Legion baseball: Woodbury Blue falls short of state
Woodbury Blue's quest for a state tournament berth ended Sunday in disaster with a 4-2 loss to second-ranked Burnsville in the American Legion baseball Sub-State 6 Tournament in Apple Valley.
Woodbury's 2-0 lead faded away in the final three innings as Burnsville took advantage of four Woodbury errors in the last three innings to rally for the victory and a trip to the state tournament.
"I'm extremely pleased with how the guys played all weekend," Woodbury Blue Legion team head coach Justin Feldkamp said. "Just one or two defensive plays in the game are just magnified big time."
All four runs Burnsville scored came unearned and marred an otherwise strong start from Woodbury pitcher Brandon Mazur. Mazur went all nine innings and allowed four runs on six hits. Mazur walked two and struck out two. Mazur had given up just two hits prior to the seventh inning.
"Our pitching has been great for three-fourths of the year," Feldkamp said. "That's got to be the strongest part of our game and when our defense and hitting can contribute, then we're pretty hard to beat."
With two outs in the seventh Burnsville's Brandon Dorshak singled to keep the inning alive. A fielding miscue allowed Ty Alyea to reach and a walk to No. 9-hitter Camden Traetow loaded the bases for leadoff hitter Peter Nordgren, who singled to score two runs and tie the game.
An inning later Tyler Hanson reached on an error to lead off the eighth and came around to score on an RBI single from Eric Watters to give Burnsville a 3-2 lead.
In the ninth Traetow doubled with one out and another field error allowed Nordgren to reach. One batter later Ben Sherman flew out to center field to score Traetow, who advanced to third on a wild pitch.
"When you play a great team like Burnsville and one or two things don't go your way then it get stiff right away," Feldkamp said.
Woodbury's Ryan Winter served as the team's catalyst, much like he has all season. Winter scored the team's two runs and Ryan Scanlon picked up both RBI.
Winter scored in the first inning after an infield single, a stolen base and a base hit from Scanlon. Winter struck again in the fifth inning after a one-out walk, a stolen base and base hit from Scanlon.
Scanlon finished 3-for-4 with two RBI while Winter went 2-for-3 with two runs, two stolen bases and two walks.
Woodbury left chances on the field as well. Twice Woodbury grounded into inning-ending double plays and got thrown out at home. Woodbury stranded six runners in scoring position.
Woodbury came into the tournament as one of the hottest teams and secured a No. 2 seed after winning four out of six games at the Gopher Classic, including a 10-1 victory over No. 1-ranked Tri City Red.
Woodbury began the tournament with a 4-3 victory over Rosemount Thursday with a ninth-inning rally. Woodbury followed that with a 17-8 thrashing of Inver Grove Heights Friday and a 4-0 victory over Burnsville Saturday.
But things took a strange turn after that.
Woodbury faced Inver Grove Heights again Saturday in a tournament wrinkle that had losers of one side of the bracket jump to the other side of the bracket, and had the game suspended when the field lights did not function. The malfunction forced tournament officials to suspend the game until Sunday and Inver Grove Heights came back to win 3-2 to set up a winner-take-all final for Woodbury against Burnsville.
Already short on pitching, Saturday night's starter Dillon Waugh had to start again Sunday against Inver Grove Heights and gave up a run after the restart. Josh Sharp closed out the game and did not allow a run.
Ben Meyer delivered a big game performance against Burnsville Saturday in a 4-0 victory. Meyer threw a complete game shutout as he outdueled Tyler Hanson, a University of Minnesota recruit.
Meyer allowed eight hits, struck out seven and walked two. Hanson allowed four runs on 13 hits, struck out 12 and walked one.
"He's obviously one of the best pitchers in the state and one of the adjustments we made was a lot of guys laid off his changeup, which is an unbelievable pitch," Feldkamp said. "You saw a lot of guys swing through it in the first inning because he throws about 90 mph and his changeup is like 70."
Meyer and Hanson traded zeros until the seventh inning when Winter hit a three-run triple to break the game open. Quinten Strub followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
David Stickels hit a three-run homer Friday in a 17-8 rout of Inver Grove Heights.
Stickels finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs and Woodbury put together a seven-run seventh inning.
Scanlon went 2-for-6 with three RBI and all nine hitters scored runs for Woodbury.
Woodbury's seven-run outburst looked like it would trigger the 10-run rule, but Inver Grove Heights answered back with a grand slam home run in the bottom of the inning to continue play. Woodbury went on to add two runs in the ninth.