By Mike Marsnik
Noah Danner pitched a complete-game four-hit shutout Sunday morning at Palm Field in St. Anthony Village for Baseball 365 who topped the Bloomington Bandits 3-0 in the opening round of the 16-team single-elimination tournament.
Danner said he had success with his slider in the early innings, but found his change-up to be his most effective pitch in the later innings. Add to that his fastball and curve and you have a formula for pitching success. He struck out 12 while allowing only four singles and three walks. He threw a total of 122 pitches.
The game was scoreless through three innings as Bandits starter Nick Seidel pitched out of jams in the second and third frames. He surrendered two runs in the fourth inning (one earned) and one more in the seventh. Seidel allowed 12 hits (all singles) in his seven innings, fanning four without issuing a free pass. Grant Mortinson pitched the final two innings, striking out three while giving up only one hit, also a single.
Jack Piram led off the top of the fourth and reached on an error. Sam Kulesa followed with a single to right field, moving Piram to third. Piram scored what turned out to be the winning run on Paul Loeffler's RBI groundout to second base. Joe Collier then plated Kulesa with a hit up the middle, putting Baseball 365 up 2-0.
Singles by Ryan Engler, Nate Behlen and Piram in the seventh combined for the game's only other run.
Baseball 365 will meet the Minnetonka Millers on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. at Palm Field in the round of eight.
Highland Park Beavers 4, St. Paul Capitals 3
Michael Donseth hit a ninth-inning two-run walk-off home run Sunday afternoon, propelling the Highland Park Beavers to the round of eight. The Beaver's 5-hole hitter hit a 1-0 pitch from Capitals starter Josh Kubitscheck over the fence between the 365-foot sign and the flag pole in center field, turning a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 victory.
The Beavers trailed 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. Clean-up hitter Cory Reiter led off the half-inning with a single to left to set up the walk-off shot. The Beavers had not held a lead for the entire game. Up until that point, Kubitscheck had limited the Beavers to two runs on six hits, having struck out seven while walking only one.
Lefty Mitch Mauerer, the Beavers' starter, allowed three runs (all earned) over seven innings, scattering a dozen singles. Reliever Jared Schmidt put up goose eggs in the final two innings and notched the W.
Capitals lead-off hitter Jamie Berg went 3-for-4 with a walk and two stolen bases. Ironically, he was also the only Capital hitter to strike out in the game. Rick Tossey and Derek Jacobson had two hits apiece for the Capitals.
Jake Flemming, batting ninth in the order, scored the Beavers' only two runs through the first eight innings. He doubled to center to lead off the eighth and scored on Zach Straylon's RBI ground-out to the second baseman to bring the capital within one.
The Beavers will face Air Freight Baseball in the 7 p.m. game on Saturday, Aug. 22 at Palm Field.
Minnetonka Millers 8, Metro Knights 2
The Minnetonka Millers rallied for four fifth inning runs Sunday afternoon and never looked back, in an 8-2 win over the Metro Knights. With the score knotted at one and two out in the bottom of the fourth, Joey Danielson worked a full count and reached on an error by shortstop Carter Shook. Blaine Rutledge followed with a single to right and Joe Abellefa cleared the bases with a double into center fileld. Joe Schallenberger drew a walk and clean-up hitter Mike Davis plated both runners with a double into the right-center field gap.
In an awesome display of power, Rutledge, Schallenberger and Davis all hit solo homers in the sixth inning. Rutledge's shot hit the Palm Field scoreboard in right center, which had already been put out of commission by last weekend's storm.
Millers starter Brandon Broxley got the win with an 86-pitch six-inning performance. He allowed two runs on four hits, walked two and fanned four. The Millers' bullpen was near perfect. Don Erdall and David Custing pitched 1-2-3 innings striking out two and one, respectively. Alex Twenger allowed a single up the middle to Josh Thorp before setting down the side in order, with two Ks. For his part, Thorp went 2-for-4 on the day with an RBI double for the Metro Knights.
The Millers, who are on a quest to win their fourth title in six years, will play Baseball 365 in the round of eight at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22. The Millers took second place in last year's state tournament.
Air Freight Baseball 12, Minneapolis MudCats 0
Air Freight Baseball scored early and often en route to a 12-0 drubbing of the Minneapolis MudCats in Sunday's finale at Palm Field. The 10-run rule came into play and the game was called after seven innings. Southpaw Graham Laubscher hurled seven shutout innings for Air Freight for the win in the opening round game. He gave up only two hits and three walks to the 26 batters he faced. He struck out 12, cathching five of them looking at strike three. He threw 101 total pitches.
Every hitter in the Air Freight lineup contributed. Seven of the nine scored runs and the two who didn't--Nate Pearce and Joey Baumann -- each had an RBI. Tony Cummings went 3-for-4 and scored three runs. DH Evan Kolker was also 3-for-4, crossing the plate twice. Charlie Eleridge had a 2-for-3 night with a walk and a stolen base. He scored two runs. It would have been three had he not been tagged out sliding home while trying to score from second in the fourth inning.
Air Freight will face the Highland Park Beavers in the 7 p.m. game on Saturday, Aug. 22 at Palm Field.