Class A State Baseball: BOLD is a champion
MINNEAPOLIS — After knocking off defending Class A champion St. Agnes in the state semifinals on Friday, a beaming bunch of BOLD Warrior baseball players spoke about how their dreams had come true: They were getting the chance to play for a state title in the gorgeous hardball heaven, Target Field. No words to describe the feeling, they said.
While that’s true, it’s really not the whole truth.
“We came in here today just thinking about winning,” BOLD head coach Brian Kingery said Monday, standing on the Minnesota Twins’ sun-dappled home field. “It was just another baseball game. We didn’t come here just to play at Target Field, we came here to win a championship.”
And, boy howdy, did they.
Logan Sandgren capped what would have to rank among the best postseason streaks in state postseason history with another masterful performance, throwing a one-hitter and leading the Warriors to a 3-0 victory over the Osakis Silverstreaks in the Class A championship game.
The Warriors’ No. 8 hitter, sophomore Austin Weis, had two hits and drove in two runs as BOLD won its first baseball title. Senior Tyler Seehusen ended his prep career with style, going 2-for-2 with two walks and he scored two of the Warriors’ runs.
“It’s fun to end the season winning,” Seehusen said, one of just two seniors, along with Tyler Rock, among BOLD’s starting nine.
“Only one team gets this feeling.”
BOLD seemed destined to be that team from the moment the playoffs started. They outscored their postseason opponents 69-7 and their three state tournament foes 28-4.
Defensively, the committed eight errors in eight games – three coming in one section game – and made just three in three state tournament games.
But it was on the mound that the Warriors won their championship. Junior Riley Kramer was 4-0 in the postseason, with 15 strikeouts in 26 innings and a 0.80 earned-run average. He no-hit Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s, then the No. 1 team in Class A, in the sections and he won BOLD’s section title game. Hard to beat that, but Sandgren did.
The junior lefthander threw two postseason no-hitters, including one in the state quarterfinals, and he allowed just one earned run and three hits going 4-0. His postseason ERA was 0.28 and he struck out 30 in 25 innings. He had another no-hit bid broken up in the seventh inning of a section game and Osakis didn’t get its lone hit until the sixth inning on Monday.
And, as he has throughout the tournament, he credited everyone but himself.
“I just threw the ball wherever the catcher wanted it,” he said, “and the defense behind me just sucked up everything.”
“He’s a stud, he’s a ballplayer and he’s a competitor,” Kingery said. “That’s the thing about him: If you put him on the ice in hockey or if you put him on a football field, he’s going to do the same thing. Logan is a competitor.”
The Warriors’ pitching excellence lifted huge loads off the rest of the team, Seehusen said.
“We get one or two runs, we’ve got a really good feeling about that game,” Seehusen said. “We’re in the driver’s seat.”
That was the case Monday. The Warriors got a feel for Silverstreaks starter Jordan Frederick in the first inning, and then posted the all-important first run in the second.
Seehusen led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Sawyer Tersteeg’s ground out. Weis came to the plate and punched a single to left-center field to get the Warriors the only run they’d need.
“I saw the first strike and then just kind of laid the bat down on it and it got through, Weis said.
Weis came into the state tournament hitting .342 and the high-pressure atmosphere didn’t faze him. He was 3-for-9 (.333) with 4 RBIs and he scored two runs in three state tournament games.
“Look at today,” Kingery said. “Our No. 8 hitter goes 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs. Weis came up huge and he’s only a sophomore. Guys got on base and he knocked them in. You’ve got to be proud of the kid.”
But Frederick and the Streaks didn’t go down easily. They had runners on second and third in the first but Sandgren wiggled out of the mini-jam. The Streaks had two runners on again in the second but Warriors catcher Trent Athmann threw to Kramer at third base to cut down the Streaks’ Austin Rollag trying to steal third to end the inning.
And in the sixth, the Streaks put two more runners on — including Douglas Kimmel, who broke up Sandgren’s no-hit bid with a single to center — but Sandgren got a pop fly to short to end that inning.
“They’re very deserving of this,” said Frederick, who allowed two earned runs in five innings. “They were coming into the game off three no-hitters. We wanted to get that first hit and get something going. It just didn’t come soon enough.”
Frederick did a good job short-circuiting potential big innings from BOLD, which stranded 10 runners. But Seehusen said the Warriors were confident they would break through eventually against the 9-1 Streaks ace.
“He throws hard but that’s the kind of pitcher we like,” Seehusen said. “We like the hard, straight fastball that he threw. We fought off his slow stuff and hit his fastball.”
After Sandgren set the Streaks down in order in the seventh and the celebration began, the realization set in that a repeat is a definite possibility. The Warriors lose two key seniors, Seehusen and Rock, who was red hot throughout the postseason and had the game-winning, three-run triple in the section championship game.
But the Warriors will return to defend their championship with their top two pitchers and five other starters.
“This feels good,” Sandgren said. “We’ve got a lot of good players back. Next year? Hopefully, we’ll be right back here.”
“We are a young team and our composure was unreal,” Kingery said. “Once we got settled in today, we were good to go. It’s one of those things where I’m proud of my kids and they played great.”
But a repeat isn’t something you can think about a year off, he said. As an example, take his team, which entered the postseason with a 10-8 record and a third-place finish in the West Central South Conference.
“You’d like to think you’ll be good but so many things can happen,” Kingery said. “What if you have injuries or something else happens? At this level, all the teams are good and little things can make a big difference. When you get the opportunity, you have to make the best of it.”
The 2013 BOLD Warriors certainly seized theirs.
BOLD 3, Osakis 0
BOLD (18-6) 010 101 0 — 3 8 1
Osakis (20-3) 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
HITTING – BOLD: Trent Athmann 0-4, Lane Stadther 1-4, Trevor Nissen 0-3, Riley Kramer 1-4 2b, Tyler Seehusen 2-2 2-runs, Logan Sandgren 1-4 2b, Sawyer Tersteeg 1-4 run, Austin Weis 2-3 sb 2-rbi, Tyler Rock 0-1, Ben Steffel 0-0 … Osakis: Douglas Zimmel 1-3
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — BOLD: Sandgren (W) 7-1-0-0-5-6 … Osakis: Jordan Frederick (L) 5-7-3-2-3-2, Kilar Zimmel 2-1-0-0-2-1