6/8/2017 3:25:00 PM Wildcats eliminated by Denfeld
Hibbing 10, Chisago Lakes 2 Already leading 3-2, the Hibbing Bluejackets exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth inning and went on to beat the Wildcats 10-2 in the second round of the double-elimination Section 7AAA playoffs. The loss knocked the Wildcats into the losers’ bracket of the tourney.
In the bottom of the second, Dusty Rhodes led off with a walk and Gabe Taylor followed with a double to left, moving Rhodes to third. Mitch Barrett and Zane Brophy each drove in a run with a groundout and the Wildcats led 2-0 after two. Starting pitcher Troy Biernath retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced, but he ran into trouble in the top of the fourth allowing three runs before giving way to Trevor Johnson.
Johnson hit the first batter in the top of the fifth A groundout and a strikeout put the Wildcats within one out of getting out of the inning. The next batter hit a ground ball to third for what looked like the third out, but an error by third baseman Henry Trost extended the inning. A single by Lamphere drove in a run to make the score 4-2, and a walk loaded the bases. Austin Glad hit a grounder to short that looked like it would end the inning with limited damage. But a bad throw by shortstop Brown allowed three runs to cross the plate, making the score 7-2 before Hibbing added on again for a 10-2 win.
Duluth Denfeld 4, Chisago Lakes 3 In an elimination game in the Section 7AAA tournament, the Wildcats scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and clung to a 3-2 lead over the Duluth Denfeld Hunters entering the top of the seventh. But the Hunters scored twice in the top of the seventh and shut down the Wildcats in the bottom of the inning to win the game 4-3. The loss knocked the Wildcats out of the section tournament, ending their season. The game was played at Hermantown on Saturday, June 3.
Things looked good early for the Wildcats. Henry Trost walked to lead off the bottom of the first and stole second. Joey Ferris laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Trost to third, and also beat it out for a single. Ferris stole second. Anders Brown got the green light on 3-0 and lined the next pitch over the right fielder’s head for a triple, driving in both runners to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. One out later, Barrett hit a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Brown and the Wildcats led 3-0 after one.
In the top of the third, Denfeld leadoff batter Alex Knuth singled, stole second and, one out later, went to third when Payton Budisalovich reached on an error. After the next batter stepped into the box, Barrett tried the “fake to third and throw to first” pickoff move, and it worked! He picked off Budisalovich at first. But Brody Russell singled to drive in a run, cutting the Wildcat lead to 3-1. The next inning, a leadoff walk, a stolen base and a one-out double led to another Hunter run, making the score 3-2.
Barrett faced just three batters in the fifth, and looked strong. But he had thrown 71 pitches and, under the new pitch count rules, if he went over 75 he would not be available to pitch if the Wildcats advanced and had a game on Tuesday. So the Wildcats brought in Trost in the top of the sixth. Trost allowed a harmless single in the sixth. He struck out the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh. Jarrod Smith singled. Trost through a pitch in the dirt. Catcher Brophy blocked it, but the ball bounced about 30 feet away to the right for a wild pitch, allowing Smith to reach second. Budisalovich flew out for the second out. Russell worked the count to 3-2, and the Hunters were down to their last strike. He fouled off one pitch and then took ball four to put runners on first and second. Logan Jasper then stepped to the plate and singled to center on a 1-0 pitch to score Smith and tie the game. Ben Gibson followed with a line drive single to left to drive in Russell with the lead run. Brown came in to relieve Trost and got out of the jam. In the bottom of the seventh, Brown singled to right with two outs and promptly stole second. But Rhodes popped out to the third baseman to end the game and the season.