Amateur baseball: Miltona Tigers drop heartbreaker at state
One of the best seasons in Miltona Tigers' history came to an end in extra innings this past weekend as the Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Big Lake to halt their run in the Class C state tournament after winning their opening game of the weekend.
The White Caps used a one-out walk to set up the winning run in the 11th inning. Ross Stein reached before taking second on a wild pitch. That set the stage for Matthew Loegering, who sent an RBI single through the right side for a 6-5 win.
Miltona was three outs away from advancing to the field of four. Caleb Curry sent a one-out double down the left field line in a 4-4 game in the top of the ninth. John Mohror pinch ran for him and was brought home on a two-out single by Jake Leuschke.
Big Lake responded with the tying run in the bottom of the inning. The White Caps had a chance to add the winning run before Carlos draftee Ben Bruggeman got out of a bases loaded jam with one out. He induced a foul out to the catcher before stranding the winning run on third after a lineout to center field.
Bruggeman gave the Tigers everything he had throughout the game. He went all 10 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits and seven walks. He struck out six.
The walk-off win for Big Lake ended a back-and-forth affair between two good teams. The Tigers struck first when Ryan Emter scored on a passed ball in the top of the first. Big Lake responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame to take its first lead.
That was the first of five lead changes on the night. Miltona answered with two in the third but trailed 4-3 before one-run innings in the eighth and ninth. Shawn Krueger led off the eighth with a double before pinch runner Zach Beireis scored on an RBI single by Trey Thompson that tied the game at four apiece. It wasn't quite enough as Big Lake got the runs it needed to earn the win down the stretch.
Tom Steidl and Krueger each collected two hits for Miltona. Steidl was named to the Class C All-Tournament Team after hitting .450 in his five games at state. He collected nine hits in his 20 at-bats. Krueger hit .462 in 13 at-bats, collecting five RBIs along the way.
Both players played big roles in an 11-0 rout of Fairmont in the Tigers' first game of the final weekend. Krueger went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, while Steidl scored four times. Leuschke added two hits and three RBIs, while Cody Curry went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI in the win last Friday.
That gave Krueger plenty of offense to work with. He got the start and scattered seven hits and two walks in the seven-inning shutout. He struck out five.
The Tigers' three wins at the state tournament solidified their place as one of the top teams in the Class C field. They finished the season 22-5 and as Region 14C and Resorters East champions.
"Throughout the state tournament there were many close games and extra inning [contests]," manager Paul Walsh said. "This demonstrates the fact that there are a lot of very good baseball teams in Minnesota and the baseball teams in our area are very competitive and can play well against anybody."
MILTONA 102 000 011 00 - 5 9 1
BIG LAKE 200 002 001 01 - 6 10 4
MILTONA PITCHING - Ben Bruggeman - L, 10 1/3IP, 10H, 6R, 4ER, 7BB, 6SO
MILTONA HITTING - Ryan Emter - 1-4, 1 run, HBP; Cody Curry - 1-4, HBP, 1 run; Caleb Curry - 1-4, 2B, 1 run; John Mohror - 1 run; Tyler Walsh - 0-1; Tom Steidl - 2-6, SB; Jake Leuschke - 1-4, 2 RBI; Shawn Krueger - 2-4, 2B, RBI; Zach Beireis - 1 run; Kevin Engebretson - 0-5; Trey Thompson - 1-5, RBI; Ryan Silbernick - 0-3
FAIRMONT 000 000 0 - 0 7 2
MILTONA 023 312 X - 11 13 1
MILTONA PITCHING - Shawn Krueger - W, 7IP, 7H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 5SO
MILTONA HITTING - Emter - 1-5, RBI; Tyler Erickson - 1-5, 1 run; Caleb Curry - 1-4, RBI; Sam Steidl - 0-3, 1 run; T. Steidl - 1-1, 4 runs; Cody Curry - 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; Leuschke - 2-4, 1 run, 3 RBI; Colin Erickson - 1-3, 1 run, RBI; Krueger - 4-4, 4 RBI; Beireis - 1 run