Area sports action from Tuesday:
Section 6AA Baseball: Little Falls 13, Osakis 0 (5 inn.)
Little Falls shook off a loss from the night before to rout Osakis 13-0 in a Section 6AA elimination game at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud, Tuesday.
The Flyers got to work early, plating three runs in the top of the first, and never looked back, adding on two more runs in the third and fourth and six in the fifth.
Little Falls had nine different players combine to slug 14 hits, including three apiece from junior Bryce Zawatzke and sophomore Thomas Miller.
Both players doubled, with Zawatzke also blasting a home run.
Senior Kyle Boser went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, while senior Nick Anderson had a two-run single.
“I would be lying if I said I was expecting that type of score,” Little Falls head coach Chad Kaddatz said. “We have been preaching that we are capable of that, but this late into the season and with the quality of opponents we are facing, you don’t expect those types of numbers. In a tournament like this, it often comes down to your pitching depth, and I think our depth of pitchers was quite a bit higher than what Osakis could run out there.”
Miller tossed four shutout innings and Boser struck out the side in order in the fifth.
“Thomas Miller has had a tremendous year for us,” Kaddatz said. “It is a tough position for a sophomore to step into, but he stepped up and took over our spot as No. 3 pitcher. When you look at his numbers, you would assume he is our ace (5-0, 0.24 ERA). In 29 innings of pitching he has only allowed two runs all season, one earned.
“His biggest attribute is his ability to throw strikes,” he said. “He is not a big strikeout guy, but it is rare for him to get the ball up or over the middle of the plate. Hitters are forced to hit ‘his pitch’ and that makes it difficult as a high school hitter. He is also mentally tough. Thomas is only a sophomore, but he has played varsity sports in the fall and winter and is unfazed by the stage. With a school our size, we need our kids to play multiple sports, and in baseball we can see the difference between those kids who are in their first varsity sport and one who has already developed that mental edge by playing under the lights during the fall and winter.”
It was a complete reversal from the previous night, when Cathedral was able to shut out Little Falls 4-0.
“Our emotions were definitely a concern, and a topic that we discussed when we arrived for BP (batting practice) on Tuesday,” Kaddatz said. “The bus ride home on Monday night was pretty quiet and there were some somber faces when they arrived to the field. I talked to them about how we were in a unique situation as the team we would be playing that night would be coming off a win and be at an emotional high, so we had to be able to match that energy from the start or we would be in trouble.
“We have a term we use called ‘hold the hose,’ which deals with how firemen are able to run into a burning building, because they know that their entire team is holding up their end of the hose and has the exact same goals,” he said.
“I told them that each and every person on that team had the responsibility to make sure that every other teammate was at that energy level we needed, and if not, they needed to get them there. It didn’t take long into our BP before there was some joking and trash-talking going on, and they were probably as loose and energetic as I have ever seen them.”
Little Falls now gains a rematch with St. Cloud Cathedral in Thursday’s finals. The Flyers will need to defeat the Crusaders twice in a row to advance to state.
“So much of this game comes down to confidence, especially with the amount of failure you face each game,” Kaddatz said. “We had guys come up and hit the ball extremely hard on Tuesday night, and the confidence and feeling from those plate appearances should be just what we needed going into Thursday night and the pitchers we will be facing.”
Section 6AA Baseball: Osakis 7, Pierz 3
Osakis reached Tuesday’s consolation bracket finals by defeating Pierz 7-3 earlier in the night in an elimination game.
The game was tied at 1-1 after four innings before Osakis scored four runs in the top of the fifth.
Pierz cut that gap in half with two in the bottom of the inning, but the Silverstreaks sealed the win with another run in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Senior Mac Gruber doubled twice, sophomore Aaron Weber went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and freshman Lane Girtz had a single and a run.
“We lost a hard-fought game today,” Pierz head coach Dan Saehr said. “Osakis played great defensively and we hit some balls at guys. Very proud of this group of kids – not sure many people thought they would be playing in June.”
Section 5A Baseball: Royalton’s opponent set
Royalton had the luxury of watching the consolation bracket of the Section 5A bracket unfold Tuesday as the field was narrowed from four to two, with PACT Charter surviving to play the Royals.
Browerville defeated Hinckley-Finlayson 7-2, but then PACT Charter defeated Browerville 3-2 in elimination games.
Royalton defeated PACT Charter 8-7 in Monday’s winners’ bracket game to reach the finals.
Royalton will need to win one of two games versus PACT to reach state, while PACT would have to win twice in a row.
Section 6AA Golf: Pierz’ Jessica Hawks qualifies for state, Little Falls boys finish fourth
Pierz junior Jessica Hawks wrapped up the Section 6AA tournament in Sartell with a two-day score of 172, finishing a stroke ahead of a three-way playoff for the final two spots and good enough to qualify for the state meet.
The Little Falls boys finished in fourth place, led by junior Kyler Erdman with a total of 166, only four strokes off the state pace.
Junior Michael Orr was close behind with a 169, followed by junior Josh DeCann (176), senior Nathan Hoffman (183), junior Landon Atkinson (184) and sophomore Landon Bjorge (187).
The Class AA state meet will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 – 11, at Sand Creek in Jordan.
Follow along for postseason updates on Twitter @MCRecordSports