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AMATEUR BASEBALL: Barnstormers lose to Shakopee in state title game

For the third straight year in a row the Southwest Barnstormers reached the amateur baseball AA Senior State Championship title game, but like last season the team came up short and finished as runner-ups to Shakopee.

"We were second out of 32 teams," stated player/coach Tarry Boelter. "We have been 10-2 the last three years in the state tournament. Last year we lost a tough game 1-0, but this year Shakopee took it to us and were the better team today."

Barnstormers 4, Lake 2

SHAKOPEE -- The Barnstormers defeated No. 13 seed Lonsdale in the opening round, 6-0, and upset the No. 2 seed Searles 1-0 last Sunday to put them in the semifinals against Prior Lake, the No. 1 seed who was 17-1 on the season.

Southwest fell behind 2-0 after five innings as the team committed two costly errors, but rallied back with the help of several Lakers miscues to win in extra innings.

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the sixth the Barnstormers mounted their rally. Todd Armstrong reached on a fielder's choice and eventually came around on a throwing error to bring Southwest within one at 2-1.

In the seventh inning, Ryan Beers walked, Rob Petersen lined out to centerfield, Chuck Sendelbach reached on an infield error and Tarry Boelter walked to load the bases with one out.

Kevin Nowotny lined a 3-2 pitch to centerfield tying the game, but Sendelbach was gunned down at the plate. Lefthander Mike Fier retired the next batter to get out of the inning with the game tied at 2-2.

Mike Wenninger -- who was spectacular on the mound for the Barnstormers -- mowed down the Lakers in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings. Wenninger tossed all eight innings, allowing no earned runs, fanning 11, walking two and scattering five hits.

The Barnstormers won the game in the eighth. Sam Baumgartner walked, and with one out Wenninger looped a single to right-centerfield, sending Baumgartner to third.

Beers and Petersen both walked and a wild pitch and a groundout by Chuck Sendelbach plated two runs, after which Wenninger shut the door in the bottom of the eighth to send the Barnstormers to the title game.

The Barnstormers managed only four hits on the day.

Kevin Nowotny was 2-for-3 while Tarry Boelter and Wenninger had the other safeties.

Shakopee 10, Barnstormers 1

JORDAN -- The Chiefs took a 4-1 lead after three innings and went on to dominate the Barnstormers, scoring six runs in the fifth inning to break open the game and go on to win the Class AA title.

Rob Petersen took the loss for Southwest as he gave up 11 hits and eight earned runs.

"Not to make excuses, but Rob strained a groin muscle in the third inning and tried to pitch through it," Boelter said. "He was unable to get the ball down in the strike zone after that and Shakopee really swung the bats well."

Baumgartner came in and tossed two innings of shutout ball, but by then the damage was done.

The Barnstormers only score came in the fourth inning. Ryan Beers and Kevin Nowotny singled to left field and with two outs Beers scored on an infield single by Dan Blankenship.

Micky Sehr and Ryan Beers each collected two hits on the day for the Barnstormers.

Brad Keenen was the winning pitcher for Shakopee as he fanned 12, scattering seven hits, while not allowing a walk in a complete-game effort.