State Class A baseball: Windom no-hit by Wabasha-Kellogg
CHASKA -- Getting only three runners on base during the entire seven innings Friday morning, the Section 3A champion Windom Eagles were eliminated from the 2013 Class A state high school baseball tournament without scoring a run in two games.
Wabasha-Kellogg, the Section 1A champion and the state tournament's top-seeded team, bounced back from its 13-0 opening round defeat to BOLD with a sparkling no-hitter by pitching ace Cody Loechler and blanked the Eagles 5-0 at the Chaska Athletic Park.
"He did a nice job of pitching," summed up Windom head coach Brad Schlomann about Loechler. "He was effectively wild with his fast ball, moving in and out, up and down. He seemed to have us off balance and unsure of ourselves."
The Eagles struck out eight times against Loechler, putting the ball in play for the other 13 outs. Six of Windom's outs were fly balls caught by Falcon outfielders, including four drives to left.
"We hit the ball well a few times, but never could get any offensive rhythm going, as most of our shots were up in the air and caught," Schlomann said. "We pulled a few line drives and hit one deep to left center, but none of them fell in for hits."
Meanwhile, the Eagles were receiving a stellar pitching performance from senior Brandon Thongvivong, who struck out 11 Falcons -- two in each of the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Falcons, who later won the consolation championship with a 2-0 victory over Floodwood and completed the campaign with a shining 19-2 record, only scored one run off Thongvivong over the first six innings.
"Brandon pitched a great game," stressed Schlomann. "He allowed us to stay right with them until things didn't go so well for us in the seventh inning."
At the plate, the Eagles (13-10) had just 23 at bats, being retired in order by Loechler in the second, third, fourth and fifth frames.
Windom's leadoff batter Andy Pfeffer was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first inning, but was thrown out stealing for the frame's third out on a missed hit-and-run play.
In the sixth, No. 8 hitter Jacob Johnson reached base on an error by W-K's first baseman. Johnson later advanced to second base on a wild pitch, putting the potential tying run in scoring position with one out. But a fly out to left field and a pop up to shortstop ended Windom's brief threat.
Thongvivong, hitting in the No. 3 slot, drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but was stranded when Loechler clinched the verdict by striking out the next two Eagles.
W-K scores once in the
fifth, tack on four more
in the top of the seventh
After being held scoreless through the first four innings, the Falcons -- who had loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batter in the third -- plated the game's first run in the top of the fifth.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Will Greenheck and Jack Purvis, were followed by a two-out RBI single by clean up hitter Austin Baab (3-for-3 with a walk) and the Falcons had a 1-0 lead.
Then in the fifth, W-K sent nine hitters to the plate and -- aided by two Eagle errors -- scored four runs on three hits and a pair of walks. A booming double to the gap in right center off the bat of Bryce Breuer was the game's only extra-base hit.
Thongvivong finally ended the frame by striking out Loechler for the third time.
"We were not ourselves as that seventh inning unfolded," summed up Schlomann, who had nothing but praise for his team, including the exceptional leadership of his six graduating seniors.
"These seniors took it tough," Schlomann said. "Not so much losing this game or the one Thursday (to St. Agnes), but having the season end and not being able to play high school baseball for the Eagles again. But, they are such a great group who really cared. I am sure that they will stay in each other's lives and be very successful in whatever they choose to do."
Thongvivong (shortstop-pitcher) Pfeffer (second base), Johnson (left field) Collin Lovell (pitching ace, right field) Travis Janssen (first base) and Danny Kneeland (catcher) are the six senior starters who the Eagles will miss next year.
"I am just so glad that they were able to realize their goal of reaching the state tournament and getting the experience of playing at two beautiful ball parks (Jordan and Chaska) like these two up here," concluded Schlomann, who pitched for Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin in the 1993 state tournament, helping the Wolverines bring home third-place medals.
"Getting the chance to play myself was great, but having the opportunity to coach these guys and see how much they enjoyed all of this was even better."
R H E
Wabasha-Kellogg 000 010 4 -- 5 10 1
Windom 000 000 0 -- 0 0 2