Amateur Baseball: Cannon Falls completes comeback victoryBlue Earth’s Aaron Wendt sent a rocket out to centerfield in the second inning against Cannon Falls that cleared the fence but it couldn’t escape the glove of Nate Otto as he crashed into the wall.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Blue Earth’s Aaron Wendt sent a rocket out to centerfield in the second inning against Cannon Falls that cleared the fence but it couldn’t escape the glove of Nate Otto as he crashed into the wall.
The inning-ending catch saved three runs for the Bears and Otto added a game-tying three-run double in the seventh inning as Cannon Falls defeated the top-seeded Pirates 4-3 Saturday in Cannon Falls.
The win advanced the Bears to the playoff finale of the Region 4C tournament.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen a ball robbed in an amateur baseball game,” Cannon Falls player-manager Keith Meyers said. “Just an amazing play. Then, he comes up and hits the tying double and scores the winning run.”
Otto had just one hit but it was the game’s biggest as he finished 1-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI. Luke Winchell was 1-for-5 with an RBI and Aaron Stein went 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Bears (21-15).
Meyers had a tough first inning on the mound for fourth-seeded Cannon Falls but was dominant after, pitching six innings and striking out 12 to pick up the victory. Winchell went the final three innings to pick up the save.
“We were a little lackadaisical in the first few innings,” Meyers said. “As a pitcher you have to have a short memory. Just refocus yourself. Try to get one batter at a time.”
TJ Schmidtke was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored while Kane Malo went 1-for-3 to lead Blue Earth (29-4).
“They hit a couple off-speed pitches (early) and that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Meyers said.
He said he came into the game thinking he would need to start hitters with changeups but he went exclusively with a fastball/slider combination after the first inning that the Pirates struggled to hit.
Blue Earth pushed three runs across in the first inning on four hits and a hit batter as Meyers still struck out the side.
The Pirates’ Lee Hodges shut down the Bears’ offense for the first six innings, allowing just five hits while he and Meyers traded scoreless innings.
“He just mixes speeds well,” Meyers said. “It was just a matter of time. We had to stay on him. Eventually the floodgates opened up.”
In the seventh inning, Josh Harrison led off with a double for Cannon Falls, Meyers walked and Stein bunted the ball by Hodges to load the bases with no outs. After a fielders’ choice cut down Harrison at the plate, Otto ripped a double into the right-centerfield gap to tie the game at 3-3. Winchell followed with an RBI single and the Bears held on for the win.
Winchell picked a runner off first base to end the game with Blue Earth’s No. 3 hitter at the plate.
The Bears play again Sunday at 2 p.m. in Cannon Falls, with another game at 5 p.m., if necessary. Cannon Falls already qualified for state competition but tomorrow’s game will determine seeding for the Class C state tournament. The No. 1 seeds get a first-week bye at state.
“We’re confident,” Meyers said. “We just have to stick with it.”