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Region 16C baseball: Bluedogs bid for state falls short

The Bluedogs' Monte Hinzmann connected on a double in a game against Carlos from earlier this season. Hinzmann had a home run in a back-and-forth battle against Fergus Falls in the Region 16C Tournament this past weekend. He finished the season hitting .320. (Echo Press photo by Eric Morken)

By Blaze Fugina

The Brandon-Evansville Bluedogs were unable to reach their season goal to earn a berth in the state tournament after losing their final two games in the Region 16 C Tournament last weekend.

After winning their opening round game against the Huntersville Horse Flies 9-1 on Saturday morning, the Bluedogs ran into trouble during a 12 inning loss against Fergus Falls later that day.

"The Fergus Falls game was probably the craziest game we have ever played in the tournament," Bluedogs player Mike Bruns said.

The 11-8 loss to Fergus Falls featured multiple lead changes and a great defensive play that kept the Bluedogs from scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Bluedogs' misfortune began in the game when Nate Meissner, one of the team's offensive leaders, injured his hamstring in the second inning while legging out a double. Meissner continued to play the rest of the weekend after he sustained the injury but was never the same.

The back and forth lead changes throughout the early innings led to the Bluedogs trailing 8-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning. They were able to score two runs to tie the game at 8-8, and were threatening with the bases loaded and nobody out. But Monte Hinzmann grounded into a double play and Collin Modahl struck out, ending the threat.

The Bluedogs had another chance to put the game away in the bottom of the ninth inning after Shawn Krueger led off with a double. Fergus Falls shifted to prevent a bunt so the team decided to let the next batter, Chris Shea, swing away.

Shea hit a line drive, but the Fergus Falls center fielder saved the game with a diving catch.

"Ultimately, we had two great chances to score more runs and it just didn't work out," Bruns said.

Eventually, Fergus Falls put the game away with three runs in the top of the 12th inning.

"Putting up eight runs against Fergus Falls is no small feat, and we put up 16 hits against some very good pitching," Bruns said. "We were let down a little bit by our defense in this game, though, and that cost us a couple runs."

The bottom of the batting order provided the most offense against Fergus Falls. Adam Johnson was 3-for-5 in the game with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. Hinzmann also hit a home run and picked up three RBIs.

With four of the Bluedogs top pitchers going a combined 12 innings in the game, the team had a shortage of arms heading into an 11 a.m. Sunday game against Urbank-Parkers Prairie.

"We used up nearly all of our pitching trying to win the game against [Fergus Falls], so we knew our backs were against the wall heading into the Urbank game on Sunday," Bruns said.

The three pitchers used against Urbank-Parkers Prairie on Sunday had all pitched in the Fergus Falls game. The Osakis pitcher drafted to the Bluedogs for the playoffs, Derek Waldvogel, started and went 5 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs with two strikeouts. Matt Bruns pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief and gave up four walks. Ryan Hendrickson also pitched an inning and gave up two earned runs.

The Bluedogs' offense was still productive in the game, scoring six runs against Urbank-Parkers Prairie.

Krueger led the Bluedogs' offense, going 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Brent Meissner also hit a home run in the game.

"We definitely were out of gas on Sunday," Bruns said. "We actually did a pretty good job giving ourselves a chance to win, but none of our pitchers were at full strength and the Bombers ultimately were able to capitalize."

The Bluedogs finished the season with a 16-4 record. One early hurdle for the Bluedogs' pitching staff was to fill a hole left after ace pitcher Adam Johnson was out nearly the entire season with arm trouble. Last year, he threw more than 43 innings and only gave up two earned runs.

"We had a lot of sore arms after Sunday, so the off-season recovery will be put to good use," Bruns said. "Hopefully everybody comes back next year and we'll try to do it over again."


BRANDON-EV 102 200 100 - 6 11 0

URBANK-PP 002 003 011 - 7 8 2

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE PITCHING - Derek Waldvogel - 5.1IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 2SO; Matt Bruns - 1.2 IP, 0H, 0R, 0EER, 4BB, 0SO; Ryan Hendrickson - 1IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 1SO

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE OFFENSE - Collin Modahl - 1-5, 2 runs; Lee Nelson - 1-4, run, RBI; Ryan Hendrickson - 1-4, 2B, run, RBI; Brent Meissner - 1-3, HR, run, RBI, BB; Shawn Krueger - 4-5, 2B, 2 RBIs; Monte Hinzmann - 1-4, BB; Chris Shea - 1-3, 2B, BB; Adam Johnson - 1-3, run, BB

FERGUS 103 010 300 003 - 11 14 1

BE 030 201 200 000 - 8 16 5

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE PITCHING - Collin Modahl - 7IP, 13H, 8R, 5ER, 1BB, 4SO; Waldvogel - 1.1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 4BB; Hendrickson - 2.2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 2SO; M. Bruns - 1IP, 1H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 1SO

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE OFFENSE - Modahl - 1-6, BB; Nate Meissner - 2-7, 2B; Nelson - 0-5, BB; Hendrickson - 3-6, 2 2Bs, 2 runs; B. Meissner - 2-5, 2B, 2 runs, RBI, BB; Krueger - 3-6, 2B, run, RBI; Shea - 1-4, BB, HBP; Johnson - 3-5, HR, 2 runs, 3 RBIs; Hinzmann - 1-5, HR, run, 3 RBIs;

HUNTERSVILLE 100 000 000 - 1 5 3

BE 121 003 21X - 10 10 0

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE PITCHING - Shawn Krueger - 8IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 0SO; Derek Waldvogel - 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 3SO

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE OFFENSE - Josh Meissner - 1-2, 2B, run, RBI; N. Meissner - 3-6, 2B, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Hendrickson - 2-3, 2 runs, RBI, 2B, BB; B. Meissner - 1-5, run; Krueger - 0-3, run, 2 BBs; Shea - 0-4, run, BB; Hinzmann - 1-2, run, 2 BBs; Kyle Bruns - 1-1, run

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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