Mustangs make it back-to-back state titles


The Mounds View Mustangs earned their second consecutive Class AAA state championship June 17 at Target Field in Minneapolis. (photos courtesy of Larry Carnahan)

Pitching is the foundation of any championship baseball team and the Mounds View High School squad showed why during the state tournament. The Mustangs gave up just one run over 21 innings to claim their second consecutive state title.

Mounds View clinched the championship with a 9-0 victory over Eden Prairie on June 17 at Target Field. Sam Hentges threw a five-hit, complete-game shutout to run his scoreless-inning streak to 14 innings in the state tournament.

“Phenomenal pitching,” said Mounds View head coach Mark Downey. “It’s hard to win as an opponent when you can’t score runs.”

Hentges increased his record to 3-0 in the state tournament over the past two seasons. Mounds View catcher Wyatt Meyer caught all 14 of Hentges’ innings in the tournament and couldn’t have asked for a better performance.

“Sam hammered the strike zone for me,” Meyer said. “It felt really good for him throwing strikes.”

Hentges was a little wild early as he gave up a hit in the first inning and two walks in the second. To go with the walks in the second, he also struck out three batters.

He helped himself early with a double to right-center field in the bottom of the first inning. Charlie Callahan followed with a triple to left field to drive in courtesy runner Joe Janey.

As the game progressed, Hentges seemed to zero in and by the sixth inning was in a groove.

Meanwhile, the offense had managed to put up only one run so the game was still squarely in doubt despite the pitching of Hentges. That all changed in the sixth inning.

Mounds View (21-6) scored eight runs in the sixth as it pounded out six hits and also benefitted from a pair of walks and a pair of errors. Alec Abercrombie got the ball rolling with a lead-off single. Chance Carnahan, Joe Fredrickson, Hentges, Callahan and Meyer also singled in the inning and Meyer and Ryan Plasencia drew walks.

In a bit of a quirk, Jeff LeMay scored twice in the sixth inning even though he never had an at-bat. LeMay scored the second run after being inserted as a courtesy runner for Meyer and also scored the last run of the inning after pinch-running for Callahan.

With the length of the bottom of the sixth, there was speculation that Hentges might be done, but that wasn’t the case. He wrapped up the game and the title by inducing a groundout to Fredrickson at shortstop.

“I was asked a couple times by coach if I wanted the ball and I said yes every time,” Hentges said. “I really wanted to close out this season.”

For players like Hentges, Callahan and Abercrombie, this is their second trip down this road—being major contributors on a state championship team.

“Obviously it’s an incredible feeling,” Hentges said. “Having won back-to-back state championships is unbelievable, especially with the group of guys we have.”

That group of guys also includes some who were on last year’s team but didn’t play as big of a role. Plasencia’s assignment in 2013 was mostly as a courtesy runner, so this year’s title ranks higher.

“For me personally, it feels a lot more special because last year I just ran the bases,” Plasencia said. “This year, to really be a part of it, to start and feel like a major contributor is fun. It feels great.”

Meyer probably summed it up best of all.

“It’s unbelievable,” Meyer said. “Two state championships in a row. What more can you ask for?”

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.


Eight-run inning sets record

The eight runs that Mounds View put up in the sixth inning of the state title game last week was the highest single-inning total in the five years that the state baseball championship games have been played at Target Field.
Here’s a breakdown of what happened in the inning that saw the Mustangs increase their lead from 1-0 to 9-0.

•  Alec Abercrombie led off with a single

•  Wyatt Meyer walked, moving Abercrombie to second

•  A passed ball moved Abercrombie to third and Jeff LeMay, who ran for Meyer, to second

•  Chance Carnahan reached on an infield single

•  Ethan Madsen walked to drive in Abercrombie and move LeMay to third and Carnahan to second

•  Ryan Plasencia reached on a fielder’s choice. LeMay scored, Carnahan took third and Madsen moved to second

•  Tucker Gran hit a sacrifice fly to score Carnahan and move Madsen to third

•  Joe Fredrickson singled to score Madsen and move Plasencia to third

•  Sam Hentges singled to score Plasencia and move Fredrickson to second

•  Charlie Callahan singled to score Fredrickson and move Joe Janey, who ran for Hentges, to second

•  Janey moved to third on a wild pitch

•  Abercrombie struck out

•  Meyer singled to move LeMay, who ran for Callahan, to third

•  LeMay scored and Jeremiah Bonde, who ran for Meyer, took third on a throwing error

•  Carnahan struck out

 

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