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Region 14C baseball: Injuries catch up to Carlos

Carlos pitcher Mark Hillesheim threw in a game from earlier this season. Hillesheim was the pitcher of record against Perham as he went five innings and took the loss after allowing four runs on nine hits. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

The Carlos Cougars were left wondering what might have been when a few key injuries hurt them in the Region 14C tournament as their season fell short of a state bid after a 5-3 loss to Perham this past Friday.

"We really think it was a little disappointing," player-coach Aaron Noetzelman said of not making a state tournament for the third straight year. "I think the most disappointing thing was how the year ended. A lot of guys got hurt and we weren't at full strength toward the end of the season, but the guys who were there, they left it all on the field."

The Cougars saw themselves down four pretty good players by the end of the game against the Pirates. Gideon Burnham broke his foot during tournament play last weekend. Brad Nyberg injured his hamstring. Nate Hoelscher injured his arm and couldn't pitch and AJ Anderson was picked up by the Alexandria Blue Anchors for the final week of their season and couldn't play on Friday.

"We have a lot of good depth on our team," Noetzelman said. "It's just hard when you're missing four guys and four key guys like that."

The Cougars tried to battle back after falling behind 5-0 through seven innings against Perham. Hoelscher was able to hit in the game and had a nice night at the plate. He finished 3-for-4 and drove in two runs in the eighth inning on a double.

His brother, Matt Hoelscher, helped them come back even more in the top of the ninth. He led off the frame with a home run. Jake Tharaldson followed with a two-out double, but Perham's Jack Stigman got a strikeout to end the game.

Mark Hillesheim started and took the loss for the Cougars. He went five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks. He also struck out four. Jay Schueler worked the final three innings, allowing one unearned run on just two hits. He fanned three to wrap up a strong season on the mound that saw him finish with an ERA around 1.00 in more than 35 innings pitched.

The Cougars finished their season with another impressive record of 18-2. They also earned another Resorters League regular season and tournament championship along the way.

"It was a good year," Noetzelman said. "We set our expectations pretty high, so it's a little disappointing to have it end the way it did, but we lost to two really good teams in Detroit Lakes and Perham. We played as hard as we can and can't really hang our heads. We just got beat by a better team on that day."

The Cougars are a team with a solid group of veterans. They added some good young players in guys like Burnham and Anderson this summer. They hope to keep adding a few more young players, but Noetzelman said he's confident most of the core group of veterans will also be back for another run in 2014.

"I think most of the guys will be back," he said. "One thing we're still trying to do is get younger. The core group is in our 30s. Team speed is one thing we will try to emphasize, hopefully add one or two younger players. There's a lot of good ball players around Alexandria who aren't playing, so it would be nice to get some of those guys, but I see most of our guys coming back."


CARLOS 000 000 021 - 3 8 1

PERHAM 200 110 10X - 5 11 2

CARLOS PITCHING - Hillesheim - L, 5IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, 4BB, 4SO; Schueler - 3IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 3SO

CARLOS OFFENSE - Noetzelman - 0-5; Tharaldson - 1-5, 2B; Schueler - 2-4, 1 run; Nyberg - 1-2; Ryan Schjenken - 0-1, 1 run; N. Hoelscher - 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Ryan Severson - 0-2; Justin Steidl - 0-4; M. Hoelscher - 1-4, HR, 1 run, RBI; Dave Schjenken - 0-4