It proved to be a pretty pleasant afternoon for Plato starting pitcher Adam Prehn Sunday against Waconia in the Region 7C playoffs in New Germany.
His perfect game left him and his Plato Blue Jays teammates preening with pride after a 4-0 victory to secure a spot in the Class C state tournament.
Prehn’s 93-pitch flawless game wasn’t flashy but it was economical and put third-seeded Plato (19-7) back at the state tournament for a chance to secure another state title. Hutchinson knocked the Blue Jays out in the final eight of last year’s state tournament, a year after Plato captured the state title.
Word of Prehn’s perfection spread across social media and even garnered some attention on the airwaves of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
“It’s just crazy how it spread like wildfire,” said the 23-year-old Prehn. “It’s crazy how far it really spread.”
Prehn threw 57 strikes, struck out four and got plenty of help from his defense against the second-seeded Lakers, a Crow River Valley rival, in front of a crowd of 610.
Waconia twice tried to bunt against Prehn to break up the perfect game but one went foul and a heady play from catcher Gabe Roepke thwarted another one as he picked up a bunt attempt that sat in fair territory in the right corner of the batter’s box to throw to first to get the out.
“I felt good throughout the game,” Prehn said. “I had no idea what the situation was until the eighth inning. I had great defense behind me that day, which was great.”
Kyle Panning robbed a home run in the fourth inning as he crashed into the fence and Chris Odegaard recorded the final out of the game with a throw to first on a hard-hit ball to third base.
Prehn, who is 6-1 on the year with a 2.26 ERA in 59 ⅔ innings, hadn’t thrown since July 14 but came into the game feeling rested. He also had won his last three consecutive starts and gone at least seven inning in each, one of which included eight shutout innings June 28 in a 10-0 win over Brownton.
“Adam’s actually had a good history against Waconia,” manager Adam Dammann said. “If you look at all the games he’s pitched against Waconia, 80 percent of them he’s come away with a win.”
Prehn struck out two hitters in the first inning and ended the eighth inning with a strikeout. In between Roepke picked up a drop third strike and fired to first base in the seventh inning to preserve the perfect game bid.
Prehn’s played in big games throughout his career. In American Legion play he helped lead Plato to a state title in 2012 and that team went on to finish third in the regions. But Sunday’s performance was the first time he’d thrown a no-hitter, let alone a perfect game.
“It made it that much better to qualify for state,” Prehn said. “That was a huge moment for us as a team and it was against a good team.”
It came against a Waconia team the Blue Jays beat 2-0 in the regular season but the Lakers beat Plato last season in the Region 7C championship.
Chris Odegaard helped make sure Plato got a chance to get back to that championship game against Waconia with a 4-for-4 performance and three runs. Matt Odegaard knocked in two runs and went 2-for-4. Nolan Lepel and Tyler Lang each added RBI for the Blue Jays, who finished with 10 hits.
Chris Odegaard led off the game with a double and scored on a single from Lepel to put Plato up 1-0.
The Blue Jays added to the lead in the third inning when Joe Nix scored on a single to make it 2-0. Plato capped the scored with a pair of runs in the fifth after Chris Odegaard’s second double of the game brought both runs in.
The win advanced the Blue Jays in the Region 7C tournament to Saturday where they’ll face rival Green Isle at 10 a.m. in New Germany in a replay of the 2015 Class C state championship game.