The St. Cloud Ultimate Snappers got out of a first inning bases loaded jam and went on to defeat the St. Patrick Irish 5-2 in Brownton on Friday night. Brad Haag was the starter for St. Cloud and draftee Keith Meyers was on the hill for the Irish.
Meyers lasted five and a third innings giving up three runs, one earned, before being replaced by Bill Dunker. “We had guys yelling back when he went home and he was tough on us all night,” said Snappers’ manager Brian Anderson speaking of Meyers.
“We don’t even know what to expect (in the State Tournament), said Anderson. “We end up playing the same teams each year, year after year. So we don’t know anything about anybody except for Freeport. We expect to see some good pitching. Probably going to be some teams here that can slug it a little bit too. I know Hanska can hit the ball,” he continued.
After their trip to get to State, the Snappers can’t be blamed for relaxing a little. They started out with a best two of three series with St. Joe. After winning that, they advanced to play Sartell for the number one seed losing 6-3 when they could only muster nine guys. In the Regions they lost their first game to the Granite City Greys 2-1.
“We beat Sartell 4-2 and then we ended up playing the Greys again—ending in a classic 17 inning marathon,” said Anderson. They beat the Greys 6-2. “Josh Vorpahl went 9 and 1/3 innings. Came in in relief—He told us that he didn’t want to pitch more than an inning or two all year. We didn’t know if he would be able to pitch at all this weekend or next weekend. We had plenty of chances to lose that one. They had the bases loaded and no outs a couple of times—they squeezed bunted into a double play once.” The Snappers finally scored four runs in the top of the17th and earned another trip to the State Tournament.
This night Mike Hoelscher was the winning pitcher in relief against St. Patrick. “He actually didn’t give up an earned run all year until one of our playoff games against St. Joe,” stated Anderson. “He gave up one to the Greys and other than that those are the only two earned runs he has given up all year in about 50 innings. He’s been pretty good up there for us.”
When asked about the Snappers strengths Anderson pointed to their pitching. “We’re about seven deep with our own guys and then you add two good draft picks and we’ve got pitching that doesn’t end. We went three guys out there and gave up two runs. Pretty good.”
He continued, “We were pretty excited to win with four errors tonight.” How about your four errors? “It’s not typical for us. We picked each other up…it’s a little concerning but we’ll play better next game I’m sure, said Anderson”
The Snappers have a unique relationship on their team. Josh Vorpahl a 36 year old left-hander is their oldest player. Reese Gregory is their youngest, a 17 year old third baseman. His 24 year old brother, Ryan, also plays with the Snappers.
The Gregory’s father was Mike, the head coach at St. Cloud Apollo High School. “We coached together for six years and he had a tragic fall last spring (2010) …down some steps,” explained Vorpahl. He passed away. “It was a terrible, terrible situation so there is a little inspiration for us to play. It’s been over a year, that’s a tough one to get over. He had lots of hopes and dreams to coach both sons,” said Vorpahl. “I kind of take those two under my wing, we’ve kind of become brothers in that way. Ryno helps run the team and Reece just shows up and plays. He’s been stellar at third for us and that’s a lot for a 17 year old kid to be coming down here and play, but he’s got college aspirations and this is a good environment to get used to that stuff.”
The Snappers will play Fairmont Friday night, August 26th in Brownton at 5:00 P.M.