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College baseball: Minnesota West eliminated in region tournament

CLOUD -- A promising Region XIII tournament ended in disappointment Friday for the Minnesota West Community and Technical College baseball team, which was eliminated on the tourney's second day by top-seeded St. Cloud Tech 12-0 in five innings.

  1. CLOUD -- A promising Region XIII tournament ended in disappointment Friday for the Minnesota West Community and Technical College baseball team, which was eliminated on the tourney’s second day by top-seeded St. Cloud Tech 12-0 in five innings.

After losing their opener Thursday, 3-2, to seventh-seeded Rainy River and bouncing back late Thursday night -- in a game that ended after midnight -- with a 6-0 win over Ridgewater, the second-seeded Bluejays fell victim to the No. 3-ranked team in the country Friday afternoon.
Sadly, said head coach TD Hostikka, the Jays may have been beaten even before the St. Cloud Tech game began. Hostikka would have started his No. 2 pitcher, Jose Martinez, against the Cyclones, but he was ineligible due to grades. On Monday it was discovered that Martinez, a right-hander from Puerto Rico, would not participate unless a way could be found to reconcile his status.

A reconciliation was not made. Martinez, armed with a 9-4 personal record, could not pitch.

“It was deflating and demoralizing,” said Hostikka. “And (the players) never overcame it, which is unfortunate because they’ve gotta understand there will always be disappointments to overcome in life.”

The Cyclones’ Jonathan Sodergren was the winning pitcher, hurling the first four innings. Minnesota West used four pitchers -- Raynee Cruz, Nathan Braaksma, Decker Quintana and Chase Remme.

West collected just four hits in the game, one each by Andres Lopez, Gustavo Landin, Izak Davenport and Eric Dominguez. They were all singles, and in all four cases, they were erased by double plays.

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The Bluejays never got a base runner past first base.

In the earlier game with Ridgewater, top Minnesota West pitcher Eric Alicea handcuffed the Warriors through seven inning on two hits. He walked two and struck out eight to move his personal record to 11-0. In the win, he established a new school record for strikeouts, with 91 (in 68 innings pitched).

The Jays also were 8-for-8 in stolen bases.

Landin, Lopez, Rey Torre and Edwin Negron had two hits apiece.

With Friday’s loss, Minnesota West exits the 2017 season after setting a school record for wins, with 28. The pitching staff recorded 101 more strikeouts than it did in 2016 and finished No. 1 in strikeouts in the MCAC. Alicea and Martinez earned All-Division and All-State honors and Alicea was All-Region.

Losing on Friday was tough, admitted Hostikka.

“Very tough. Very tough,” he said. But he tried to dwell on more positive things that the team experienced in 2017.

“A lot of really, really positive things. Nobody wants to finish on a losing note, but we accomplished a lot of really good things,” said the coach.

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Ridgewater 000 000 000 -- 0 2 4Minnesota West 120 201 00x -- 6 11 2---St. Cloud Tech 202 80 -- 12 6 1Minnesota West 000 00 -- 0 4 4

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