Baseball: New Life Academy faces a challenge from Caledonia

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After cruising past a couple more conference opponents last week, New Life Academy faced the reality of postseason baseball competition in a loss to Caledonia.

While the Eagles play Class A schools in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association, the team competes in Class AA for the postseason. Caledonia, ranked No. 11 in Class 2A, handed the Eagles a 12-1 loss in five innings May 6 at Rochester's Mayo Field, home to the minor league Rochester Honkers.

"It was just one of those days where they hit the ball everywhere," Eagles coach Dave Darr said. "We didn't make the plays that we needed to keep the game close."

New Life Academy, ranked No. 6 in Class AA, mustered six hits against the Warriors (12-1, 10-1 Three Rivers). The Eagles also had fewer than two runs for the first time this season.

Eagles junior Zach Thor pitched 3.2 innings and fanned four batters. Senior Henry George came in for 1.1 innings and struck out two batters.

Caledonia jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and piled in eight in the fourth inning. New Life Academy didn't score until the fifth inning.

"Everything kind of snowballed out of control," Darr said.

Darr didn't want his team to get too alarmed about the loss though.

"It's one game, basically," he said. "It's one of those days."

It looked like a far cry from the Eagles' routs of Spectrum and Maranatha Christian Academy earlier in the week. The Eagles won those two MCAA contests by a combined 29-0.

"Tuesday and Thursday, we played alright (and) hit the ball pretty well," Darr said. Eagles senior pitcher Zach Miller led the team with three hits and five RBIs against Spectrum in a 13-0 victory May 4. George had a couple of hits with two RBIs. Thor also drove in two runs. Sophomore infielder Noah Rodriguez contributed with a couple of hits.

Sophomore Cooper Falteisek pitched four innings and struck out three. The Sting mustered two hits.

New Life Academy came in fresh off a 16-0 rout of Maranatha Christian Academy May 2. Eagles sophomore third baseman Justin Hamil drove in two runs on two hits. Thor also had two RBIs, and senior infielder Aaron Bouillon drove in a run. George and Falteisek chipped in two hits apiece.

George went five innings on the mound and struck out five batters. The Mustangs had four hits, and they had trouble in the field with four errors.

New Life Academy extended its winning streak to 11.

"We were feeling pretty good about ourselves," Darr said.

To get the positive feelings back, the Eagles returned to the field with a tall order Tuesday. They hosted No. 2 Class A Legacy Christian Academy (12-2, 8-0) in a showdown for the MCAA title. The Eagles get Class AA action again Wednesday at home versus Providence Academy (6-4, 4-3 Independent Metro Athletic) at 4 p.m.