Baseball: Kasson-Mantorville escapes against Lake City
AUSTIN, Minn. - Lake City was a foot away from sending Monday's Section 1AA playoff game to extra innings against Kasson-Mantorville.
The Tigers trailed 6-4 at the start of the seventh inning and proceeded to load the bases with no outs. After a double play brought in a run, Logan Thomas stepped to the plate with the tying run on third and laced a sinking line drive to left field.
Charging hard in left field, Nick Bauer made a diving catch to preserve the KoMets' 6-5 victory at Riverland Community College.
"We were inches away from tying it," Lake City head coach Perry Iberg said. "When that ball left the bat, I thought that was down for sure, I just did, but it held up there long enough and the left fielder did a nice job."
Bauer's catch added to a 3-for-3 day at the plate with three RBI and a run scored. Joey Hyde threw six innings, allowing three earned runs on nine hits and striking out five. He did not walk a batter. He was also 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored for the KoMets.
"He threw strikes, first and foremost," Lake City catcher Reid Lundell said. "For the most part, he was right around the plate the whole game, mixing up speeds. He had a dirty curveball."
John Brown was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI while Lundell went 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored to lead the Tigers (17-6). Logan Thomas pitched four innings, giving up six runs on eight runs while Jake Griebenow did not allow a hit in two innings out of the bullpen, striking out three.
"They've carried us from a pitching perspective," Iberg said. "We're always in games when they pitch. We don't have to score a lot of runs for those guys to win. They've had phenomenal years on the mound."
Thomas and the Tigers' defense struggled in the first inning as the KoMets jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to four hits and a couple misplays by Lake City that helped K-M's aggressiveness on the base paths.
"He just wasn't hitting his spots right away early in the game," Lundell said of Thomas. "Normally he's hitting the glove every time and right after that first inning he started hitting the glove and our defense started playing a little better, we bobbled some balls in the first inning, missing cuts, little things like that will hurt you against a good team like Kasson."
The KoMets added another run in the second inning to go up 5-0 before the Tigers found a spark in the fourth inning.
"This year our nemesis was pretty much that we'd get slow starts and teams would jump out ahead of us but we wouldn't panic and we'd always find a way to battle back," Lundell said. "I think we got in too big of a hole today and it's tough to battle back from that."
Griebenow led off with a single and Thomas followed with a single. After a groundout by Elliot Cox moved runners to second and third, Dylan Simonic knocked in Griebenow with an infield single and Thomas scored on an errant throw from the shortstop to pull within three runs.
K-M got a run back in the fourth inning as Wade Starkey singled, stole second, advanced to third and scored on a single with two outs for a 6-2 lead.
Leading off the fifth inning, Lundell just missed hitting a home run, launching a fly ball off the left-field fence for a stand-up double. Brown followed with a double and Ben Schramski grounded out to third to cut the deficit to 6-4.
The offenses went quiet after that until Lundell was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh inning. Brown singled and Schramski singled to load the bases with zero outs.
"I thought there was no way we were losing this game," Lundell said. "I thought we were sitting good with our No. 4 and 5 hitters up."
But the KoMets turned a quick double play and stole a hit away from Thomas to end Lake City's season.
"It was a hard hit ball by Jake and that's all you can ask for," Iberg said. "Give them credit, they made two great plays on well-hit balls, by all rights we should have scored a bunch."