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Town Ball: Bird Island Bullfrogs advance to quarterfinals

Bullfrogs beat Watkins 1-0 in 13 innings at state tournament

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Bird Island's Jordan Sagedahl is congratulated by teammates after scoring the winning run in the Bullfrogs' 1-0 victory in 13 innings over the Watkins Clippers Saturday in Springfield. Tom Elliott / West Central Tribune

SPRINGFIELD — As accomplishments go, Josh Kingery wasn’t sure where to rank this one.

The 17-year-old left-hander had just won a classic state amateur baseball tournament game.

He went 4-1/3 innings in relief, allowing one hit, to help the Bird Island Bullfrogs beat the Watkins Clippers 1-0 in 13 innings.

Kingery, a draft pick from the Atwater Chuckers and a senior-to-be at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School, had never pitched in a state tournament before.

“It’s hard to say,” said Kingery, who struck out five and walked two, using a fastball that reaches in the upper 80s. “It’s definitely in the top five.”

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Bird Island plays the Young America Cardinals at 3 p.m. Sunday in Milroy. Young America beat Union Hill, 6-0. If the Bullfrogs win that one, they play again at 6 p.m. in the state Class C semifinals. The championship is 1 p.m. Monday in Springfield.

Bird Island scored the game’s only run in the top of the 13th. Jordan Sagedahl, the 2020 BOLD High School graduate on his way to South Dakota State on a baseball scholarship, tripled over the center fielder’s head. At Riverside Park, there’s a lot of real estate in center, which is 452 feet from home plate, farther than any center field in the major leagues.

Tyler Hebrink, the Bullfrogs’ No. 3 hitter, the head baseball coach at Ridgewater College and a former Watkins Clipper, then lofted a high fly ball to center, enabling Sagedahl to easily score on a sacrifice fly.

“That was a great team victory,” Bird Island manager Mike Nagel said. “This one’s all about the team.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to Watkins. They definitely shut us down. It was one of those games where neither team deserves to lose. Both teams played really well. But I’m certainly glad we came out on top.”

The teams traded zeros on the electronic scoreboard in right through 12 innings. Bird Island right-hander Logan Nissen and Watkins left-hander Matt Geislinger both dominated.

Nissen, who gave up five hits through the first two innings, wound up going 8-2/3 innings, striking out eight, walking one and scattering nine hits. In 16-2/3 tournament innings, the senior-to-be at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato has yet to give up a run.

Geislinger, a 25-year-old former Minnesota State-Mankato and Willmar Stinger pitcher, may have been even more impressive. He threw back-to-back complete-game shutouts going into Saturday’s game. The run in the 13th is the only one he has allowed in 31 state-tournament innings.

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Against Bird Island, he struck out 19, walked no one and allowed eight hits, throwing 184 pitches. Also the Clippers’ manager, he said afterward there was no way he was coming out of the game. He also said he would have been ready to pitch Sunday if Watkins had won.

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Atwater Chuckers left-hander Josh Kingery is all smiles after winning Saturday as a draftee of the Bird Island Bullfrogs at the state tournament. Tom Elliott / West Central Tribune

Kingery, the son of ACGC head coach Mike Kingery, came on with two outs in the ninth and one runner on.

“I was a little bit nervous coming into the game,” he said. “But once I got into the game, I did what I’ve done before.”

He pitched well. And Bird Island fielded well, turning a couple of double plays and getting some exclamation-point catches from Sagedahl in second, not to mention left fielder Logan Swann.

Nagel, who said he has never advanced this far in state before, said he will throw Casey Lewandowski in Sunday’s first game.

“We have plenty of pitching,” Nagel said.

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The Bullfrogs also have draftees Tyler Vaughn of the Milroy Yankees and Alex Lotthammer of the Raymond Rockets, as well as Bullfrogs, Brad Gass, Eric Gass, Luke Kramer, Jesse Bjur and Sagedahl, who helped pitch BOLD to a state high school championship in 2019.

Bird Island 1,
Watkins 0 (13)

Bird Island 000 000 000 000 1-1 8 1
Watkins 000 000 000 000 0-0 10 2
Hitting - Bird Island: Jordan Sagedahl 1-5 r 3b sac, Tyler Hebrink 1-5 rbi sf, Dylan Gass 1-6, Colten Minkel 2-5 sb-2, Logan Swann 1-5, Shawn Dollerschell 2-5 2b … Watkins: Kevin Kramer 1-6, Lincoln Haugen 2-6, Matt Geislinger 0-4 bb hbp, Carter Block 1-6, Dan Berg 2-4 bb, Heath Kramer 1-3 bb, Carson Geislinger 1-5, Nolan Geislinger 2-5

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Bird Island: Logan Nissen 8.2-9-0-0-1-8, Josh Kingery (W) 4.1-1-0-0-25- … Watkins: M. Geislinger (L) 13-8-1-1-0-19

090620.S.WCT.Bird Island Nissen.JPG
Bird Island right-hander Logan Nissen fires a pitch Saturday in the state tournament at Riverside Park in Springfield. Nissen didn't allow a run in 8-2/3 innings. Tom Elliott / West Central Tribune

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