August 1, 2003 at 10:35 a.m.
Chisago Lakes 4
No matter how you look at it, American Legion playoff baseball is another animal. Not only do teams battle it out in a best two out of three format in the first round, but games move from seven to nine innings. Whatever team adjusted to the change in schedule the fastest was going to go the farthest. In this case, the farthest meant a berth to the district 10 tournament.
Last Tuesday, the Chisago Lakes Wildcats, the number two seed in the district 10 sub-section went to work in game one of the series. On the radar screen, the number 10 seed, the Milaca Wolves.
Scoreless in the bottom of the third, the ‘Cats began their attack with one hit when Kyle Collins went deep with a solo home run. The long ball trend would continue.
After Milaca fought back tie, Kevin Schneider broke the Wolves backs in the sixth with another long ball, this time a two run blast, putting the ‘Cats in front 3-1. Jimmy Achartz added an RBI single in the seventh to increase the Chisago lead to 4-1.
Three runs were more than enough for Wildcats starter Chip Bemlott who greeted his first nine outing with a complete game. Bemlott’s final line read nine innings pitched, five hits allowed, two walks and seven strikeouts.
“He had very good control,” commented ‘Cats head coach Trent Grams. “He moved the ball in and out and hit his spots. Plus, we didn’t make any errors behind him so his defense gave him the support he needed. You have to give the kids credit. Playing nine innings instead of seven, Chip and the guys realized that they had to go a full nine. After the sixth, they still have three innings left. It’s all mental and the guys realized that and never let down.”
The win gave the Wildcats a one game to nothing lead in the best two out of three series.
District 10 sub-section
Chisago Lakes 10
Pitching was again the story on Wednesday as the Wildcats completed the sweep, winning 10-4, advancing to the District 10 tournament.
Matt Stomberg started the game on the hill for Chisago, and he got some help right away. Batting in the top of the first, Thomas Moody drove in Achartz for the first run of the game.
Milaca battled back to score two in the bottom half of the inning to jump in front 2-1. The lead would be short lived.
The Wildcats jumped back in front in the third highlighted by a Danny Reed home run. Chip Bemlott also added an RBI, putting Chisago in the lead for good.
Leading 3-2, the ‘Cats picked up four more in the fourth on five singles, four of them were consecutive. Milaca cut the lead to 7-4 in the fifth inning before Chisago scored the last three runs of the game, wrapping up a 10-4 win.
“The second game was a little longer than the first but we didn’t let them force a third game and that was huge,” remarked Grams. “Matt threw well, really settling in after the second and Mike Golv pitched well in relief. We wanted to get into the District 10 tournament and we did, now we need to take it one game at a time.”
The top four seeds out of the north-end section (Mora, Chisago Lakes, Cambridge, and St. Francis) all advanced to the District 10 tourney, joining 12 other teams from Wright County, South Hennepin, and North Hennepin. The tournament is a double elimination tourney with the top three teams advancing to state.
Up next for Chisago Lakes is Bloomington Blue on Wednesday. Win or lose, the ‘Cats will play the winner or loser of St. Michael Albertville and Coon Rapids on Wednesday night in round two of the tourney. Round three starts up on Thursday.