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Woodbury Blue rallies for win over Burnsville

Woodbury’s Ben Meyer delivers a pitch during a contest against Stillwater last Tuesday. The game was postponed in the second inning with Woodbury Blue leading 7-3. (Bulletin photo by Jace Frederick)1 / 2
Woodbury’s Jordan Wilkerson rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run in a contest against Stillwater last Tuesday. The game was postponed in the second inning with Woodbury Blue leading 7-3. (Bulletin photo by Jace Frederick)2 / 2

The odds were stacked against the Woodbury Blue American Legion squad in Burnsville Thursday night.

Woodbury Blue trailed 4-2 heading into the top of the seventh, then the first two batters of the inning were retired, leaving the crew one out to put together some type of rally in an attempt to tie the game.

Or win it.

The next three batters reached base for Woodbury, setting the stage for Nick Yan as he stepped up to the plate.

He didn’t disappoint.

Yan delivered a bases-clearing double, giving Woodbury Blue the 5-4 victory over Burnsville.

“It was a huge two-out rally,” Woodbury coach Kyle Hunt said. “The kids didn’t give up, even though they were severely tired from the day.”

The double was the second run-scoring swing off of Yan’s bat in the contest. He delivered a solo home run as part of a two-run second inning for Woodbury.

Nick Bentley started on the mound for Woodbury and delivered a solid performance. He allowed just one earned run in five innings of work.

“He had a really good outing,” Hunt said. “That was huge for him to be able to pick that game up for us.”

Ben Meyer stepped onto the mound in relief of Bentley in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings to leave the door open for a Woodbury comeback and eventually close the game out to seal the victory.

“He came in and shut the rest of the lineup down,” Hunt said. “He came up big when we needed him, that’s for sure.”

Meyer was available to throw thanks to a rain-induced postponement in Woodbury Blue’s contest versus Stillwater. Meyer started that game, but only threw one inning before the game was postponed, meaning he could pitch again on Thursday.

“It was immensely helpful,” Hunt said. “I didn’t know how far Bentley was going to be able to go, so it was nice to be able to rely on [Meyer] knowing that he could pitch. Whether it’s one inning or five, he could have stepped up and gotten it done.”

And once Woodbury Blue took the lead in the top of the seventh, with Meyer pitching in the bottom half of the frame, Hunt knew the game was all-but-over.

“I didn’t really have to worry about the bottom of the seventh,” he said.

The contest with Stillwater was postponed after rain poured down throughout the first inning, causing the field to become too wet to continue play.

But what a first inning it was.

Yan got the offense started for Woodbury Blue as got on base to lead off the first and proceeded to steal both second and third before scoring to spot Woodbury a 1-0 lead. That was just the beginning of an inning that featured a plethora of hits, including a RBI double by Meyer. A three-run homer by Jordan Wilkerson capped a seven-run first for Woodbury Blue.

Stillwater battled back with a few hits of its own in the bottom of the inning, but Woodbury carried a 7-3 lead into the second prior to the postponement.

As of Friday there was still no makeup date announced for the game, but a strong possibility exists that the two teams could meet for a double-header later in the season when Stillwater is scheduled to play Woodbury Blue in Woodbury.

Hunt said he thinks the plan is to pick up the postponed game where it left off last Tuesday, with Woodbury Blue up 7-3 in the second inning.

“I would like to start it from that point,” Hunt said. “Because that would help us out. That’s for sure.”

Woodbury Blue won’t take the field again until July 7, when it has a home game against Mahtomedi. Hunt said the break in the schedule is a welcomed one, as he could sense fatigue from many of his players as a large portion of them were competing in camps for kids trying to play college baseball during the day, and playing in the games at night.

“They were all pretty tired,” he said.

But he hopes his team can carry the momentum from the Burnsville win into the next portion of the campaign.

“[That’s] a huge game for us in general,” he said. “That’s a good way to go out and try to relax and recharge for the second half of the season.”