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August 2, 2021

6/11/2021 4:25:00 PM
Marquardt dazzles from the mound and plate in win over Tigers

Chisago Lakes 7, Princeton 1
Reed Marquardt picked a good time to hit the Wildcats’ first home run of the year.  Marquardt, the starting pitcher against the Princeton Tigers, hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie, and the Wildcats went on to beat the Tigers 7-1 in the second round of the Section 7AAA playoffs.  Marquardt pitched six innings to pick up the win.  He allowed one earned run on three hits, walked five and stuck out seven.  Augie Brown pitched a scoreless seventh to finish the game.  The win sent the Wildcats to a third-round winner’s bracket matchup against the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks.

Marquardt allowed a leadoff double in the top of the second but struck out the next three batters to end the early threat.  In the top of the third, the Tigers scored a run on a walk and two singles.  A throwing mishap move the runners up to second and third with one out.  Marquardt struck out the next two batters, the second one on a filthy curve ball, to keep the score at 1-0.  In the bottom of the inning, Marquardt singled with one out, Kral reached on an error and Zingerman single to lead the bases.  Ryan Sanvik reached on another error and Marquardt scored to tie the game at 1-1 and the bases were still loaded.  But Augie Brown grounded into a force at home and Adam Brown struck out, leaving the game tied.

Marquardt walked a batter with two outs in the top of the fourth.  But after the second strike to the next batter, catcher Nick Wasko fired down to first to pick off the baserunner and ended the inning.  With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Wasko beat out an infield hit to deep short.  With Marquardt at the plate, courtesy runner Owen Larson stole second.  On a 3-1 count, Marquardt drilled a high line drive to straightaway right field, and it sailed over the fence for a home run and a 3-1 Wildcat lead.  Hunter Kral followed with a single to right and went to second on a wild pitch.  Nathan Zingerman doubled into the left field corner to score Kral, and Sanvik drilled a double to the wall in left center to score Zingerman.  The Wildcats now led 5-1.  In the fifth, Adam Brown singled to deep short, stole second and scored on Collin Hackl’s single to right.  In the sixth, Kral led off with a single.  Pinch runner Jackson Smith stole second, went to third on a swinging bunt single by Sanvik and scored on a sacrifice fly by Augie Brown to make the score 7-1.  Princeton loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but with two out Augie Brown got the batter to hit a comebacker to him and he threw the ball to Josh Van Feldt at first to end the game and send the Wildcats to the next round.

After the game, Marquardt said his home run was the first he had hit at any level.  So, what was going through his head leading up to the big blast?  He said “It was a 3-1 count, and it was a tie game, so I was thinking clutch hit, so I was just going to try to swing out of my shoes and try to put it over them.  I got a hold of it, and it just kept going.  It was a big team win.  We just have to keep putting it together and keep winning.”  Wildcat head coach Jay Brown said “It was as surprising to me as it was to anybody.  It was our first home run of the year. And to see him square one up like that my biggest thought was now he has to start calming down because he has to get back out on that mound and be ready to pitch.  Reed is kind of like Happy Gilmore.  He should be sponsored by Subway.  He was eating a Subway right before his at bat, goes in there and goes yard.”

Duluth East 10, CL 5
Last Saturday, June 5, the Wildcat defense was not sharp for one of the few times this season.  Unfortunately, the lack of sharpness came early in a Section 7AAA playoff game against the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks.  Relief pitcher Augie Brown kept the game close for several innings, and the Wildcats trailed 5-3 going into the seventh.  But Grand Rapids scored five time in the top of the inning to take a 10-3 lead and went on to beat the Wildcats 10-5.  The loss sent the Wildcats to an elimination game against the winner of the Tuesday, June 8 game between Princeton and North Branch.

In the top of the first, the Thunderhawks the first run of the game on a one out triple followed by a double.  The next batter single to move the runner up to third and went to second on the throw home.  The next batter hit a grounder to third and the runners held as Reed Marquardt threw the batter out at first.  Starting pitcher Ryan Sanvik got the next batter to fly out to short right center to end the threat.  In the top of the second, the leadoff batter singled.  The next batter bunted a line drive right back to Sanvik.  He threw to first to try to double off the runner, but the ball went past first baseman Josh Von Feldt and the runner moved up to second anyway.  Another single moved the runner to third.  The next batter hit a grounder just to the left of second base.  Augie Brown fielded it, stepped on second and threw to first for what looked like an easy double played.  But the ball hit the dirt and skipped past Von Feldt and the runner from third scored to make it 2-0.  Collin Hackl reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the second.  One out later, Nick Wasko singled.  Marquardt’s grounder to the right side moved the runners to second and third.  Kral then drilled a single up the middle to score both runners and tied the game at 2-2.  In the top of the third, a double, a walk and a triple scored two runs to give Grand Rapids a 4-2 lead and Augie Brown came in to pitch.  On the first pitch to the next batter, the Thunderhawks tried a safety squeeze.  The batter got the bunt down and the runner took off.  Marquardt charged hard from third base and, in one motion, scooped the ball with his glove and flipped it to Wasko.  The runner didn’t even bother to slide and Wasko tagged him out.

Wasko singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth.  He stole second on a fake bunt delayed steal.  Marquardt singled through the hole on the right side of the infield to score Wasko and cut the Grand Rapids lead to 4-3.  In the top of the fifth, a single, a stolen base and an error put a runner on third with no outs.  The next batter hit a grounder to short in the Wildcat’s drawn-in infield.  Sanvik fired home.  The Grand Rapids baserunner leapt over Wasko to try to score, but Wasko tagged him for the out.

In the top of the sixth, after a one out double, the next batter reached first on a dropped third strike and a throw that pulled Von Feldt off of first.  A fly ball to right moved the runner on second to third.  The next batter rocketed a ground ball just out of the reach of Marquardt at third to make it 5-3.  The next batter grounded out to Augie Brown, limiting the damage.  But after the Wildcats failed to score in the bottom of the sixth, the wheels came off in the top of the seventh.  Four hits, a hit batter and two errors led to five Thunderhawk runs.  The Wildcats scored a couple of runs in the bottom of the inning, on a balk and a run-scoring single by Wasko, to cut the lead to 10-5.  But with runners on second and third and two outs, Marquardt struck out to end the game.

Baseball Banter
Having fallen to the loser’s bracket after the loss to Grand Rapids, the Wildcats would need to win three games in a row this week – one on Tuesday and two on Wednesday – to advance to the state tournament.  Results of those games were not available before this issue went to press.  If they pulled off three wins in a row in two days, they will play their first state tournament game next Tuesday, June 15 at the Mini Met in Jordan at a time to be determined.   The tournament will continue June 16 and the state Class AAA championship game will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 18 at Target Field.

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