels as they totaled just three base runners – one via a Connor McLeod single and the other two by an error and hit batsman.

That’s a credit, of course, to Lakers’ starter Chad Weiss who was Maddux-like in his efficiency. Weiss also delivered with the war stick, going 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBI from the leadoff spot. Paul Herman joined Weiss in the three-hit club, one of six Lakers with multiple hits.

Beaudreau’s Saints 16, Coon Rapids Redbirds 5 @ Litchfield (1:30 pm – 8 innings)

Beaudreau’s Saints stormed out of the gate and coasted to victory, much to the delight of their supportive hootin’ and hollerin’ crowd. The Saints led 11-0 before Coon Rapids answered with four in the third, but by then the damage had already been done.

The question isn’t who hit for Beaudreau’s, but who didn’t. It was a balanced attack, with three players (Nick Maiers, Steven Neutzling and Jason Kotschevar) posting three safeties while the Nos. 2 through 7 hitters all drove in two runs or more.

St. Martin Martins 4, Montgomery Mallards 3 @ Dassel (5 pm)

The fans’ eyes were glued to the field right from the get-go as Montgomery’s left fielder Tom Flicek did a full lay-out, diving catch for the first out of the game. The Mallards took their only lead of the day in the sixth at 3-2, but the Martins answered with a pair in the seventh and hung on for the win.

St. Martin’s Ben Schroeder and Montgomery’s Johnny Krocak both posted quality starts. Kyle Lieser and Bryan Schlangen did their job at the top of the order, both rapping out a pair of hits. Pat Lloyd was the only Mallard with two hits, as they spread theirs out through the order.

Brownton Bruins 3, Jordan Brewers 1 @ Brownton (5 pm)

The Brownton Bruins took a 3-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth, but they knew that Jordan’s veterans wouldn’t go quietly. Indeed, the Brewers awoke for a run in the eighth and loaded the bases in the ninth with just one out, but Ryan Grams worked out of his own jam to notch the save for starter Dylan McCormick.

McCormick yielded only four hits and two walks while fanning six. Mitch Bockenstedt started and took the loss during five frames for Jordan, with Scott Hollingsworth and Trent Bohnsack each working a pair of relief innings.

Grams and Jason Rosenau both went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Brownton, while no Brewer had multiple hits.  

Shakopee Indians 10, Forest Lake Brewers 6 @ Litchfield (5 pm)

The Forest Lake Brewers had Shakopee on the ropes, but a six-run Indian uprising in the eighth salted away the first-round victory. In the deciding eighth, the big blow was a three-run double from No. 3 hitter Steve Boldt.

Shakopee pitcher Aaron Johnson has had better days, departing with an injury after yielding six earned runs and five walks over 5.2 innings. Familiar face Chris Rupert was stellar in relief, throwing shutout ball the rest of the way to pick up the win.

Kyle Young and Mike Schultz led the Brewers’ offensive campaign, both garnering two hits and an RBI.

Sobieski Skis 8, Worthington Cubs 0 @ Brownton (7:30 pm)

It took until mid-game for the Sobieski offense to get going, but pitcher Tyler Jendro was locked in from the start. The 2014 Class C MVP carried a no-hitter until there were two outs in the sixth, and he worked eight scoreless innings with nine K’s while allowing just two hits and a walk.

Sobieski’s Collin Eckman led all hitters with three safeties, while Scott Litchy drove in a pair on two hits. Adam Munkel and Lucas Henning had the only knocks for Worthington. 

Maple Lake Lakers 6, St. Peter Saints 0 @ Dassel (7:30 pm)

Maple Lake used a steady offensive attack and rode the mighty wing of 2012 Class C state tournament MVP Jeremy Schmidt in a clamp-down of the St. Peter Saints. Schmidt allowed just two hits and no walks while sitting down eight in the complete-game effort, and he didn’t yield a hit until Jason Kapsner’s seventh-inning single.

The Lakers’ defense was locked in, with shortstop Luke Fobbe making two top-ten, backhanded putouts deep in the hole. Chad Raiche led all hitters with a 3-for-5, three RBI performance that included a pair of doubles. The Saints’ other hit was a double from Jovan Rodriguez.  

