Amateur Baseball: Cannon Falls clinches state berth
With elimination looming and a state bid on the line, Cannon Falls player/manager Keith Meyers stepped up at the right time.
Starting on the mound, Meyers struck out 17 and held Waterville to one hit in nine innings to put the Bears in the Class C state tournament for the second straight year with a 4-0 Region 4C victory Friday in Waterville.
“We just stuck with what worked. I threw lots of fastballs and threw the slider in there, too,” Meyers said after the win. “The guys played well behind me as well. (Outfielder) Nate Otto made an unbelievable catch in the right-center gap. The defense played great all night.”
Coming up just short of a no-hitter was the last thing on Meyers’ mind after the victory.
“We’re in the state tournament; that’s all that matters,” he said.
With a state berth secured, all that’s left is the section seeding. At 11 a.m. today, Cannon Falls will take on Blue Earth. The winner of Cannon Falls/Blue Earth will face Lake Crystal in the region championship later today.
“We’re excited (to make state), but we got to play for seeding so we have to get refocused in a hurry,” Meyers said. “We’ll enjoy it tonight and hopefully we can improve our seeding.”
Scoreless through two innings, Cory Hedeen helped set up the Bears’ offense with a single, then Otto and Brandon Voth drew back-to-back walks. With the bases loaded, Taylor Pagel unloaded on a two-run double to put Cannon Falls on the board.
The Bears tacked on runs in the fifth and sixth innings, thanks to sacrifice flies by Otto and Luke Winchell.
At the plate, Meyers went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored, and Hedeen was 2-for-5 with a run. Otto had a hit, two runs and an RBI, and Rich Burr finished 2-for-4 in Cannon Falls’ victory.