May 21, 2004 at 10:40 a.m.
Dynasty is defined as “A family or group that maintains power for several generations.”
In this case, the time period covers the last seven years, and the family or group is the Chisago Lakes baseball team.
Last Friday, the Wildcats wrapped up their fourth conference title over the last seven years (‘98, ‘99, ‘02, ‘04), defeating Mora 11-3. The win ran their conference record to 10-0 with two games left on the schedule.
“It’s a great relief to get it done. I told the kids before the game that we had two options. One was to win and get it over with, and the other was to lose and take our chances. I don’t think they liked that second option,” said Pat Collins, Chisago Lakes head baseball coach. “We have had a nice run of athletes and they have played their roles well. These kids are very special to me. They are very deserving champions. They are fundamentally sound and they play baseball the right way.”
You can add thriving under pressure to that list as well, because last Friday, the pressure was on. Leading Mora by two games in the conference standings heading into the game, two two teams barely squeezed the game in after it was postponed the day before due to rain.
Nonetheless, Chisago didn’t want to leave anything to chance with two conference games remaining after the match-up. They wanted to wrap up the title ASAP.
As usual, they showed that sense of urgency with their bats, pounding on Mora pitching all game.
The barrage of runs started in the first. Batting with one on and two outs, Thomas Moody opened up the scoring with a RBI single, giving Chisago a 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, the ‘Cats got another run, this time from Kyle Collins who drove in Mark Unger for the second time in the game, pushing the lead to two.
However, Mora charged back to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the fourth. Officially on notice, the Wildcat hitters went to work, making sure that Mora would never get that close again.
Derrick Olson kicked off the parade with a bomb, connecting for a two run home run in the bottom of the fourth. The homer catapulted the ‘Cats to a 4-2 lead. It was also Olson’s fourth home run in his last three games, giving him five on the season.
“He’s swinging a big bat right now,” commented Collins. “He’s one of those guys where he’s just on a roll right now. Last year he had some trouble trying to pull the ball all the time, not this year, four of his five home runs have been to centerfield so that’s a good sign.”
Olson’s smash was just the beginning. Leading 4-2 in the fifth, Chisago added four more runs to take control of the game. Batting with Moody and second and Danny Reed on third, Kyle Collins roped a two-run single into the outfield, moving the Chisago lead to 8-2. Karl Lee then followed with an RBI single of his own before Josh Pearl dished out a final blow, knocking in Olson on a fielders choice, making the score 8-2.
After Mora scored one in the sixth, Collins and the ‘Cats answered in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three more runs. Collins drove in one run with a sacrifice fly, producing his fourth RBI of the game, now giving him 24 on the season.
“Kyle had four RBI’s. He just sits back and hits the ball up the middle or the opposite way,” replied Pat Collins. “He gets the bat on the ball all the time.”
Lee added his second RBI of the game moments later before scoring on an error, adding the finishing touches on a 11-3 win and another conference championship.
While the bats produced the loudest bang, Mike Golv cruised on the mound, going the distance to pick up his fifth win of the season.
“It was a typical Mike Golv pitching performance. He scatters nine hits but doesn’t walk anybody. He plays so smart,” remarked Collins. “The players have had a lot of success here and they are winners. Danny Reed, Thomas Moody, and Jimmy Achartz are three year starters. The team they have played on are 57-14 over three years, and they are responsible for a large part of that success.”
Now, the Wildcats begin to focus on their next challenge. Four games remain on the schedule before sub-sections begin. Now 14-2 overall, the ‘Cats are in a fight for a number one seed in the south. Nothing is guarenteed.
“Our next focus is Milaca, then North Branch, and so on,” said Collins. “We’ll just continue plugging away and not even worry about our seed. It will hopefully work out for us.”
So far, everything else has.
Chisago Lakes 11, Mora 3
Mora 000 201 0 3 9
Chisago Lakes 101 243 X 11 12
Unger 2-4, 3 R
Reed 1-2, 2 R
Moody 2-4, RBI, R
Collins 2-3, 4 RBI, R
Lee 3-3, 2 RBI, 2 R
Olson 2-3, 2 RBI, HR
Pearl 0-3, RBI
WP: Golv (5-0)
7 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, K