Austin Greyhounds 3, Cold Spring Springers 2 @ Litchfield (7:30 pm – 11 innings)

Cold Spring spotted legendary starter Zach Femrite a 2-0 lead in the first and with nine state titles and 54 state tournament appearances to their credit, the order was tall for the Greyhounds. The Springers went down with their war horse, however, as the Greyhounds scored one in the ninth to tie the game and one in the 11th before holding on for victory.

Femrite went the distance, allowing nine hits and five walks while punching out a dozen. Austin went with a tandem approach, getting 5.2 frames from Nels Nelson and 5.1 from winner Logan Spitzak.

Matt Raso and Daniel Bollingberg collected two hits apiece and drove in a run for Austin. Drew VanLoy drove in both of Cold Spring’s runs – one of four Springers with two hits. 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 21

Chaska Cubs 4, Rochester Royals 0 @ Litchfield (11 am)

Chaska’s Pete Ohnsorg and Rochester’s Matt Meyer locked horns in a pitcher’s duel, with Meyer carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning. In the eighth, it seemed as if the Cubs began to gain confidence and they finally broke through with four runs. The Royals collected nine hits off Ohnsorg but couldn’t put them together.

The Cubs struck out 13 times – 11 by Meyer – and tallied just six hits, with no player having more than one. Matt Stubbs and Jake Halverson both punched a pair of singles for the Royals.

Fort Ripley Rebels 15, Stewartville-Racine Sharks 2 @ Dassel (12 pm – 7 innings)

Stewartville-Racine didn’t hit, didn’t pitch and didn’t field on Sunday against the Fort Ripley Rebels. “That was our worst game of the year,” said Sharks general manager Andy Johnson. Despite six fielding errors, only four hits and a pair of pitchers that both yielded seven earned runs, that’s not to take anything away from the assault that Fort Ripley launched from the outset.

The Rebels’ No. 3 hitter, Rhett Williamson, launched one of the tournament’s only home runs thus far and finished 2-for-3 with five RBI and three runs scored. Nick Jelacie went 3-for-4 with four runs scored, and Brian Skluzacek makes the notables with a mere 3-for-5, two RBI performance. 

Blue Earth Pirates 6, St. Joseph 0 @ Brownton (12 pm)

This game was much closer than the final linescore indicates, as it was a 1-0 contest until the Pirates broke it open with a five-run eighth. Blue Earth starting pitcher Aaron Wendt was masterful, tossing a five-hit shutout with nine strikeouts. He didn’t walk a soul, nor allow an extra-base hit.

The Pirates played like a team that has made 14 consecutive state tournaments – which they have – waiting on the offense to finally deliver. TJ Schmidtke, Brandyn Olsen and John Franta all delivered multiple hits in the winning cause. St. Joseph’s Ethan Carlson collected two of the Joes’ safeties.

Miesville Mudhens 13, Monticello Polecats 3 @ Litchfield (1:30 pm – 8 innings)

The Polecats started off the top of the first by scoring a run on a double from first basemen Greg Holker. Matt Van Der Bosch, Miesville’s center fielder, answered with a more powerful counter-punch by skying a three-run shot over the right-center field fence. From there on, the Mudhens ran away with it behind a workman-like effort from starting pitcher Jacob Dickmeyer.

Miesville second basemen Brian Sprout had himself a day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two RBI. It was a shortened game as the Mudhens 10-runned the Polecats, who hurt their cause by committing five fielding errors. Keenan Macek slugged a home run for the Polecats and teammate Tanner Eckhart posted two hits.

Loretto 3, Hanska Lakers 2 @ Dassel (2:30 pm)

Most of the action came late in this low-scoring affair, and the excitement built to a crescendo right up until the game’s final pitch. Known notables in attendance included former Minnesota Twin and town baller Terry Steinbach, whose son Jake played right field for the Larks.

Both starters showed well: Loretto’s Colton Petron went 8.2 frames and allowed just two runs and a walk, while side-slinger Dayton Larson of Hanska allowed only a run and six hits over seven. The Lakers had a chance in the ninth but the tying run died at second base on a groundout to second, with Dassel draftee Jordan Danielson recording the final out. 

