Elko 7, Moorhead Mudcats 6: A Walk-Off Wins It for Elko
At the top of the first, the Mudcats from Moorhead got on the board. After two quick outs, the Mudcats bats started to roll. Ben Swanson got the first hit of the game for the Mudcats with a two-out single. Toby Sayles followed up after him with his own single moving Swanson to second base. Another one by Mason Penske opened up the door for Moorhead, giving them a one-run lead at the bottom of the first.
After two quick outs, the bat of Ryan Bastyr came alive, driving a deep ball double in the left-center gap for the Elko Express. TJ Evanson of Elko knocked a quick single in the next at-bat scoring Bastyr for a 1-1 tie to end the first.
After a couple of three and out innings for both teams, Elko second baseman Mitch Frederick made an impressive grab on a stinging line drive in the bottom of the fourth inning in a pitcher's duel we had brewed at The Joe. At the bottom of the fourth inning, Carson Blasing pulled in the third hit for the Express smacking a single off the left-field fence. The heads up play of the game came from Moorhead center fielder Matt Pietsch who caught a runner in a pickle between second and third and made a play and threw him out for the Mudcats giving Elko no more runners in scoring position.
The bats came alive again (and for good) at the top of the 6th when Mason Penske hit a double getting Toby Sayles to third base. Max Boran of Moorhead who broke the scoring drought from the 1st inning, hit a drop in single, making the Mudcats lead 2-1 in the top of the sixth.
To start the seventh for the Moorhead Mudcats, Noah Pilon joined the hitters club with a single to start a small scoring run for Moorhead. TJ Evanson laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance Pilon to second base. Thomas Horan then got another single for Moorhead, but Pilon tried to go home, but a great throw stopped him in his tracks, and he was tagged out at the plate. The throw did advance Horan to second putting him scoring position. A costly first error of the game from the third baseman.
Elko responded big time at the bottom of the seventh. Dylan Thomas hit a three-run blast to left field to score Carson Blasing (got on with a single) and Mitch Frederick (hit by the pitch) after Ryan Bastyr belted in a run on sac fly scoring Michael Frederick. If you thought the Express was done hitting dingers after Thomas's blast, you didn't have to wait long as Evanson hit a solo blast the next at-bat to give the Express a more commanding lead 6-3 on Moorhead in a five-run seventh inning for the Express.
Moorhead rallied up back to back singles from Mason Penske and Max Boran before an Express infielder tried to make a double play with a throw to first that had no coverage, scoring Penske making the score 6-4. The lack of the Express' mental game continued as a fly out to the pitcher was dropped, which caused another error, one of Elko's three errors on the day thus far. With Noah Pilon and Josh Schmidt on base, Ryan VanMoer connected on a single put two runners in scoring position. Elko made a change at the pitcher after this, but it was a double from Horan that scored both runners in Noah Pilon and Josh Schmidt, giving us a heck of a finish here in the eighth inning in Shakopee with both teams tied at 6-6 going into the bottom of the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth, Blasing reached first base on an error caused by Moorhead shortstop Horan, which could have started a run, but he was left on base leaving the 6-6 tie going into the ninth inning.
To start the ninth inning, Mason Penske hit a line drive at Elko center fielder Alex Tobias where he made a diving grab to get the second out. The Express made it a one, two, three inning, needing to put bats on the ball to seal the deal in the bottom of the ninth.
Elko started the bottom of the ninth with a seeing-eye single by Mitch Frederick. The Mudcats wanted nothing to do with Dylan Thomas, so he was intentionally. Tanner McBain did pitch to Evanson, who also had a home run tonight and got the best of him, striking him out. Ash Larsen, who came into the ninth inning hitless, got his bat going at just the right time. This one was misjudged by the Mudcats' right side of the infield and the right fielder, causing Larsen to bloop one in between their gloves scoring Frederick to put the icing on the cake for the Elko Express to advance to the second round next Saturday, in which they will play either Anoka or Cold Spring.
Win: Dylan Thomas
Loss: Tanner McBain
Top hitters: Thomas Horan (Moorhead) 3-for-5, two doubles, two RBIs. Mason Penske 3-for-5, one double, two singles. Dylan Thomas (Elko) one double, one home run, three RBIs. TJ Evanson (Elko) one home run, two RBIs.
Champlin Park 12, Victoria 1:
Great Pitching and Consistent Hitting for the LoGators
Victoria started its night in the top of 1st inning with a double for Cole Sweeney to deep left field just out of reach for the LoGators. That was all the action they would get early, as Sweeney advanced on sac fly from Jon Leighton to third, but he was left stranded.
For the LoGators, they got their bats going early in the bottom of the first. It started when Ryan Bruns reached first on an error, and then the hits started coming. Matt Marek got a single that advanced Bruns to second but it was Ethan Mocchi that singled that the Vics' left fielder misplayed that scored Bruns and a close play at the plate that came in safe for Matt Marek, putting the boys from Champlin Park up 2-0 through the first.
Victoria's Matt Dolan made a great read on the baseball and took another single away from the Logators with his diving stop right before a Reid Conlee strikeout to end the inning of big bats for the LoGators.
In the bottom of the third inning, after the third error by Vics that advanced the speedy Bryce Nelson to third base, Dylan Wilson hit a sac fly to score Nelson, making it a 3-0 lead for the Locators. Pitcher Riley Sweeney started to struggle, walking Jack Puder and getting Ryan Bruns (hit by the pitch) on base too.
Champlin Park's Jerry Gooley dealt five strikeouts in just three innings, causing a ton of one, two, three innings early for the Vics.
To start the bottom of the third inning, the LoGators continued to cruise. Moochi started it up with a single, and with a Jeff Heuer walk, Jon Koenig singled to load the bases. A hit was not needed for Champlin Park to score, as Riley Sweeney threw a wild pitch scoring Mocchi to give the LoGators a 4-0 lead. They weren't done with one run, as Bryce Nelson connected with a double after a Vics pitching change and the LoGators led 6-0. With more ducks in scoring position, Jack Puder hit a single and scored Bryce Nelson. A wild throw on a steal to second base gave the LoGators another run to make it 8-0.
Matt Dolan got the bats going for the Vics, doubling to left-center field, and it didn't end there when a Trey Cavello single scored Dolan to get the Vics their first run of the ball game.
In the bottom of the fourth, the LoGators got going again. With Jeff Heuer doubling, Jon Koenig getting walked, and Bryce Nelson singling, the LoGators had the bases loaded for the second time tonight and cashed in on two seeing-eye singles giving them three more runs in the fourth with only one out giving them a 12-1 lead.
The top of the seventh inning, after a Trey Cavello single, to start the inning, Hunter Even hit a lazy fly ball that was dropped by the LoGators right fielder and got the Vics their second run of the game. It wasn't enough as the LoGators were able to 10-run rule the Vics winning by the final score of 12-2 to end the seventh
Win: Jerry Gooley. 7 innings, eight strikeouts, five hits allowed.
Loss: Riley Sweeney
Champlin Park will play next Saturday at 1 p.m. versus Coon Rapids or Miesville, who will play tomorrow at Shakopee.