By Nick Gerhardt, Scoremonster contributor
Miesville 9, Chanhassen 5 FINAL Back to Back champs pic.twitter.com/CLJqiiTuyb— MN Baseball Assn (@MinnBaseball) September 4, 2017
Given another chance Miesville didn’t miss.
The Mudhens completed their quest to repeat as Class B state champions behind a 9-5 win at Hamburg over Chanhassen. Miesville forced a winner-take-all championship after beating the Red Birds 5-3 earlier in the day. The Mudhens lost to Chanhassen 5-2 Saturday and needed to beat Moorhead 6-3 Sunday in Green Isle to have a chance at that second consecutive title.
Make no mistake Miesville wanted another shot at the Red Birds following Saturday’s loss, even if it meant having to win twice Monday.
“We were pretty dialed in,” Mudhens manager/pitcher Chris Olean said. “We certainly didn’t like the taste in our mouth after dropping that one to them. Today, we made it a big focus to outplay them but we had a pretty sour taste after Saturday.”
Miesville got after it right away in the second game with a three-run first inning that included five hits. Deryk Marks hit an RBI single to score Matt VanDerBosch, who led off the game with a double to the fence in right. Nate Hammes and Brian Sprout followed with RBI singles to put the Mudhens up 3-0.
“I think that first game against Chanhassen we kind of emotionally got carried away,” Hammes said. “I think that was a big game, both sides were kind of chirping back and forth and we kind of got out of what we’re good at. We usually do like to talk a little bit but we decided we were going to stay with us and we were going to come back and win this thing.”
The Red Birds got a run back in the second inning after Garrett Fischer scored on a double from Gunnar McCarthy to make it 3-1.
Miesville got the run back in the bottom half of the inning when Joey Werner hit a sacrifice fly to score Andrew Werner.
Chanhassen came back again with a run in third after Brandon Arnold reached on an infield single and scored on a sacrifice fly from Zach Hoffmann to make it 4-2. It didn’t get any closer as the Mudhens continued to hit.
Miesville, which finished with 15 hits, put up another run in the bottom of the third and scored two more in the fourth and fifth innings.
Hammes went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run. VanDerBosch was 2-for-4 with two runs and Sprout went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Andrew Werner also went 2-for-2 with two runs.
Marks got the start for the Mudhens and went nine innings, allowed 10 hits, walked none and struck out five.
Thomas Thompson didn’t make it out of the second inning for the Red Birds and gave up three runs on five hits. Shawn Reisgraf came on for three innings and allowed three runs on six hits. John Eischens threw an inning and allowed two runs on four hits.
Chanhassen made it interesting late when it trimmed a seven-run deficit to four with a three-run eighth. Adrian Turner doubled to score Derek Smith and Hoffmann hit a sacrifice fly to score Arnold. Justin Anderson followed with an RBI single to make it a 9-5 game. Turner went 2-for-5 with a run after going 1-for-3 with two runs in the first game.
That’s where it stayed as Marks, in his first start of the season, according to Hammes, closed things out by getting a line out to first base to end the game.
“He’s so intense but in the right way,” Hammes said about the 2016 state tournament MVP. “He just absolutely willed us. He wanted this so bad.”
So did Hammes, who won this year’s tournament MVP honors after hitting .556 with seven RBI and 15 hits.
“I’m more of an end of year guy,” Hammes said. “I get hot at the end of the year. I always know that once the end of the year comes and I start getting up toward 100 at-bats that I’m going to start getting hot. I got back to what I’m good at and that’s spraying the ball all over the field. I wasn’t trying to pull the ball.”
Hammes dropped two hits to right field in the second game and another in the first game. He also reached on a swinging bunt in the first game and later scored.
Coming through the loser’s bracket made things a little tougher this year for Miesville but it also made it a little more special.
“This one, I feel like, means a little more than last year,” said Steve Maher, who started the first game and went eight-plus innings. “We won it last year but to come back and do it back-to-back is very hard to do. A few things had to go right for us. Mentally it was a little more taxing this year. We didn’t quite breeze through it all.”
Cold Spring was the last back-to-back Class B champion when it won titles in 2013 and 2014.
Miesville forces winner-take-all championship game
Miesville rode starter Steve Maher for as long as it could Monday and turned the game over to Chris Olean to preserve a 5-3 victory and set up a winner-take-all championship game against Chanhassen in Hamburg.
Maher threw 160 pitches and gutted through eight-plus innings, exiting with a runner on first and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth after Zach Hoffman hit an RBI single to make it a 5-3 game. Maher proved unpredictable at times, striking out nine and walking eight, but ultimately he was effective.
“It’s fine now but tomorrow is going to be a different story,” Maher said. “Last game of the year, you know it’s going to be the last time out there. Just keep throwing until the come get it from you.”
Maher got lifted in the third inning Saturday against the Red Birds after giving up three runs on four hits. Part of pulling him early in that game was to have him available Monday if Miesville got there.
“It just wasn’t coming out of his hand real good,” Olean said of Maher’s start Saturday. “A lot of times coaches make the mistake of just trying to force it. If it’s not there, we had time to get him out. It was early enough we could bounce him back. So we just flipped it. It was just a calculated risk. It didn’t look like it was his day and he didn’t throw enough where we were worried about throwing him today so it worked out.”
The Red Birds stranded 12 runners and left the bases loaded twice. Eight of those runners were left in scoring position.
The Mudhens seemed determined to force a second game from the start and got on the board in the second inning when Pat Kelly scored on fielder’s choice for a 1-0 lead.
Miesville made it 2-0 in the next inning when Nate Hammes hit an RBI single to score Joey Werner, who led off the inning with a walk.
The Mudhens led 2-0 until the fifth inning when Chanhassen finally brought in some runners in scoring position. Shawn Reisgraf singled to score Adrian Turner, who led off the inning with a walk. Two batters later Garrett Fischer drove in Hoffman with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Miesville responded in the sixth inning as Nos. 8-9 hitters Andrew Werner and Austin Murr collected base hits. Werner led off with a single and Murr followed with a double. An error at second allowed both runs to score to give the Mudhens a 4-2 lead.
Miesville went on to add an important insurance run in the top of the ninth when Sebastian Holte-Mancera singled in Hammes, who led off the inning with an infield single. Hammes finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and the Mudhens had 12 hits in the game.
Deryk Marks went 2-for-5 while Murr finished 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Brian Sprout also had two hits.
Miles Nablo went eight innings and scattered 10 hits. He allowed four runs, walked two and struck out four in the loss. Jacob Goraczkowski threw the ninth and allowed a run on two hits with one strikeout.
Hoffman finished 3-for-5 with a run, double and RBI for the Red Birds, who had five hits in the game. Adrian Turner had a double in the ninth and Reisgraf provided the other hit for Chanhassen.
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
Logan Spitzack, Chanhassen
Adrian Turner, Chanhassen
Justin Anderson, Chanhassen
Zach Hoffmann, Chanhassen
Dylan Peterson, Chaska
Charlie Ruud, Dundas
Nate Hammes, Miesville
Steve Maher, Miesville
Jacob Dickmeyer, Miesville
Deryk Marks, Miesville
Joey Werner, Miesville
Chris Coste, Moorhead
Tanner Dahl, Moorhead
Aldon Severson, Northfield
Jake Mathison, Northfield