Cold Spring Rockies 8, Pelican Rapids Lakers 7 @ Brownton (2:30 pm – 12 innings)

This ballgame reinforced Yogi Berra’s expression, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” as it looked like a snoozer at stretch time with the Rockies holding a 6-0 lead. Pel Rapids awoke with a three-spot in the seventh and after Cold Spring tabbed on another in the eighth, the Lakers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth to send it to extras.

With Cold Spring’s more well-known Class B team, the Springers, already out of the tournament, the pressure was on the Rocks to uphold their hometown pride. The Rockies pieced the winning run together in the top of the 12th, with Mason Ruegemer scoring on an errant throw.

Cold Spring made a draftee sandwich, with their Ryan Hennen and Trevor Lardy combining for 10 scoress innings in-between Luxemburg draftee Sam Iten giving up seven earned runs in just two frames. Pelican Rapids’ Adam Johnson had a monster day, going 3-for-6 with a double, a home run and five RBI.

Moorhead Brewers 14, Champlin Logators 2 @ Litchfield (5 pm – 7 innings)

The Champlin Logators were playing in their first-ever state tournament and looked like it, putting up just two hits (both singles) and six errors in a shortened-affair against last year’s Class B runner-up, the Moorhead Brewers. The most memorable play of the game was a defensive gem by Moorhead’s Tom Fuchs, who robbed a home run by flicking the ball back into the playing field with his glove hand to catch it with his bare hand.

Brewers’ starting pitcher Dylan Deavy had two streaks snapped at once when Champlin’s Ethan Mocchi delivered a two-run single in the sixth: gone not only was Deavy’s no-hitter but his consecutive scoreless streak of 46 innings. Moorhead DH Landon Uetz reached base in all four plate appearances and so the Brewers pinch-hit for him, only to have Chris Clemenson sock a three-run, walk-off bomb (incurring the 10-run rule).

Plato Bluejays 11, Springfield Tigers 1 @ Dassel (5 pm – 7 innings)

The defending Class C champs unleashed an early offensive assault that had Springfield mothers covering the eyes of their youth, lest they wake up years later to flashbacks. And at such a nice ballpark, too.

The day belonged to Plato’s Chris Odegaard, who worked five sharp innings before turning it over to Green Isle draftee Lucas Herd. Offensively, Odegaard launched a pair of doubles among his three hits and drove in five. Teammate Tyler Lang also doubled and went 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Springfield starting pitcher Shawn Anderson was cuffed around, allowing seven runs (two earned) and seven hits while recording just five outs. The Tigers’ Alex Fink enjoyed a perfect day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with an RBI sac fly.

Milroy Irish 4, St. Benedict Saints 3 @ Brownton ( 5pm)

The Saints led 3-0 after three innings but didn’t score again, as their momentum was put to a halt by Matt Lytle. The draftee from Fairmont started the fourth in relief of Cody Mather and finishing with six shutout innings, only three total runners on the base paths.

The Irish broke through in the sixth inning with three runs, tying the score. They picked up the winner in the eighth when Milroy baserunner Anthony Dolan broke for third base on a pitch in the dirt, scoring when St. Benedict catcher Johnny Dittmann’s throw went into left field – one of three errors committed by the Saints.

St. Michael Saints 3, Dundas Dukes 1 @ Litchfield (7:30 pm)

There will be no back-to-back state championships for the Dundas Dukes as they fell to the St. Michael Saints on Sunday night, 3-1. It was a nail biter right to the end, as the Saints took a 1-0 lead in the third. The Dukes tied it up with a Nathan Van Roekel RBI single in the fifth, but the Saints answered right back in the home half of the fifth with a pair of runs that concluded the evening’s scoring.

The last time these two teams met in the playoffs, the Dukes pulled off a miraculous, seven-run ninth-inning en route to winning last year’s Class B state title. This time around the Saints stayed away from their bullpen and let starter Scott Lieser finish what he started, going the distance while allowing just four hits while posting nine strikeouts.

CLASS B BRACKET  |  CLASS C BRACKET

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