U12s are state champsOnly one loss marred the season
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
A dominating season by the Alexandria Black 12U baseball team was capped off with a state championship over the weekend of July 23-24 in Owatonna.
Alexandria entered the tournament undefeated on the season and had to play six games to secure a title. They did that over the course of almost 30 hours, going 5-1 at the tournament and ending things with a 10-0 win over Norwood Young America in the title game.
Alexandria ace Jake Drew took the ball in the championship and did not disappoint. It was his third start of the day as he went three innings in each start. Drew did not allow an earned run in those nine innings. He scattered just five hits, while striking out 10 and walking one. He also went 12-for-18 from the plate as the team’s No. 3 hitter.
His solid start in the title game allowed Alexandria to take an early lead it would not relinquish. The Black team jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first inning. Chase McLaughlin and Jaren Roste came on in relief and preserved the shutout and the title on the mound.
Roste closed two games on the final day of the tournament. He did not allow a hit and struck out three in those outings. He did not allow an earned run in 8 2/3 innings throughout the tournament, allowing just three hits and two walks.
Alexandria bounced back from a 1-1 record in pool play to win four straight games. Three of those came against separate teams from Burnsville.
That run was highlighted by a come from behind victory over Burnsville White in the first game outside of pool play. Alexandria fell behind 5-0 and trailed 5-3 when McLaughlin delivered a bases-clearing double into the left centerfield gap to give his team a 6-5 lead. Alexandria never trailed after that as Roste came in to get the final nine outs in an 11-7 victory.
That set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Alexandria was dominant the rest of the way, winning 16-0 in the quarterfinals and 5-0 in the semis. Drew, McLaughlin and Brady Burgau combined for the shutout in the quarters, while Drew, McLaughlin and Brock Anderson worked from the mound before Roste came on in a tough spot in the semifinals. He got out of a bases loaded jam with two strikeouts in the fifth before setting down the Burnsville Silver team in order in the sixth to close out the game.
The championship completed a memorable season for the young players. Alexandria Black finished the season 21-1. They came into the state tournament as the No. 5 seed in a 24-team field after winning qualifiers in Hutchinson, Edina and Morris to gain entry into the state-tournament field. The four teams seeded higher than Alexandria were all from the Twin Cities area.
The local nine won the title with a group that was well balanced at the plate and on the mound. The team scored 259 runs for an average of 11.7 per game this year. They allowed just 66.
As a team, Alexandria hit a combined .439. Drew (.585), Anderson (.544), Mack Strong (.519) and Tryg Burgau (.515) led the way with above .500 batting averages. Anderson was 11-for-17 from the dish during his team’s tournament run. Leadoff hitter Josh Molden set the tone for those big bats by getting on base in front of them. He scored 39 runs in 82 plate appearances.
That was plenty of run support for this Alexandria pitching staff. Drew finished the year 7-0 and Anderson went 6-0 behind him in the rotation. Brady Burgau, McLaughlin and Tryg Burgau went 7-1 as middle relievers, while Roste went 1-0 as the closer. He did not allow an earned run in 24 2/3 innings. Anderson struck out 38 batters in 19 1/3 innings.
They also got solid defense behind them. Second baseman Toby Novotny, third baseman Jack Anderson and shorstop Conner Hammerback anchored the infield. Anderson went 19 consecutive games without an error at one point, while Hammerback went 14 consecutive games without a miscue.
The team was coached by Tom Anderson, Larry Novotny, Mitch Anderson, Rocky Burgau and Ryan Burgau.