The Wanamingo Jacks and Cannon Falls Bears had their seasons end Saturday on the final day of the Region 5C Tournament in Owatonna.  The Jacks were ahead going into the final inning but couldn't hold on for the win against Stewartville-Racine.  The score was 7-5.  The Sharks then nipped Cannon Falls in the third place game 3-2 and punched their ticket to state.

Red Wing bested Lake City in the title game 8-3 to determine the other representatives of the region.  The State Amateur Baseball Tournament is being held in New Prague, Shakopee and Jordan this year.  This is the first year Red Wing has been in Class C after moving down from Class B where they were in what is probably the toughest Section in the state.  Section 1B has perennial powers Dundas and Miesville and former powers Rochester and Austin in it.  Northfield is also very good this season.

The Sharks took a 3-0 lead against Wanamingo in the third inning of their elimination bracket game.  Number nine hitter Connor Nelson of Hayfield stroked a one out double to left center and was brought home when Shane Mlenar traded places with his  double.  The next hitter smacked a single to center that was misplayed scoring Mlenar.  Derek McCready clubbed an RBI double and cleanup hitter Josh Evans was walked.

Following a mound visit Wanamingo starter Matt Houglum got the next two batters out on two pitches to end the 8 batter 3 run inning.

The Jacks had two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning when they scored on a 2 RBI triple by Andrew Anfinson.  Anfinson stroked the hit on a 1-2 count against Stewartville-Racnine starter Tyler Schmitz.  Crossing home plate were Sean Wingfield and Matt Houglum who got on base on a fielder's choice and single.

Wanamingo took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after an eight batter inning.  Number nine hitter Dylan Craig was safe on an error to start the inning.  Erick Swiggum hammered a double down the left field line.  Sam Roosen hit an RBI single followed by a Peder Sviggum RBI single.  With two outs Houglum knocked in Roosen and the Jacks had a 5-3 lead.

The Sharks scored a run in the sixth on a two out single by Nelson bringing Schmitz home after he got on base by a walk.

Wanamingo had a golden opportunity to add to their one run lead in the sixth when they loaded the bases with two outs but couldn't get the timely hit.  In the seventh inning Sean Wingfield started the inning on base thanks to an error but that was immediately followed by a double play.  The second double play turned in the game by Stewartville-Racine.

Aaron Craig relieved Houglum to start the seventh inning and retired 7 of the first 8 batters he faced.  With one out in the ninth inning Mlenar and Caleb Gronholz had back to back singles and the Jacks brought in veteran lefty Noah Grove.

Wanamingo allowed the runners to move up a base and on a grounder to short a bad throw allowed the tying run to score.  Josh Evans crunched a RBI double and one of the Sharks was thrown out at the plate.  Jade Boettcher padded the lead for Stewartville-Racine on a single and error in the outfield.

Wanamingo was retired in order in the bottom of the ninth on a ground out, strikeout and ground out and the Sharks had their win to advance to the state qualifying game.

I can't remember too many games I've called over the years with all three starting outfielders charged with an error but that's what happened to Wanamingo.  They finished the game with four errors.  The Sharks had five errors but they didn't result in the same damage.

When the Jacks loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning two of the batters reached on back to back infield errors and the other a walk.

Wanamingo finished their season 16-11 with 11 errors in their last two games.

Cannon Falls defeated Owatonna 6-3 to advance to the state qualifying game against Stewartville-Racine.  Lefty Keith Meyers started the game on the mound for the Bears and had a perfect game through five innings.  He retired the first 17 batters of the game before a bloop single by number nine hitter Johnny White of New Richland.

Cannon Falls gave Meyers a 5-0 lead to work with after three innings and it looked like the Bears were going to cruise to the victory.  In the first inning it was a Meyers hammered double that scored Brock Peterson from first base to give them the early lead.

In the third inning 8 Bears came to the plate.  A ground out started the inning.  Peterson and Carlton Lindow were both hit by pitches and Meyers reached safely on an error.  Luke Winchell clubbed and RBI single, Peter Haggerty hit a towering fly to center scoring a run and veteran Rich Burr smashed a RBI double.  Winchell scored the fourth run of the inning on a wild pitch.

