Mustangs a win away from state

In order to have a shot at a third consecutive state championship, the Mounds View High School baseball team needs to win its third straight section title. The Mustangs have two chances at that on Wednesday.

The top-seeded and top-ranked Mustangs, winners of the past two Class AAA state titles, have reached the Section 5AAA final. They play for the section crown on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and even if they lose that game, they’ll get another crack at it later that evening.

Both games take place at CHS Field, the new home of the independent minor league St. Paul Saints.

Mounds View is in the section final thanks to three consecutive come-from-behind victories in the post-season. The latest was Saturday at CHS Field as the Mustangs gave up two first-inning runs before exploding for nine of their own. Mounds View went on to defeat second-seeded Maple Grove 10-4.

The nine-run inning might bring up memories of Mounds View’s eight-run sixth inning against Eden Prairie in the 2014 state title game but there was one interesting feature of Saturday’s single-inning outburst. No player advanced more than one base on any play.

There was no extra-base hits in the inning; no one went from first to third on a base hit or anything like that. It was the epitome of station-to-station baseball.

Tyler Fredlund got things started with a base hit and when it was all over, Mounds View had sent 15 batters to plate, nine scored and four different Crimson pitchers saw time on the mound. The inning featured five hits, four walks and three hit batters.

Mounds View added its only other run in the bottom of the second as Joe Janey drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored on Fredlund’s third hit of the game. At that point, Fredlund was 3-for-3 with two RBI, two runs scored and the defensive gem of the game.

The damage Maple Grove did in the top of the first could have been worse had it not been for Fredlund’s diving catch in left field. The Crimson at the time had a runner on second who would have scored had the ball hit the ground.

Henry DeCaster started on the mound for Mounds View and got hit hard in the first inning but settled down after that. He gave up two more runs in the fourth but they didn’t do anything to change the final outcome. DeCaster improved to 7-0 on the season while striking out five and walking just one.

The loss dropped Maple Grove into the loser’s bracket final against Centennial. That game took place Monday evening, past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin. The winner faces Mounds View on Wednesday and must beat the Mustangs twice to advance to the state tournament.

Centennial

Mounds View’s other comeback victory last week came on Memorial Day against fourth-seeded Centennial. The Mustangs didn’t lead in the game until the final pitch of the contest.

Centennial wasted little time getting its offense going as the Cougars scored twice in the top of the first inning.

Not to be outdone, top-seeded Mounds View answered with two in its half of the first. Tyler Fredlund led off with a single and Jeff LeMay followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt, which led to an error that allowed LeMay to reach. A pair of groundouts plated Fredlund and Wyatt Meyer drove in LeMay with a single.

Centennial went ahead 3-2 with a run in the second and upped its lead to 6-2 with three in the fifth.

Armed with a four-run lead, Centennial pitcher Tim Magill went cold and walked LeMay and Alec Abercrombie to start the bottom of the fifth. Charlie Callahan then loaded the bases with a single and Meyer started the comeback with a two-run single to score LeMay and Abercrombie.

Two batters later, Joe Janey’s single scored Callahan and Jake Petersen, who was running for Meyer, and suddenly the score was even at 6-6.

With new pitchers for each team in the sixth inning, the scoring stopped and the game headed to extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Mounds View ended the game.

Ryan Nickel led off with a grounder that turned into an error. Fredlund then bunted Nickel to second and Henry DeCaster, who took over at first base in the sixth when Callahan moved to the mound, laced a single that scored Nickel.

Callahan picked up the victory in relief. He pitched the final three innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three.

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


Section 5AAA baseball playoffs

First round
Game 1 — Osseo 4, Rogers 2
Game 2 — Blaine 9, Park Center 1
Game 3 — Coon Rapids 3, Irondale 1
Game 4 — Champlin Park 11, Spring Lake Park 1, 11 innings

Second round
Game 5 — Mounds View 2, Osseo 1
Game 6 — Centennial 1, Blaine 0
Game 7 — Coon Rapids 2, Totino-Grace 1
Game 8 — Maple Grove 2, Champlin Park 1

Third round
Game 9 — Mounds View 7, Centennial 6, 8 innings
Game 10 — Maple Grove 1, Coon Rapids 0
Game 11 — Blaine 2, Osseo 1
Game 12 — Champlin Park 2, Totino-Grace 0

Fourth round
Game 13 — Centennial 4, Champlin Park 3
Game 14 — Blaine 4, Coon Rapids 1

Fifth round
Game 15 — Centennial 9, Blaine 3
Game 16 — Mounds View 10, Maple Grove 4

Loser's bracket final, June 1, 6 p.m., CHS Field
Game 17 — Maple Grove vs. Centennial

Section final, June 3, 6 p.m., CHS Field
Game 18 — Game 17 winner vs. Mounds View
Game 19 — If necessary, to follow same night

 

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