The Sacred Heart Eagles and the Fosston Greyhounds met in a rematch of the 2019 Section Championship and the Greyhounds were able to squeak out a 4-3 victory in a top-notch game played at Bemidji State on Saturday. “It was a good baseball game and I knew it would be. We had to play our best to be in the game,” said Sacred Heart Coach Paul Bethke. “We kind of beat ourselves a little bit and made some mistakes we normally don’t and Fosston had something to do with that.”
Sacred Heart started the first inning strong on offense with a lead off single from Cullen Rohrich and a bunt single from Sam Gapp. With one out, they stole second and third, but the Eagles were unable to bring them home. “We didn’t capitalize on our chances early,” said Coach Bethke. “We didn’t get a hit when we needed it.”
Fosston got off to a good start themselves, putting up two runs in the first. Cullen Norland led off with a single and Aaron Norland reached on a misplay on his sacrifice bunt. With both Norland’s in scoring position, Tommy Simonson ripped a double to the right field wall scoring both runners to take the 2-0 lead.
The Eagles got another great start to their inning and this time they were able to capitalize. Nick Brundin led off with a single and then with one out, Caden Reimer walked and Parker Erickson hit a bloop single to load the bases. Cullen Rohrich came back up and he came through with a two-RBI double to tie the game at 2-2. “We came up with a couple good at bats and Cullen had a great game for us today,” said Coach Bethke. “That was big for us to tie it up.”
Breck Bloom settled in on the mound in the bottom of the second and put up the first 1-2-3 inning of the game to keep the game tied heading into the third inning.
The Eagles got a one-out single in the third inning from Isaac Zavoral, but a lineout to the second baseman resulted in an inning-ending double play.
Fosston put together a threat in the bottom of the inning. Cullen Norland was hit by a pitch and stole second base. With one out, Simonson reached on an infield single to get a couple of runners on. Fosston looked to have a base hit to take the lead with two outs, but Rohrich made a great running play in left-center field to prevent two runs from scoring and to keep the game tied through three innings.
In the fourth, Sam Modeen hit a single to left to get another runner on for Sacred Heart, but was subsequently tagged out on the bases, and the Eagles could not get anything else going in the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Lance Balstad hit a grounder to short that took a bad hop resulting in an infield single, but Bloom was able to work around with a pop out and fly out to keep the game at 2-2 after four innings.
Sam Gapp snuck a single through the left side with one out in the fifth for the Eagles and he stole second two pitches later. However, a diving play by Carson Boushee at second base and a fly ball to Boushee ended the inning.
Cullen Norland led off the fifth for Fosston with a walk which prompted a pitching change for the Eagles as they brought in Ethan Arntson. Norland then stole second base and got to third on a sacrifice bunt. With the infield in, Simonson hit a single that landed off Rohrich’s glove in center field, just off the infield dirt but Norland had to hold at third. The Greyhounds took the lead on a sacrifice fly from Noah Mahlen and they added a second run on a single from Evan Chalich to grab a 4-2 lead after five innings.
Sacred Heart got another base hit with one out in the sixth from Nick Brundin. One pitch later, Boushee turned another inning-ending double play on a soft liner to second base to end the inning.
Fosston was able to get a runner to second on an error, but did not advance him any farther as the game remained at 4-2 heading into the final inning.
Heading into the seventh inning, Sacred Heart needed at least two runs to keep the game going. Caden Reimer was able to work a lead off walk to bring the tying run to the plate for the Eagles. After a flyout to center field, Rohrich was able to draw a walk to put the tying run on first with one out. Sam Gapp followed by getting hit by a pitch and the Eagles loaded the bases without a hit. The Greyhounds elected to make a pitching change with Chalich relieving Cullen Norland. After the pitching change, Gage Wavra hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score a run and advance Rohrich to third. “We had the part of the order up we wanted in that situation,” said Coach Bethke. “We came up a little short, but give credit to Fosston.” After Gapp stole second, Chalich induced a ground ball to second to end the game with the tying run 90 feet away from scoring giving Fosston the 4-3 victory.
Sacred Heart falls to 16-5 on the season. They will play on Tuesday at 4 pm against the winner of Win-E-Mac and Kittson County Central at Bemidji State.
Fosston improves to 17-5 this year. They advance to the Section Championship game on Thursday where they will have to be beat twice by the last of the other three teams playing on Tuesday. “We are still alive and live to see another day,” said Coach Bethke. “We will come back Tuesday and we told the guys we only have to win three games to get to state. We will have all of our pitchers available on Tuesday except for Bloom so we will be ready to go next week.”
|Breck Bloom – Sacred Heart||4.0||4||3||2||2||5|
|Ethan Arntson- Sacred Heart||2.0||2||1||1||0||0|
|Aaron Norland – Fosston||6.1||10||3||3||3||3|
|Evan Chalich- Fosston||0.2||0||0||0||0||0|
For SACRED HEART –
Nick Brundin- 2 for 3, run
Cullen Rohrich- 2 for 3
Sam Gapp- 2 for 3, 3 stolen bases
Caden Reimer- 1 for 2, 2 runs
For FOSSTON –
Cullen Norland- 1 for 2, 2 runs, 3 stolen bases
Tommy Simonson- 3 for 3, 2 RBI, run
Evan Chalich and Lance Balstad- 1 hit each