The Sacred Heart Eagles defended their Section 8A Championship behind a shutout pitching performance by Brenden Bethke in a 3-0 win over the Fosston Greyhounds in a game played at MEC Park in Thief River Falls.
With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Sacred Heart starting pitcher Brenden Bethke helped out his cause at the plate hitting a high, fly ball that bounced off the top of the right-field fence and landed past it for a solo home run giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead into the second inning. “It was huge,” noted Sacred Heart head coach Paul Bethke after his team took an early lead. “It was one of the things I felt we needed to do was score early. We just play better. Everybody does if that happens. With him throwing, we’re way more comfortable with that.” After allowing a single in the second inning, Bethke was dialed in on the mound cruising from the rubber while protecting his 1-0 lead. “(Brenden) pretty much stayed around the strike zone all day,” explained Bethke. “It’s probably better for him to have them put the ball in play. They’re a good hitting team. He worked himself out of any trouble that they had him in. He just loves pitching in these types of games. I don’t really have to say anything to him. He just goes out and does it.”
In the third inning, Fosston’s Tristan Gustafson walked with one out in the inning before stealing second base putting the tying run in scoring position. The Greyhounds stranded Gustafson at second with a pair of pop-ups in the infield ending the inning with Sacred Heart still leading 1-0 into the fourth frame.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Will Rohrich reached on a single to start a rally as the Eagles looked to add some insurance runs to their 1-0 lead. Rohrich advanced to second on a wild pitch before Cullen Rohrich singled into left field scoring Will Rohrich and giving Sacred Heart a 2-0 lead. An error at shortstop extended the inning allowing Cullen Rohrich to score from third base later in the inning giving the Eagles a 3-0 advantage into the seventh inning.”That was the key to the game right there,” added Bethke. “Those two have been doing it all year, coming up with big hits in huge times when we really need it. I felt like that was such a key to the game there, giving us a little cushion to make the next half-inning a little easier. Those runs in the sixth were huge. Any time you can do that it makes things a little tougher (for Fosston). It gave us a little more confidence and then to come out and get a quick out, we just did what we had to do today.”
Fosston was unable to overcome the deficit as Bethke closed out his complete game shutout with a strikeout to end the top of the seventh inning securing Sacred Heart’s second-straight Section 8A championship with a 3-0 win. “We knew they were capable of this,” said Bethke. “It was just a matter of putting it all together. Getting the right people, we had some injuries people were working back from. Everything fell into place at the right time.”
Sacred Heart advances to the State Tournament for the second straight year with seeding to be announced on Saturday. The Eagles will begin their State Tournament down in Jordan, Minnesota on Thursday at, June 13 with the game time and opponent to be determined. KROX will have coverage of every Sacred Heart game in the State Tournament beginning 30-minutes before the scheduled first pitch. You can listen on 1260 AM, www.kroxam.com, the KROX app, or Alexa (Listen to KROX in Crookston).
|Brenden Bethke – SH||7.0||2||0||0||1||5|
|Treydon Boushee – FOS||6.0||6||3||2||1||5|
Noah Mahlen – 1-3, double
Evan Chalich – 1-3
For Sacred Heart
Brenden Bethke – 1-3, HR, RBI, run
Cullen Rohrich – 1-3, RBI