Warriors hold off Perham for 8AA baseball championship
Perham’s penchant for comeback victories was thwarted by Warroad in a 4-3 come-from-behind Section 8AA clinching win for the Warriors in Perham Friday afternoon at Krueger Field.
The Yellowjackets forced a second and deciding game with an extra-inning victory over Warroad Thursday night.
“We had chances to win yesterday and I have to give them a lot of credit, they battled all the way, low on pitching and they did the same thing today. They didn’t lay down; they put in a hell of an effort,” Warroad head coach Scott Knutson said.
The Minnesota High School League’s new pitch count rule had a big affect on both clubs, more so Perham after having to play one more game in the elimination bracket and missing ace pitcher Matt Benke the entire playoffs.
“It affected both teams,” Knutson said. “We had to play one less game so we didn’t have to go as deep into our pitchers. In the old days, it would have been their No. 1 and our No. 1 throwing today and who knows what happens there? It definitely makes you coach differently. Not so much in the regular season, but when you get here and start playing all those games.”
Jaron Moyer drew the nod on the hill for Warroad and fell behind 1-0 when Jace Kovash singled and scored on a base hit by Roo Schmitz to give Perham a lead in their opening at-bats.
Moyer tied the game himself with a single to score Max Marvin in the bottom of the second.
“I just came in, knew I needed to throw good and help my team out,” said Moyer. “I knew they were going to make the plays behind me. I just had to throw strikes.”
The Warriors defense made two gaffes in the field, both in the fourth and Perham capitalized scoring courtesy runner Kaleb King and Connor Breitenfeldt unearned for a 3-1 lead.
Moyer shut down Perham the next two innings allowing only one baserunner on an infield hit to reach.
“Jaron threw very well; he’s only a sophomore and struggled the last time he pitched, but where we were at I had to roll the dice and throw him because if he’s on he’s going to be tough to hit,” said Knutson.
Perham starter Zach Peterson was able to get out of jams the first four innings stranding five baserunners in the first two innings, including a bases-loaded situation in the second.
The Warriors used well-placed hits to generate offense. Six of Warroad’s nine hits did not leave the infield.
The top of the Warrior batting order came to the plate in the fifth and quickly loaded the bases with one out.
Moyer and Brennan Foster scored to tie the game and the Perham battery had a couple uncomfortable plays at the plate, one allowing Nick Streiff to score on a passed ball with the eventual game-winner.
The Jackets rallied and put three runners on in the seventh chasing Moyer after a walk to Josh Jeziorski. Foster came on in relief and put Elias Hoffman on with a walk to load the bags but earned the save retiring Ryan Kalina to end the Jackets’ season with the tying run 90-feet away.
Warroad returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2005 when the Warriors won the consolation championship.
PER 100 200 0 - 3 7 1
WAR 010 030 X - 4 9 2
WP: Jaron Moyer; LP: Zach Peterson; S: Brennan Foster