Bluedogs' bid for state falls short
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Brandon-Evansville Bluedogs saw their season come to an end in heartbreaking fashion this past Saturday, just one win shy of a state tournament berth.
The Bluedogs and Fergus Falls Hurricanes matched up in a pitchers’ duel that took 10 innings to decide in the Region 16 Tournament. In the end, the Hurricanes were able to scratch across an unearned run in the bottom of the 10th to walk off a 2-1 winner.
Fergus Falls’ Bryan Jacklitch led off that final inning with a single. That brought Jake Heck to the plate with Brandon-Evansville expecting a bunt. Instead, Heck sent a sharp ground ball down the third-base line.
The Bluedogs’ Josh Meissner was able to field it but an off-balance throw got past first baseman Lee Nelson and into right field. Jacklitch was hustling the whole time as he came around to score the winning run.
It was an abrupt ending to the season for the Bluedogs. A win would have cemented their spot in the 16C championship game and earned them a berth in the state tournament. Instead, the Hurricanes were able to move on through the losers’ bracket before eventually beating the Midway Snurdbirds for the region championship.
Johnson was a workhorse on the mound for Brandon-Evansville. He went the distance, scattering 10 hits but allowing just the one earned run. Johnson walked nobody and struck out three.
Brandon-Evansville trailed 1-0 before getting its only run off the Hurricanes’ Casey Kowalski in the seventh. Ryan Hendrickson led off that inning with a walk before scoring on a Chris Shea single three batters later.
The Bluedogs had chances to break the 1-1 tie off of Heck in the late innings. They got the leadoff man on in both the ninth and 10th innings. They were left in scoring position both times as Brandon-Evansville collected just four hits throughout the game.
Heck got the win by not allowing a hit in three innings in relief of Kowalski. Heck walked two but struck out four to get himself out of a couple jams. Nate Meissner, Nelson, Brent Meissner and Shea collected the only hits for Brandon-Evansville.
The loss ended another strong summer for the Bluedogs that saw them finish 15-5 overall. A few B-E players will still get the chance to play in the state tournament after Johnson and Collin Modahl were drafted by Fergus Falls and N. Meissner was drafted by Midway after the region tournament.
BLUEDOGS 000 000 100 0 – 1 4 1
HURRICANES 001 000 000 1 – 2 10 1
BLUEDOGS PITCHING – Johnson – L, 9IP, 10H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 3SO
BLUEDOGS OFFENSE – Collin Modah – 0-4; N. Meissner – 1-4, BB; Nelson – 1-5; Hendrickson – 0-2, 2 BB, 1 run; B. Meissner – 1-3; Monte Hinzmann – 0-3, BB; Chris Shea – 1-3, RBI; Johnson – 0-4; Josh Meissner – 0-3