Woodbury Blue falls in playoffs
Kyle Hunt has been coaching baseball for four years.
But Hunt and his guys enjoyed every step of the journey.
“It was the greatest time I’ve ever had,” Hunt said. “There’s no way I would trade this team for anything in 100 years.”
Hunt said it could be tough coming to games after work in the past, but not this year with this team, which he said was like a family.
It was a successful family, at that. Woodbury Blue went 13-7-1 this summer.
Many of those 13 victories were of the comeback variety, the last of which was no different.
Woodbury trailed Rosemount 7-3 in the fourth inning last Friday.
Then the bats came alive. Woodbury posted 13 runs in the next three innings en route to a 16-7 victory.
It was another example of Woodbury’s ability to revive itself no matter the situation.
“Whatever’s happening on the scoreboard doesn’t affect how they play the game,” Hunt said. “They’re always up, they’re always ready to play, they’re always trying to win the game. It can be 10-3 and they’re still enjoying their time. ... That’s what makes it even more enjoyable is that a team thinks they have them on the ropes and then we come back.”
Jake Dickmeyer starred in the win over Rosemount, he came on in relief of Nick Bentley to throw 4 ⅓ innings pitched and went 4-for-4 at the plate with two runs batted in. Dickmeyer was one of six Woodbury batters to record multiple hits as Blue tallied 20 base knocks.
Woodbury Blue could have used a few of those runs a day earlier, as the fourth seed lost its postseason opener 7-4 to Burnsville on Thursday afternoon in Burnsville.
Woodbury Blue was shorthanded against Burnsville Thursday. Hunt had just nine players at his disposal, the bare minimum required to fill a lineup, forcing some players to play out of position.
“It’s hard when we don’t have enough guys,” Hunt said.
Still, Woodbury Blue led much of the way, thanks almost entirely to Ben Meyer.
Meyer launched a two-run homer in the first inning on Thursday -- his birthday.
Meyer held the lead he built for Woodbury until the sixth inning, when Burnsville scored in the sixth to tie the game at 2-2.
“Ben I can’t say enough about,” Hunt said. “He’s a great guy all the way around. I felt like the umpire was squeezing him a bit and he didn’t let it bother him.”
But Burnsville finally broke through in a big way in the eighth inning, tallying five runs as it batted through its entire order. None of the hits were struck well, but all either blooped or snaked their way into the outfield.
“That sucks when they get those little hits off of him,” Hunt said. “It’s tough, but Ben pitched well.”
Woodbury attempted to rally from the five-run deficit in the ninth. Jordan Wilkerson ripped a two-run double to close the gap to 7-4, but that’s all the closer Woodbury could get.
Wilkerson smacked the ball all day, going 2-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, continuing the solid play he contributed throughout the second half of the season.
“It’s in the biggest situations, too,” Hunt said. “It’s not just the first inning, it’s every inning after that, both defensively and offensively. He’s come up big for us. He wasn’t on our original roster and we pulled him up because we didn’t have enough guys, so he was a huge acquisition at the start of the year because he’s grown a lot just in these few games. I’m happy to have him.”
Meyer and Jack Kohlbeck also tallied two hits in the loss.
Meyer shined again in his last appearance for Woodbury Blue. He went 4-for-4 at the dish in the loss to Apple Valley.
Meyer is one of only four seniors that the legion squad loses, along with Bentley, Nick Yan and Nick McLaughlin. All four haves hopes of playing baseball collegiately, and Hunt said he will miss all four “a lot.”
Still, that leaves next year’s legion squad with an array of returning talent. And though Hunt originally wasn’t sure he would return for the 2015 season, there were no more lingering doubts Saturday.
“How could you not after this [season],” he said.