Baseball: Ashby falls to New York Mills after Arrows' dramatic win over Brandon-Evansville
Defending section champ New York Mills sends Ashby to the elimination bracket after an offensive outburst.
NEW YORK MILLS - In a rematch of the 2021 Section 6A championship game, the New York Mills (19-2) Eagles baseball team jumped on the Ashby Arrows (18-3) early and earned a 15-3 win in 4.5 innings on Thursday.
“It was a combination of things,” Ashby head coach Jared Larson said about the loss. “There was a super tight strike zone where our pitchers literally had to throw it over the middle of the plate just to get a strike call. I give (New York Mills) 100% credit. They can hit the ball, they did hit the ball and they executed some bunts.”
New York Mills, the top seed in the 6A North subsection, set a new season-high in runs in the win and caused the Ashby defense to give up the most runs it has in a game all season.
“They're a great team,” Ashby senior Carter Spangler said. “They have great hitters and they’re a great ball club.”
Ashby, the No. 2 seed in the 6A North subsection, has a 42-6 record over the last two seasons and half of those losses came to New York Mills.
The Eagles are set to face Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (20-1), the top seed in the Section 6A South, on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the Section 6A semifinals at Minnewaska.
New York Mills, which made it to the Class A MSHSL State Championship game a season ago, had 10 hits in the game, including a three-run home run by sophomore Bode Roberts that delivered the game’s final runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
New York Mills also took advantage of 11 walks.
“It's tough to compete when you got to try to execute a strike in that small zone,” Larson said. “We just need to be better. They persevered, we didn't.”
Ashby had four hits in the game, led by senior Carson Spangler, who had two, including an RBI double. Seniors Torin Olson and Hunter Norby also had a hit for Ashby.
Jonah Johnson led the game in hits for New York Mills with three and he earned the win on the mound with four strikeouts in 1.2 innings pitched.
Thursday’s game featured two of the top six in the Class A QRF Rankings on Minnesota-scores.net (Ashby is No. 6 and New York Mills is No. 2).
While Thursday evening’s defensive outing against New York Mills wasn’t what Ashby was expecting out of itself, it made some big plays defensively in a 4-3 win in Deer Creek over Brandon-Evansville (12-9), the No. 3 in the 6A North subsection, earlier in the day.
With the game tied at three with one out and a runner on first and second in the top of the seventh inning, the Arrows forced the Chargers to hit into a 6-4-3 double play that eliminated the Chargers' scoring threat.
That play was a big shift of momentum that helped set up a walk-off. Carter Spangler delivered a game-winning single after Olson was hit by a pitch and stole second base.
“I knew it was either going to be a curveball or a fastball,” Spangler said about the pitch he got his walk-off on. “It was a fastball and I just hit it over the shortstop.”
The Arrows had seven hits in the game, led by Carter Spangler with two and junior Brodie Ecker with two. Carson Spangler, senior Evan Paulson and freshman Easton Nelson also had a hit.
“We had to play small ball,” Larson said. “That wind was crazy and knocked the ball down and probably took away five extra-base hits from us; for sure, two from Torin Olson. We just had to make sure that we executed our bunts and that we stole some bases when we needed to. Our pitchers pitched well enough to get us through it.”
Brady Perleberg pitched a complete game for the Chargers and had seven strikeouts. He also led the Chargers in hits with two. Tyler Bitzan, Dezmond White, Carter White and Jayden Hoidahl also had a hit for the Chargers.
Paulson earned the win on the mound for the Arrows. He had two strikeouts and allowed two hits in two innings pitched. Carter Spangler made the start for the Arrows and he went five innings. He had two strikeouts and allowed four runs on five hits.
Norby, Paulson, Carson Spangler and Olson, pitched against New York Mills. Olson had one strikeout for the Arrows.
Up next for Ashby is an elimination game matchup against Upsala-Swanville Area (20-2), the No. 2 in Section 6A South subsection, on Tuesday at Minnewaska.
“We just got to take what got us here,” Larson said when asked about bouncing back from Thursday’s loss. “We just need to throw the ball over the plate a little bit more and then have some better at-bats at the plate. Defensively we’re fine.”
In 17 of their 21 games this season, the Arrows have held their opponents to three runs or less and are 16-1 in those games (the lone loss coming on May 18 to Hayfield 2-0).
“We're going to hit the ball a little bit too, but pitching and defense have been the mainstay of our program, so we're going to have to come back with that," Larson said.
The Arrows are in a familiar position as in the last year’s playoffs, when they lost to New York Mills in the third postseason game. The Arrows rattled off three wins in a row, starting with a 1-0 win over Upsala-Swanville Area in Bluffton, before falling to New York Mills in the section title game.
“We are very confident,” Carter Spangler said. “Last year we (made it to the section championship game) and I think we can do it this year. We have to have good days at practice.”
The winner of the Ashby versus Upsala-Swanville Area game at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday will play the winner of the Parkers Prairie (10-12) versus Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa game (12-11), which is also at 2:30 on Tuesday at Minnewaska. Those two winners will play another elimination game at Minnewaska on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
Parkers Prairie got to that game by beating Brandon-Evansville in an elimination game on Thursday by an 11-3 final. That was after New York Mills had beaten the Panthers in a 5-2 game earlier in the day.