NY Mills defeats Frazee 4-2, Section 6A champions
FERGUS FALLS -- The New York Mills Eagles baseball team, on the arms of freshman Brandon Kupfer and junior Adam Snelgrove, fresh off his no-hitter thrown Tuesday, combined to shut down the Frazee Hornets and take the Minnesota Section 6A championship by a score of 4-2.
Snelgrove cleaned up the final two innings, allowing only two Hornets on base to garner the save after Kupfer threw five solid innings and 90 pitches, allowing two runs, one earned, striking out five. The duo did not allow a base on balls.
"I was hoping and I wanted to pitch but I didn't know if I could," Snelgrove said. "I told my dad that adrenaline is going to do it. My arm felt good but not pitching good."
Snelgrove has been the staff ace, with freshmen Kupfer and Tyler Patron logging plenty of innings all season. Patron no-hit Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale in the second round of sub-section play last week.
"It's kind of cool now that I get to be the guy," Snelgrove said." I was always the kid who came in and now I'm the guy and I'm going to be a senior this year; it's surreal."
The Eagles got on the board early, as they have each game during the playoff run. Tanner Wegscheid walked. Brandon Kupfer singled moving Wegscheid to third base. Catcher Tristan Huwe scored Wegscheid on a sacrifice fly and Spencer Imsande singled to score Kupfer for an early 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Huwe came back from a 0-2 count with a 10-pitch at-bat to get the second run on the board.
Huwe and Imsande did most of the damage in the semifinal victory over Brandon-Evansville, collecting three RBI each.
"I've been wearing the same socks since I started the playoffs and it's been working for me," Imsande laughed. "In the regular season, I struggled a bit. I've come out with a good mindset and confidence."
Jordan Ketter reached base for the Hornets in the third inning on a Wegscheid error at second. He scored on a double by Hornet pitcher Jacob Galbrecht to cut the Eagle lead in half, 2-1.
Galbrecht threw six innings, taking the loss. He allowed four runs on nine hits; he walked two and struck out three.
NY Mills answered in the bottom half of the third when Huwe singled and stole second. Imsande collected his second RBI scoring Huwe with a base hit to up the lead to 3-1. The Eagles added their final run in the fourth inning. Snelgrove was hit by a pitch and sacrificed to second by Shane Novak.
Novak had two first pitch sacrifice bunts in the game moving runners into scoring position. Snelgrove scored on a one-out single by shortstop Mason Roberts.
Galbrecht did all the damage for Frazee. He knocked in the Hornets only other run to make the score 4-2 singling home Andrew Wendt in the fifth.
The Eagles loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth, when Frazee Head Coach Dustin Geiser called his team to the mound. Two plays at the plate and a Snelgrove pop-up to foul ground outside first kept the Hornets in the game.
Geiser was a member of NY Mills' 2004 baseball team that made a run to a second place finish at state. Current Eagle Head Coach Chris Bushinger was Geiser's coach at the time creating a game within a game Thursday night.
"He was one of my top pitchers," Bushinger said. "Dustin Geiser in 2004 was our Adam Snelgrove today; he's our go-to guy. It kind of makes me realize how much older I am getting when I'm coaching against one of my former ballplayers. Dustin's got a great baseball mind. He's a great coach and he's going to do well."
Frazee brought the tying run to the plate in their last at-bats. Ketter hit a one-out single but was out on a Galbrecht fielder's choice at second base. Snelgrove induced a fly to Imsande in centerfield by Brandon Vanwatermulen to end the game.
"I'm so excited," Imsande said. "Out of all the sports, in all honesty, I never thought it would be baseball. We've got these young guys who came up playing like they've been here for years. It's great to have it."
Kupfer and Patron were the two starting pitchers in NY Mills' state championship run in the 13-year old division in 2009. They led the 14-year-old team to a fourth place finish last season. With seniors Huwe and Imsande packing the punch at the plate, underclassmen Snelgrove and the two up-starts from the freshman class make for a paltry combination on the NY Mills mound.
"You've got to be playing your best ball end of May and beginning of June and right now our guys one through nine are putting the ball in play," Bushinger said. "We're playing solid defense. Pitching is there. Brandon kind of struggled a little bit, you could see that today, a little bit uncomfortable there, but right now everything seems to be going well."
The Eagles advance to the state playoffs in Jordan, Minn., to face the winners of Section 3A, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers. They will play at the Mini-Met, in Jordan, Thursday, June 16, at 10 a.m.
"My whole philosophy, I mean the last three weeks when we had the Park Region Conference on the line and the Sub-section and now Section, I've been taking one game at a time," Bushinger said. "I told myself I'm not even going to let my thoughts wander to the state tournament until we get through today and find out what happens. We're just kind of taking it all in stride."
"I haven't even thought about it yet," Snelgrove said."
"For us, it's game by game and Adam Snelgrove has been our ace all year long, even though Brandon Kupfer and Tyler Patron have both pitched extremely well," Bushinger said. "You have to win the one in front of you to get to the next one."
The Panthers, the #4 seed in Section 3, lost their season finale to Class 2A, #17-ranked Marshall, 4-3, but swept through Sub-Section and Section 3 play undefeated, like NY Mills in Section 6. The Panthers defeated: Southwestern United, the five seed, 10-7 in the opening round; they took out the top seed, Springfield, in Springfield, 8-0 in second round action. In the opening of Section 3 play at Granite Falls, T-M-B thumped the two-seed, Ortonville, 17-4, before sweeping two straight from Murray County Central, 10-7 and 11-2, to take the Section 3 title. They come into the match-up winners of nine of their last 10.
The Eagles have won 15 of their past 16 games and are currently on a six-game win streak. NY Mills is 18-4 overall. T-M-B is 17-6. In their past five playoff games, the Eagles have outscored their opponents 37-6. In the same timeframe, the Panthers have outscored their past five playoff opponents 56-20.
Frazee versus New York Mills, Legion Field, Fergus Falls, Thursday, June 9.
FRA 001 010 0 - 2 6 2
NYM 201 100 x - 4 9 2
AB R H Bi
Ketter 2 1 1 0
Galbrecht 4 0 2 2
VanWater. 4 0 0 0
Brower 3 0 1 0
Wacker 3 0 0 0
Hoskins 3 0 0 0
Wokash 2 0 1 0
Piper 3 0 0 0
Wendt 3 1 1 0
Totals 27 2 6 0
New York Mills
AB R H Bi
Roberts 4 0 2 1
Wegscheid 2 1 0 0
Kupfer 4 1 1 0
Patron 3 0 0 0
Huwe 2 1 2 1
Imsande 3 0 3 2
Gaudette 3 0 0 0
Snelgrove 3 1 1 0
Novak 1 0 0 0
Totals 25 4 9 4
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): FRA - Galbrecht (LP) 6-9-4-4-2-3...NYM: Kupfer (WP) 5-5-2-1-0-5; Snelgrove (S) 2-1-0-0-0-0.