SPRINGFIELD — Grant Ludwig is a student at St. Cloud State, where he is studying to be a history teacher.
The Lake Henry Laker knew all about his own history in state tournaments. The 2018 Paynesville graduate had been on a pair of state tournament high school teams in St. Cloud, with varying results.
Saturday afternoon, Ludwig added another chapter to his personal history book with a memorable day at the 97th Annual Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
The 20-year-old right-hander pitched well into the sixth inning and had the key two-run single for Lake Henry in a 3-1 win over Midway at Riverside Park.
The victory enables the Lakers to advance to the second weekend of the three-weekend, 48-team team, single-elimination tournament.
Lake Henry plays defending state champion Jordan at 5 p.m. Sunday in Milroy.
Lakers manager Keith Lieser said he had confidence in Ludwig and it’s why he didn’t hesitate to give him the ball for the start on the mound.
“He deserved it,” Lieser said. “He has a lot of experience.”
Ludwig took the loss in the Paynesville Bulldogs’ first-round loss at state in 2017. But things went better in 2018 and he has been a reliable piece to Lake Henry’s improbable Region 15C run after a 2-7 regular season.
“We started off slow,” he said. “We were kind of getting the feel of things.”
Ludwig went 5-2/3 innings. He struck out six, walked one and allowed six hits and one earned run.
He gave way to Farming Flames draftee Tylor Schroeder, who got the hold with 2-1/3 scoreless innings. In the ninth, Elrosa Saints draftee Ethan Vogt was called to close.
The veteran right-hander, a former Minnesota Gopher, who pitched sparingly during the regular season because of walking pneumonia. He walked two and gave up a hit, but earned the save.
“We probably knew it was going to be a close one,” Lieser said. “The guys played well and showed they belong here.”
Lake Henry scored its three runs in the third. The key hit in the inning was a two-run single by Ludwig.
“Fastball,” Ludwig said of the pitch he hit. Ludwig went 3-for-5. Nick Dingman was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI and Adam Miller was 2-for-4.
Next up is Jordan, a state power ranked No. 1 in the state.
Jordan beat the Lakers 4-0 on June 22 in Hamburg at the Miller Lite Invitational. The Lakers, the 2017 state runner-up, were a lot more experienced squad last season. Three of their top hitters from last season — Jason and Josh Kampsen and Aaron Savelkoul — retired.
“I think that’s going to be a tough game,” Ludwig said.
Lake Henry 3,
Lake Henry 003 000 000-3 11 0
Midway 000 100 000-1 10 1
Hitting - Lake Henry: Colin Spooner 1-4, Shane Kampsen 0-2 r bb-2 hbp sb, Mathew Quade 1-5 r, Nick Dingman 2-5 r rbi, Grand Ludwig 3-5 rbi-2, Matthew Lieser 1-5, Sam Hopfer 1-4, Adam Miller 2-4 … Midway: Zach Etter 2-5 rbi 2b-2, Preston Riewer 1-4 bb, Sam Beck 1-4 hbp, Steve Wetterling 0-2 bb-2 hbp, Drew Rasmussen 0-4 bb, Ray Mueller 1-4 hbp, Stetson Burkman 1-2 r, Jake Lund 2-2, Cory Odland 2-4
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Lake Henry: Ludwig (W) 5.2-6-1-1-6, Tylor Schroeder (H) 2.1-3-0-0-0-0, Ethan Vogt (Sv) 1-1-0-0-2-0… Midway: Burkman (L) 2.1-5-3-3-1-3, Austen Maneval 3-2-0-0-1-5, Lund 3-0-0-0-0-6, Etter 1-0-0-0-0-2
Cold Spring 12,
Starbuck 1 (8)
For five scoreless innings, the Starbuck Stars and Cold Spring Rockies were engaged in a classic state tournament game Saturday at Riverside Park.
Then the Rockies opened things up in the sixth. They scored three runs, getting a two-run double by No. 3 hitter David Jonas in the gap in left-center. The laser shot rolled to the fence to make it 3-0.
The floodgates opened in the seventh. Cold Spring scored five runs, four unearned in a nightmare of an inning for the Stars, who made four errors.
The Rockies added fourth in the eighth to put it away.
Meanwhile, Cold Spring left-hander Ryan Hennen dominated. The 22-year-old former University of North Carolina-Greensboro player struck out 13 with no walks. He scattered six hits in the eight-inning complete-game victory.
The loss was disappointing for Starbuck, which qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1999. But, Stars player/manager Mike Andreas wasn’t too disappointed.
“No, not for me,” he said. “I’m disappointed for our fans.
“I wish we could have put on a better show for them.
“But I’m very proud of what this team has accomplished this year.”