State Class A baseball: Adrian captures third place

DAILY GLOBE CHASKA -- Two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a 5-5 tie and lifted the Adrian Dragons to a third-place finish Friday in the Minnesota state Class A high school baseball tournament.The Dragons defeated Hinckley-Finlayson...

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOYCE MCCARTHY Members of the 2016 Adrian Dragons baseball team display their third-place trophy Friday in Chaska.


CHASKA - Two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a 5-5 tie and lifted the Adrian Dragons to a third-place finish Friday in the Minnesota state Class A high school baseball tournament.
The Dragons defeated Hinckley-Finlayson 7-5 in the third-place game after losing to Springfield 5-4 earlier Friday in the semifinals.
The loss to Springfield, which put a sudden end to the Dragons’ dreams of a championship season, wasn’t easy to overcome. But they had to get over it quickly.
“For the Springfield game, the place was packed and it was loud,” AHS head coach Kevin Nowotny recalled.
But the third-place game was different. “It seemed just like a regular season game,” said the veteran coach.
Even so, the Dragons were able to score two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning against Hinckley-Finlayson to break a 5-5 tie and end the season in good spirits.
To get mentally prepared for the last game, Nowotny said, “It took us a while. We had to start the game about 15 minutes after we got beat. We didn’t have time to think.”
Adrian finished the year with a 21-8 record.
Springfield 5, Adrian 4
Springfield, which lost to New Life Academy 6-5 in eight innings in the 2015 state championship game, will play Parkers Prairie in the 2016 title contest Monday at 10 a.m. at Target Field.
The Dragons’ loss to Springfield denied them a game at the Minnesota Twins’ home field, and it occurred after they scored two runs in the top of the first inning for a quick 2-0 lead. Springfield answered with three runs in the bottom of the first against AHS ace hurler Logan Rogers and never trailed.
Nowotny had originally planned to start a different pitcher against Springfield, but he changed his mind.
“We just decided - Rogers had seven innings left, he told us, and he wanted the ball. He was tired. He wasn’t nearly as sharp as he’d been,” said the coach.
Zach Loosbrock’s two-run double got the Dragons started. But the Tigers answered with three runs of their own highlighted by an RBI double by Jaden Mickelson.
“(Rogers) came out after the first inning and said his fastball had nothing. He threw a lot of knuckle balls and curves ... trying to buy him some time,” Nowotny said.
Springfield scored another run in the bottom of the second, then added another in the fourth to go up 5-2.
The Dragons fought back in the fifth with a pair of runs. They did it without a hit, using an error, a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and two balks by Springfield starter Sam Baier.
Neither team scored after that. AHS went down in order in the sixth. In the seventh, one batter reached on a hit-by-pitch but never advanced past first base.
Rogers, who dominated opposing hitters all spring, allowed 11 hits in six innings of work, walking one and striking out six. Baier went the full seven innings, giving up just three hits, walking two, hitting four batters and striking out eight.
Adrian 200 020 - 4 3 1
Springfield 310 100 x - 5 11 1
Third place
Adrian 7, H-F 5
The third-place game began with another wild first inning. Hinckley-Finlayson erupted for three, using three hits to get to starting pitcher Landon Rogers. Adrian erupted for five in the bottom of the frame.
Alex Loosbrock drove in two runs with a single. Mitchell Wagner drove in another run with a single and Zach Hendel tripled home two more.
Hinckley-Finlayson scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, which tied the score at 5-5. Adrian then took over in the bottom of the sixth, again scoring without a hit. Two errors, a hit batter and two walks told the story.
Alex Loosbrock, who took over for starter Landon Rogers in the first, finished his day with five and two-thirds innings pitched, allowing three hits and two earned runs. Landon Rogers had two runs charged to him in one-third of an inning. Logan Rogers pitched the final inning, allowing one hit and striking out one, and was officially credited with the win.
Nowotny said Logan Rogers, who had already been a workhorse before the state tournament started, threw 182 pitches over two days. But he wanted to enter the game in the seventh, and did his job well.
Travis Visser took the loss for Hinckley-Finlayson. He was unable to escape the first inning.
H-F 300 011 0 - 5 6 3
Adrian 500 002 x - 7 6 1


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