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home : sports : sports
July 6, 2022

6/10/2022 2:33:00 PM
Chisago Lakes battles through losers bracket to get back to section championship games

The Wildcat baseball team went 4-1 in the Section 7AAA tournament over the past week, earning the right to face Grand Rapids at Hermantown for the section championship.  The game or games against Grand Rapids were played yesterday, too late for inclusion in this week’s Press.
Grand Rapids 12, Chisago Lakes 3
After opening the sections with a 9-8 win over the fifth-seeded Duluth Denfeld Hunters, three Wildcat errors opened the door to six Grand Rapids runs in the second inning, and the top seeded Thunderhawks went on to beat the Wildcats 12-3 Thursday, June 2 at Grand Rapids High School.  Starter Cole Hentges lasted just 1 2/3 innings, but only two of the eight runs he allowed were earned.  Luke Urhammer pitched the last 4 1/3 innings and allowed four runs – two earned – on five hits, walked two and struck out three.  Joe Graeve drove in all three runs for the Wildcats – two on a first inning single and the other one when he walked with the bases loaded in the fourth.  The loss dropped CL into the elimination bracket.
Chisago Lakes 7,  Hibbing 0
Reed Marquardt and Jack Walker combined to allow two hits and no runs as the Wildcats shut out the sixth-seeded Hibbing Bluejackets 7-0 Saturday, June 4 at Grand Rapids.  Marquardt also put the game out of reach with a three-run homer in the fourth inning to make the score 7-0.  The win kept the ‘Cats alive in the elimination bracket and ended Hibbing’s season.

The Wildcats gave Marquardt and Walker all the support they needed in the first inning, as Tyler Drury singled in a run and Traeson Griffin double in two. Joe Graeve single in a run in the second inning to make the score 4-0.
In five innings of work, Marquardt allowed one hit, walked two and struck out six.  Walker pitched two innings, allowed one hit, and struck out two.
Chisago Lakes 12, Duluth Denfeld 2 (6 innings)
Joe Graeve had four hits, including a triple, and drove in five runs, and Cole Hentges allowed two runs in six innings to lead the Wildcats to a 12-2 win over the fifth-seeded Duluth Denfeld Hunters Tuesday, June 7 at Hermantown High School.  The Wildcats broke open a close game with five runs in the fourth inning and added four more in the sixth to increase their lead to 12-2.  The game was shortened to six innings because of the ten-run rule.  Denfeld’s section tournament run was over, and the Wildcats stayed alive in  the elimination bracket.
Hentges allowed two earned runs on two hits, struck out three and did not issue any free passes.  Reed Marquardt had two hits, including a triple, walked twice, drove in two, and scored four times.

Chisago Lakes 10, Hermantown 8
In a wild second game of the day, the Wildcats overcame an early deficit to take a 10-3 lead over the second-seeded Hermantown Hawks in the top of the fourth –  only to see the Hawks make a valiant comeback attempt that ultimately fell short – and the Wildcats came away with a 10-8 win.  The Wildcats scored ten runs on just six hits but were helped along by nine walks by Hermantown pitchers.  The win sent the Wildcats to the section championship game or games, and the loss knocked Hermantown out of the tournament in front of their home crowd.  In successive games, the Wildcats eliminated Duluth Denfeld, Hibbing, and Hermantown from the section playoffs.

Hermantown came out firing right out of the gate, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning.  The Wildcats answered that in a big way with two outs in the top of the second.  With one out, Traeson Griffin singled and Storm Opdahl walked.  Reece Berner struck out for the second out, and Jack Walker walked to load the bases.  Nick Wasko singled to drive in two, and Walker went all the way to third.  Courtesy runner Jackson Smith stole second.  Walker scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 3-3.  Reed Marquardt walked.  The hot-hitting Graeve doubled in two runs and the ‘Cats led 5-3.

In the fourth, the Wildcats piled on more runs, seemingly putting the game out of reach.  With the bases loaded and one out, Joe Graeve hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the first run of the inning.  Tyler Drury walked to re-load the bases.  Collin Hackl walked, and Traeson Griffin was hit by a pitch to force in two more runs, making it 8-3.  Storm Opdahl followed with a single to drive in two more and made the score 10-3.

The Hawks came storming back in the bottom of the inning.  A hit batter and three straight singles pushed across two runs to cut the Wildcats lead to 10-5, and there was still nobody out.  Starter Reed Marquardt walked the next batter to load the bases.  A popup and a strike out got the Wildcats within an out of getting out of the game with no more damage.  But Marquardt walked the next two batters to force in two more runs and Hermantown was now within three runs at 10-7.  Urhammer came in to relieve Marquardt and got the first batter he faced to ground out to end the inning and the rally  Urhammer allowed a run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Wildcat lead to 10-8.  In the bottom of the seventh with a runner on first and two outs, Graeve came in to relieve Urhammer.  The next batter lined out.  Graeve got the final batter of the game to ground out, sealing the win and picking up the save.
Baseball Banter
Graeve has had an impressive bat through the playoff run for the Wildcats. in five games, he is 10-for-16 – a .625 batting average – with 13 RBIs.  Greave is a key reason why the Wildcats are still in the section tournament.

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