Class A State Baseball: BOLD unloads, Sandgren shines
JORDAN — It’s been a numbers game for Logan Sandgren and the BOLD Warriors baseball team in six postseason games this season.
Sandgren was 4-for-4 with three runs batted in, and for the second-straight game, the junior left-hander threw a no-hitter in BOLD’s 13-0 victory over the Class A state tournament’s No. 1 seed Wabasha-Kellogg on Thursday at the Mini Met.
In fact, it was BOLD’s third postseason no-hitter — Riley Kramer tossed a no-no against Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s, then the state’s top-ranked Class A team, in the Section 2A playoffs. In six playoffs games, the Warriors have outscored their opponents 54-3.
But the numbers the Warriors keep coming back to for motivation are 0-2. That was the key stat they took away from their trip to the 2012 Class A state tournament: losses to Blackduck and New York Mills.
“We’re in that nice groove right now and we’ve got the mindset that we just have to make it to Target Field (location of Monday’s state title games),” said Sandgren, who will return to play right field as Kramer takes the mound against defending state champ St. Agnes, a 1-0 winner over Windom, in today’s semifinals game at noon at the Mini Met.
Osakis and New York Mills play in the other semifinal, scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. The championship game is 10 a.m. on Monday at Target Field in Minneapolis.
“You have to make an appearance at state,” he said. “You can’t just have two straight losses like that.”
“Last year is a motivation thing,” said BOLD catcher Trent Athmann. “Last year, we were so stunned we made it we didn’t quite show up the way we wanted to.”
BOLD head coach Brian Kingery had the cure for that, bringing his pumped-up team together right after the Warriors won the 2A championship game, Athmann said.
“He came into the huddle,” Athmann said, “and he said, ‘Boys, we’re not done. This isn’t all that we’re aiming for this year,’ ”
Kingery had the team peaking perfectly, even as the Warriors lost their final two regular-season games to Class AA teams. BOLD fell 9-8 to a 12-8 Minnewaska team and 6-5 in eight innings to 17-4 Morris/Chokio-Alberta. Both teams played deep into their section playoffs.
“In both those games, we crushed the ball,” Kingery said. “The thing about our lineup is that there’s not one guy where you think, that’s a weak link. We’ve got nine guys who can hit the baseball. That makes it tough on pitchers because you don’t get those easy outs. If they attack us, we’ll hit it.”
And attack they did Thursday, even though it took a few innings to get rolling.
The Warriors left a man on in the first, and in the second they put three runners on but Tyler Seehusen was thrown out at the plate and BOLD stranded two more. They finally broke through in the third, scratching out a run on a W-K throwing error trying get a stealing Sandgren, and in the fourth the Falcons felt the full wrath of the Warriors’ offense, most of it coming with two outs.
Trevor Nissen and Seehusen drove in runs, Sandren brought home two more with a single and No. 8 hitter Austin Weis singled home another.
The Falcons changed pitchers and it didn’t matter one lick. Athmann greeted the new arm with a two-run double. Tyler Rock, who started the big inning with a lead-off double, walked in his second plate appearance of the inning and came around to score again on a W-K fielding error. The Falcons, who had lost once in 18 games, were cooked.
The Warriors offense brutalized Falcons’ starter Will Greenheck and reliever Cory Loechler, who both came into the tournament with 6-0 records and sub-1.00 ERAs. Greenheck gave up seven earned runs in 4.2 innings and Loechler surrendered two in 1.1 relief innings. BOLD tacked on four more runs in the sixth and final inning.
“I know we’re a good-hitting team,” Seehusen said. “We have a bunch of talent and we’re starting to use it. We always knew we could hit and now everybody is coming through with big hits.”
It’s icing when Kramer and Sandgren are shutting down their counterparts with unheard-of efficiency.
Sandgren, who struck out six, walked a batter in the first inning and promptly picked him off. He walked another in the third and stranded him there and did the same in the fourth. The Falcons never sniffed second base.
About his Johnny Vander Meer-like feat? Sandgren smiled and shrugged.
“I felt like everyone is in the same groove,” he said. “It felt like we’re all in key and we’re ready to go play some baseball.”
Pressed for more, he pushed credit off on his catcher, Athmann.
“I can’t do it without that catcher,” he said. “He’s calling all the pitches.”
Athmann had a shrug for his ace lefty.
“He knew what he wanted throw, he knew what he wanted to throw,” Athmann said with a laugh. “He executed just outstandingly. He threw every pitch exactly where I was set up. He was zoned in. Just unbelievable.”
“It was a great performance,” Kingery said. “He’s 4-for-4, throws a no-hitter. How can you beat that? You can’t write it much better than that. He’s in a groove right now. Hopefully, we get to use him again on Monday.”
BOLD 13, Wabasha-Kellogg 0
BOLD 000 184 — 13 11 0
W-K 000 000 — 0 0 5
HITTING – BOLD: Trent Athmann 1-4 2-rbi, Lane Stadther 1-4 run, Trevor Nissen -2 run rbi, Riley Kramer 2-4 2-runs, Tyler Seehusen 1-3 2-runs rbi, Logan Sandgren 4-4 run 3-rbi, Sawyer Tersteeg 0-2 2-runs, Austin Weis 1-3 2-runs rbi, Tyler Rock 1-2 2-runs, Ben Steffel 0-0 … Wabasha-Kellogg: no hits
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — BOLD: Sandgren (W) 6-0-0-0-3-6 … Wabasha-Kellogg: Will Greenheck (L) 4.2-8-9-7-4-3, Cory Loechler 1.1-3-4-2-2-0