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The Perham Silver Pirates are the Minnesota Senior Men's Class A Amateur Baseball State Champions. Front row L-R: Tony Stoll, Larry Mollins, Brad Kempe, Gary Grewe, Ray Sailer and Greg Schmid. Back row: Jim Nelson, Chad Griffin, Jason McClellan, Rob Litzau, Ron Litzau and Terry Haus. Not pictured: Jon Kotaska and Steve Sheets. Submitted photo.

Silver Pirates state Class A Champions

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The Perham Silver Pirates got up on the Edina Braemar Bees early and often and held on for the State Class A Amateur Baseball Championship by a score of 11-5.

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Perham didn't waste any time as they took a two-run lead in the first sending seven hitters to the plate. Tony Stoll hustled down the line and reached first base safely as the shortstop bobbled the ball. Garry Grewe promptly singled to right sending Stoll to third, and Stoll scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Ron Litzau. Terry Haus reached on an error and Chad Griffin singled to score Grewe and the Pirates had a 2-0 lead.

The Pirates put another run on the board in the second inning as Ray Sailer led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Rob Litzau. Stoll made the sacrifice pay off as he chased Sailer home on a single to left and the Pirates led 3-0.

With two outs in the third, Pirate pitcher Chad Griffin had seven strikeouts but the Bees mounted a rally and scored on an error and two hits.

The fourth inning was a real confidence builder for the Pirates as they sent ten batters to the plate and when the dust had settled - there were five more runs on the board and an 8-1 lead. Big hits in the inning were doubles by Stoll, Griffin and Jason McClellan, walks by Sailer and Haus and a single by Ron Litzau.

Runs batted in came off the bats of Griffin with one and two each for Ron Litzau and McClellan.

The Bees mounted their best rally of the game with one out in the fifth inning on two walks, two singles and a sacrifice. Griffin then settled down and retired the side with a pair of pop ups - but the Bees tallied three runs and the score was 8-4 with two innings to go.

In the bottom of the sixth the Bees got another run on a walk and a hit, but Griffin shut the door with a strikeout.

Perham sealed the deal in the top of the seventh as Stoll and Grewe singled before a Ron Litzau double which scored Stoll. Haus walked and Jim Nelson's single sent Grewe and Litzau across the plate and the Pirates were up 11-5 before Griffin struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh.

The Silver Pirates were the 2011 State Class A State Champions!

Top hitters: There were a bunch, as a host of hitters put their hat in the ring for Player Of The Game - Stoll was 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored an RBI and a double. Grewe was 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored, a base on balls and hit by a pitch. Ron Litzau was 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored and 4 RBI, as well as a double and a sacrifice. Nelson was 1 for 5 with 2 RBI's. McClellan was 1 for 5 with a double, a run scored and 2 RBI and Griffin was 3 for 4 with a run scored, two RBI a double and a walk.

Player of the Game: It goes to Chad Griffin - along with his hitting prowess, he was the mound victor of the Championship game, his 4th win of the season allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, 5 walks and 13 strikeouts in seven innings.

Player of the Weekend: Congratulations to the Pirate manager as Ron Litzau was on base 7-times, 4 for 8, 5 runs scored, 4 RBI, a walk, a sacrifice, two Web Gems and a great job of managing the boys to a State Championship.

Game balls: The team handed out two - 1-Ron Litzau, very deserving. 2-Larry Mollins, very much appreciated.

Friday night Silver Pirates faced league foe, Menahga-Sebeka at Union Hill and the Relics owned a 3-1 record over the Silver Pirates in regular season play.

The key to victory in this game would be solid pitching as the Relics are good hitters from top to bottom and jump off to an early lead.

The early lead was taken care of in the first inning as the Pirates scored two runs in the top of the first. Ron Litzau ripped a one out single to left to get the ball rolling and Haus occupied first with a walk before a Griffin single scored Litzau. With two out McClellan reached on an error and Sailer forced the second run of the inning across with a walk.

The Relics came back with a run of their own as leadoff hitter Charlie Dormanen walked, stole second moved to third as the ball skipped away from the catcher and scored on a ground out to second baseman Grewe.

The Pirates got on the board again with two big runs in the second inning as Rob Litzau picked up a lead-off single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Ron Litzau reached on an error as brother, Rob moved to third before Haus ripped a single to right scoring Rob Litzau. Ron Litzau came home on a ground ball to second by Griffin and the Pirates had a 4-1 lead after two.

The 4-1 lead was protected by two Web Gems over the first four innings - In the second Ron Litzau made a diving catch from his right-field position and in the fourth inning McClellan turned in a diving catch from his left-field position. McClellan's catch came with a runner on base.

In the top of the fourth inning the Pirates came up with two more big insurance runs. Ron Litzau got things going with a one out single to right. With two out Griffin was hit by a pitch and Nelson walked to load the bases before McClellan (Pirates top clutch hitter) singled up the middle to score Litzau and Griffin.

The Relics circled the wagons in the sixth and prepared to go for the win. Jeff Lake reached on an error and moved to second on a smash to (Web Gem) Sailer at first - Sailer dove to his right and knocked the ball towards Haus at second who made a quick pick-up and fired to pitcher, Greg Schmid covering first (a big out). As the inning continued DJ Womble reached on an error followed by a hit and a walk. With one run in and the bases loaded Garry Grewe snatched a line drive for the third out.

The last inning was uneventful for the Pirates but Menahga-Sebeka again collected two hits with one out but two fly ball outs and the game was in the books and a 6-2 win for the Silver Pirates.

Top hitters for the Silver boys were Ron Litzau with two hits, Tony Stoll, Haus, Griffin, McClellan, Ray Sailer and Rob Litzau each collected a hit. Griffin and McClellan each had two RBI while Haus and Sailer each had one.

Player of the Game: Ron Litzau was certainly in contention with two hits, three runs scored, a walk and a Web Gem - But Greg Schmid gets the nod as he pitched a picture perfect game against a very good hitting team. Schmid allowed two runs (only one was earned) on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts. With Schmid, when the going got tough he definitely got tougher - congratulations on a great pitching performance.

That does it for the 2011 season - it was a good one! Awards (Trophy, Banner and Bat -with players names) will displayed at the Perham Camber of Commerce Offices.

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