No title but another trophy for Mounds View

Mounds View High School Mustangs baseball team. (Photo courtesy of Jim Blood)
Mounds View High School Mustangs baseball team. (Photo courtesy of Jim Blood)

 

In winning two consecutive state championships and advancing to a third straight state tournament, the Mounds View High School baseball team has won its share of tight ballgames over the past three seasons. Just to get to state this year, the Mustangs had three walk-off wins in the section playoffs and two of those were come-from-behind victories.

So it wasn't a surprise that after entering the bottom of the seventh down three runs in the state quarterfinals, Mounds View had a chance to tie it. The surprise was that the Mustangs were unable to come up the needed hit.

"I think they believed it was going to happen," said Mounds View head coach Mark Downey. "I certainly believed it was going to happen. We certainly had our chance."

Northfield became the only team to beat Mounds View in a state-tournament game in the past three years when it held on for the victory on June 12 at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. The Raiders prevented Mounds View from winning a third straight state title, something that hasn't been done in Minnesota high school baseball since 1998.

Following the defeat, Mounds View rebounded to win twice on June 13 at Siebert Field in Minneapolis and claim the consolation (fifth place) trophy.

Here’s a brief look at each of Mounds View’s games in the tournament

Quarterfinals — Northfield

The Raiders used Mounds View's own formula against it in picking up a 3-2 win on a perfect sunny afternoon for baseball. They played mistake-free baseball and were opportunistic offensively. Northfield scored twice in the top of the fourth and added an insurance run in the fifth.

In the fourth, Northfield used a triple, two singles and a Mounds View error to score twice. A walk, a sacrifice and a double were enough for the Raiders to push another run across in the fifth inning.

On the mound, Northfield sophomore Hunter Koep was solid in shutting out Mounds View for six innings. He ran into some trouble in the seventh and was charged with both of the Mustangs' runs.

"He's only a sophomore and he’s got a bright future," Downey said of Koep.

Koep also benefitted from solid defensive play behind him.

"Sometimes the hard-hit balls get caught like they were today," said Downey. "They made some great plays in the field."

Mounds View finally got something going against Koep in the seventh thanks to Tyler Fredlund. The Mustangs' leadoff hitter sliced a ball down the left-field line and eventually ended up on third with a triple while driving in Joe Janey, who reached on a one-out walk.

Fredlund came home with Mounds View's second run thanks to Alec Abercrombie's two-out single. That left it up to Charlie Callahan, who had plenty of success hitting at CHS Field this season. He had a triple in a regular-season game against Park Center and homered in the section final but this time the magic wasn't there. He grounded into a fielder’s choice that forced Abercrombie at second base and gave Northfield the victory.

"Congratulations to them," said Downey. "They played a great game. They're certainly very worthy of winning the game."

Mounds View amassed seven hits off Northfield's two pitchers and Fredlund had four of them. He finished the game 4-for-4 with a triple, two doubles and a bunt single. He scored one run and drove in another.

Henry DeCaster, making his first pitching appearance in a state-tournament game, suffered his first loss of the season. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out eight.

The loss was Mounds View’s first post-season defeat since losing to Cretin-Derham Hall in the section playoffs in 2013. The Mustangs rebounded from that loss and beat CDH in the section final to advance to the state tournament.

"This game doesn’t define them," Downey said. "They’ve had a great career and a great season."

Northfield followed up the victory with a 5-3 loss to Lakeville South in the semifinals and a 6-4 loss to Robbinsdale Armstrong in the third-place game.

Chanhassen and Lakeville North met Monday night at Target Field for the state championship. Results were not available for this edition of the Bulletin.

Consolation semifinals — Anoka

The Mustangs had about 20 hours to put the loss behind them before they had to take the diamond at Siebert Field, home of the University of Minnesota baseball team, in a consolation semifinal. Awaiting Mounds View was Anoka, which lost 3-0 to Lakeville South in the quarterfinals.

Mounds View was able to shake off the disappointment of the previous day and beat the Tornadoes 3-2.

Anoka took the initial lead with a run in the third inning off Mounds View starter Jeremiah Bonde but Mounds View responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame.

Ryan Nickel and Abercrombie lead off the inning with back-to-back singles before Callahan made it three straight hits and plated Nickel. Wyatt Meyer then doubled to score Abercrombie and move Callahan to third. Callahan later scored on Bo Lovdahl's sacrifice fly.

The other Lovdahl on the roster, Nick, came up with a pair of defensive gems that kept Mounds View in the lead. He threw out runners at the plate in both the fifth and seventh innings as Mounds View clung to a one-run lead. The play in the seventh inning ended the game.

Bonde picked up the victory by going five innings. He gave up two runs, both earned, on nine hits. He walked two and struck out two. Callahan relieved Bonde in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings to earn the save. Callahan gave up two hits, walked none and struck out two.

Consolation final — St. Michael-Albertville

In the consolation final later in the day at Siebert Field, Mounds View faced St. Michael-Albertville. The Knights ended up in the consolation final after losing 1-0 in nine innings to Chanhassen in the quarterfinals and beating Mahtomedi 5-3 in the consolation semifinals.

Mounds View never trailed STMA in its 8-3 victory. The Mustangs pounded out 15 hits and got their second 4-for-4 game of the tournament thanks to Abercrombie. Included in his four hits were a double and a triple and he also scored two runs and stole a base.

Seven different Mustangs were credited with a run batted in. Fredlund continued his hot bat with three hits and Bo Lovdahl also had three hits. Joe Fredrickson crossed the plate three times.

Four different pitchers appeared in the game for Mounds View. Josh Gaworski started and went three innings. Erik Holloman went 1 2/3 and picked up the victory. Drew Gran and Callahan also took their turns on the hill.

Mounds View finishes the season with a record of 24-3, the best mark in their three-year run of state appearances.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


Class AAA state
baseball tournament

Quarterfinals
Game 1 — Northfield 3, Mounds View 2
Game 2 — Lakeville North 3, Anoka 0
Game 3 — Chanhassen 1, St. Michael-Albertville 0, 9 innings
Game 4 — Robbinsdale Armstrong 2, Mahtomedi 1

Semifinals
Game 5 — Lakeville North 5, Northfield 3
Game 6 — Chanhassen 7, Robbinsdale Armstrong 2

Consolation semifinals
Game 7 — Mounds View 3, Anoka 2
Game 8 — St. Michael-Albertville 5, Mahtomedi 3

Consolation final
Game 9 — Mounds View 8, St. Michael-Albertville 3

Third-place game
Game 10 — Robbinsdale Armstrong 6, Northfield 4

Championship game
Game 11 — Lakeville North vs. Chanhassen

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