Baseball: Whitecaps reach state baseball semifinals
The Carlos Whitecaps are within two wins of a state championship after back-to-back wins this past weekend at the Minnesota Senior Men's Amateur Baseball Association state tournament.
Mark Illies threw a gem to advance his team to the semifinals with a 1-0 win on Sunday. That came after the Whitecaps rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to win 11-6 over the Minneapolis Bombers on Saturday.
The Northfield Millers gave Carlos everything it could handle on Sunday. It took extra innings before Troy Olson lined a base hit to right field in the eighth that scored Kyle Berberich with the winning run.
It took a big day from Illies and a little help from his defense to get the Whitecaps to that point. Illies tossed all eight innings, scattering four hits and five walks. He struck out three.
The Millers had opportunities throughout the game. They put a runner on third in the fourth and fifth innings with less than two outs. In both cases, Illies induced ground balls to a drawn in infield to strand the runner before recording the final out.
Illies then got a little help from his defense in the top of the eighth. The Millers had runners at the corners with two outs when a ground ball bounced off the glove of Whitecaps' first baseman Mitch Steidl. Ryan Burgau was there to back him up as the ball deflected to him at second before he fielded and threw on to Illies at first for the final out.
Olson took care of the rest as he sent Carlos into the semifinals as walk-off winners.
The offense made sure things came a little easier against the Bombers on Saturday. The Whitecaps pounded out 17 hits to back Gerry Hoelscher on the mound.
Six players had at least two hits for Carlos. Brad Anderson went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Olson had a huge day with two hits, three runs scored and two RBIs. Brad Eustice had two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored, while Illies added a towering home run as part of a two hit, two RBI day. Berberich and Hoelscher each had two hits, as well.
That made life easy for Hoelscher on the mound. He went the distance, allowing nine hits and three walks, while striking out four. Just three of the six runs he allowed were earned.
Those two wins set up a semifinals contest with New Hope with a trip to the Class B championship on the line. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, at Tahpah Park in Shakopee. The winner of that game will face the winner of Jordan versus Nisswa in the title game at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
NORTHFIELD 000 000 00 - 0 4 0
CARLOS 000 000 1 - 1 4 0
CARLOS PITCHING - Mark Illies - W, 8IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 5BB, 3SO
CARLOS HITTING - Brad Anderson - 1-4; Kyle Berberich - 0-3, BB, 1 run, SB; Illies - 0-3, BB; Brad Eustice - 0-3, BB, SB; Troy Olson - 2-4, RBI; Mitch Steidl - 0-2, BB; Ryan Burgau - 0-2; Gerry Hoelscher - 1-2, BB; John Toop - 1-3
MINNEAPOLIS 202 200 0 - 6 9 0
CARLOS 304 301 X - 11 17 0
CARLOS PITCHING - Hoelscher - W, 7IP, 9H, 6R, 3ER, 3BB, 4SO
CARLOS HITTING - Steidl - 1-1, 2B, 1 run; Anderson - 3-4, 1 run; Berberich - 2-4, 1 run; Illies - 2-4, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Burgau - 0-3; Olson - 2-4, 2 runs, 3 runs, SB; Eustice - 2-4, 2 2B, 1 run, 2 RBI, SB; Tim Iverson - 1-4, 1 run, RBI; Hoelscher - 2-4, 1 run; John Toop - 1-3, 2 RBI; Rocky Burgau - 1-1, BB