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Baseball: New Life continues rivalry in section final against Minnehaha Academy

Colin Quirk leans and connects with the ball as he scores an Eagles runner. New Life Academy won 9-7 on Tuesday night. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Zack Thor connects on the ball as it sails over the fence for a solo home run. New Life Academy won 9-7 for a spot in the section finals. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

WOODBURY — The New Life Academy baseball team was down to its last five outs of the season. The Eagles were down 7-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The confidence was dwindling and the future of their season was starting to get closer and closer.

Then, a voice from the New Life dugout erupted and said, "we aren't done yet."

That voice belongs to senior and leader Zack Thor who wasn't ready to end his career as an Eagle.

Thor started off the bottom of the sixth and was walked to start the inning. After that walk, the ball kept rolling and it took a team effort to get the game not only tied, but taking the lead as well.

The Eagles batted around the lineup and scored seven runs with the help of Cooper Falteisak's two RBI's and Colin Quirk's one RBI in the middle of this scoring run.

"We never give up until the last out," Thor said. "This team keeps fighting and it showed today especially in the later innings."

Thor had a strong day at the plate by going 2-for-2 with two walks, a double and a solo home run. He earned two RBI's on the day, while also pitching the first four innings of the game.

It took a collective effort on the mound for the Eagles as Thor started the game, Falteisak came in to relieve and Peter Bouillon closed the game.

Thor pitched over the maximum pitches, therefore making him unavailable on Thursday for the section championship, so head coach Dave Darr will rely on Falteisak and a number of pitchers to step up in that moment.

"The reason why I love this team is because I can ask for someone to do something and someone will step up," Darr said. "They aren't afraid of trying new things and so far it's worked out well for us."

The Eagles have reached their fifth straight section finals and their third straight final appearance against the Redhawks from Minnehaha Academy.

The Redhawks aren't a surprise to be seen in the section finals since they're the No. 1 seed in the tournament and have won the Section AA state championship the past two years.

"They're a well-rounded team with good bats, good arms and just a good team overall," Bouillon said. "It'll be a great challenge for us."

A challenge indeed as the Eagles are coming into Thursday from a more difficult position. New Life Academy must win not one, but two games against Minnehaha Academy to capture the section title and head to state.

The ability to win a doubleheader is challenging, but not impossible. Thor knows that, but he also knows the team can't win game two if they don't win game one.

"We need to focus on the first game and winning that to force a second game," Thor said. "We will be ready to go come Thursday because we have nothing to lose."

The Eagles will take on the Redhawks on Thursday night at University of Northwestern. The first game will start at 5 p.m. and if New Life can win the first game, the second game will begin shortly after the first.

Brian Mozey

I am the sports writer for the Woodbury Bulletin and South Washington County Bulletin. I'm a graduate from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University and have always had a passion for sports since a young age. Whether it was watching or playing sports, I always knew sports would be in my career. I've been born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area throughout my time in this position. 

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