Meyers ran into some trouble in the seventh with uncharacteristic control issues.  He walking the first batter Tyler Smith.  During the Matthew Simon at bat there was a passed ball and Smith advanced to second base.  Simon popped out to Meyers.  Owatonna cleanup hitter Grant Wehseler hit a bomb over the left center field fence plating two runs.  The homer came on a 3-1 count.  Benji Hager was then hit by a pitch, Brandon Wolf walked after a marathon 12 pitch at bat and the Bears were in some serious trouble.

Aces catcher Kody Kiel hit the ball hard to third base and Burr snared it to start a 5-4-3 double play that was an inning saver and maybe game saver for Cannon Falls.  Meyers came back out in the eighth inning but couldn't shake the control problems.  He walked Brian Simon to start the inning.  White was retired on the first pitch of his at bat when he popped out to Burr in foul territory.  The top of the order came up and Meyers walked Dexter Leer then motioned to the dugout that his pitching day was done.

Right handed pitcher Luke Winchell entered the game.  Tyler Smith greeted him by reaching on an error.  Matthew Simon hit a grounder to first base where Keith Meyers had switched positions with Winchell.  Meyers stepped on the base to get the out and Brian Simon scored to make it 5-3.  Cannon Falls chose to intentionally walk Wehseler to load the bases and Hager grounded out to Meyers to end the top of the eighth.

Carlton Lindow began the Cannon Falls bottom of the eighth by being hit by a pitch.  Meyers hit into a double play. Winchell hit a single that was followed by a Haggerty double give the Bears a three run lead heading into the final inning.

Winchell struck out Wolf and Kiel, both looking.  Brian Simon hit a single up the middle on a 2-0 count.  White flew out to right field on the first pitch and Winchell had a save.

Meyers finished the game with 103 pitches, 60 strikes through 7 1/3 innings and two of the three runs charged to him were earned.  He tallied two strikeouts, 4 walks and hit a batter. He got the win.

Winchell faced the last eight batters with 22 pitches, 16 for strikes, two strikeouts, the one intentional walk and one hit allowed.

In the state qualifying game the Bears started right handed Jared Woodward and he pitched well.  The game was scoreless going into the fifth inning.  With one out Stewartville-Racine eight and nine hitters in the order Jack Boehm and Connor Nelson had hits.  Boehm singled and stole second base.  Nelson followed with an RBI double.  After the second out was recorded Caleb Gronholz took a 1-2 pitcher's pitch off the outside corner and just went with it to right field plating the second run.

Cannon Falls tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.  Winchell banged a double to left center to start the inning.  Haggerty lined out to third and Burr grounded out to second.  Zeke Williams had a 8 pitch at bat resulting in a walk.  Alex Tauer hit the ball to third resulting in a throwing error scoring Jagear Sederberg of Lakeville who came in to run for Winchell.  Braxton Lindow delivered a single to right field scoring Williams and we had a brand new game.

The Sharks answered the Bears by plating what proved to be the winning run in the top of the eighth inning.  With one out Luke Winchell who entered the game in the top of the sixth walked cleanup hitter Josh Evans on four pitches.  Stewartville-Racine pitcher Jade Boettcher had a infield single and the winning pitcher of the first game Tyler Schmitz clubbed an RBI single on the 7th pitch of his at bat after running the count full.

Boettcher was focused after getting that lead.  Cannon Falls didn't have a batter reach base in the bottom of the eighth or ninth innings.

Woodward left the game after five innings with 86 pitches thrown, 54 for strikes.  He had 3 strikeouts and no walks, giving up 6 hits.  Both runs were earned.  Winchell threw the last four innings with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks.  He threw 74 pitches, 44 for strikes.

Cannon Falls finished their season 13-14.

Cannon Falls Bears Warm Up at Chuck Fuller Field in Owatonna. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Cannon Falls Bears Warm Up at Chuck Fuller Field in Owatonna. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld


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