BASEBALL: Blackduck falls in first round of state tournament
JORDAN — During Wednesday night’s banquet for all of the state high school tournament baseball teams and their coaches, Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan congratulated the participants and offered some advice: No matter what happens during the tournament, they already had earned the right to define their seasons as successes.
For Blackduck, taking Ryan’s advice to heart was the best the Drakes could do following Thursday’s Class A quarterfinal game.
The Drakes dropped their state tournament opener 10-0 to Osakis.
“Before the tournament I told the kids that the only team that could beat them was themselves and on Thursday they proved me right,” said Blackduck coach Dwight Kalvig. “But, as Terry Ryan said during Wednesday’s banquet, baseball players must always keep their heads up because you play baseball with your head up. And we will.”
The loss dropped Blackduck into today’s 12:30 p.m. consolation bracket game against Floodwood, who fell to New York Mills 6-5 in their quarterfinal contest Thursday. The consolation bracket will be played in Chaska, and if the Drakes win today’s first game they will hit the Chaska Athletic Park field again at 3 p.m. in the consolation final.
On Thursday at the Mini Met in Jordan, Osakis had only six hits but the Drakes walked 10 Silverstreaks hitters and hit two more.
Giving away that many free bases always results in a loss.
“If you are going to walk that many and hit two more against a team the quality of Osakis, you are going to be in trouble,” Kalvig said. “Osakis is a very good team but they had only a couple of solid hits against us. But those hits were big ones because we put runners in position for them.”
The first of the big hits came in the second inning when Jordan Frederick ripped a 2-run double down the left-field line. That blast highlighted a 5-run stanza that essentially put the game out of reach for the Drakes.
“We struggled Thursday and Osakis was able to string some hits together,” said Blackduck first baseman Shane Fenske. “Osakis is a very good team and there is no shame in losing to them. It’s just too bad that we didn’t give them a better game.”
The game began on an ominous note for the Drakes, as both halves of the first inning featured double plays. Blackduck saw its half of the first inning end on the twin-killing while Osakis scored one run in the bottom of the first when the Drakes turned the 4-6-3 double play.
Blackduck was able to escape further harm in the opening stanza but the game got away from the Drakes in the second inning.
A walk, a hit batter and a bunt single loaded the bases. Another walk forced in a runner and Frederick followed with his double. Before the Drakes could stop the bleeding the Silverstreaks scored two more on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.
“I have to tip my hat to Osakis,” Kalvig said. “Their pitchers threw strikes and they took advantage of what we gave them. “In the first inning we did a nice job of getting out of the bases-loaded jam but in the second we made Osakis look good by not being able to throw strikes.”
The trend continued in the third inning as the Silverstreaks turned four walks, one hit, two costly throwing errors and wild pitch into four more runs and a 10-0 lead.
“To be successful at the state tournament level you have to play fundamental baseball and on Thursday we didn’t,” Kalvig said.
Executing the fundamentals has been the key to Blackduck’s success this spring and Fenske believes that the Drakes will fare better today.
“Any time you are at state there will be some nerves and on Thursday I think they got the better of us,” he said. “But we’re going to end the season with pride and see if we can’t take the consolation title. We have the arms and the players to bounce back and I’m sure we’ll have a better showing (Friday).”
Blackduck will take an 18-4 record into today’s consolation round. In Thursday’s other openers unseeded BOLD shocked top-ranked Wabasha-Kellogg 13-0 as BOLD pitcher Logan Sandgren tossed a no-hitter. Thursday’s second game saw St. Agnes blank Windom 1-0.
BOLD and St. Agnes will meet at noon today in Jordan in the first state semifinal while Osakis (19-2) will face the New York Mills winner at 2:30. Those winners will advance to the state title game 10 a.m. Monday at Target Field while the losers will play for third place at 5 p.m. today in Jordan.
In today’s consolation opener Wabasha-Kellogg will square off against Windom at 10 a.m. The consolation semifinal winners will play at 3 p.m. in Chaska for the consolation title.
Osakis 10, Blackduck 0 (5 inns)
Blackduck 000 00 – 0 3 2
Osakis 154 0x – 10 6 1
D.Weisert (L, 6-2), Patch (2), E.Weisert (3) and Bales. K-1, BB-10, HP-2.
Frederick (W, 9-0), K.Zimmel (5) and D.Zimmel. K-6, BB-1.