Eagles advance to Section final behind Kupfer one-hitter (VIDEO)
FERGUS FALLS -- The No. 3-ranked New York Mills Eagles baseball team advanced to the Section 6A finals behind a one-hitter by sophomore Brandon Kupfer.
Kupfer pitched a complete game, allowing one unearned run, while walking two and striking out nine Eagle Valley Rebels in a 4-1 victory.
"Brandon Kupfer did an outstanding job," NY Mills Head Coach Chris Bushinger said. "He was consistently around the plate, kept their hitters off balance. (Eagle Valley) didn't have very many hard hit balls off him all game long and that's the name of the game."
The Eagles improve to 22-0. The Rebels end their season with a record of 7-15, after being eliminated by Frazee 10-0 in the third game played Tuesday.
"These final four teams are here for a reason," Bushinger said. "Records, to me, they go out the window when playoffs start."
The Eagles have won 22 straight behind the excellent pitching of their starters, but have managed to outgun opponents offensively with timely hitting.
That was absent Tuesday afternoon.
NY Mills threatened in every inning getting at least one runner into scoring position, but Rebel starter Taylor Bailey found ways to escape threats in all innings but the third and seventh.
Shane Novak walked to start the third, was bunted to second by Adam Patron and scored on a Kupfer double.
Maison Roberts made it back-to-back doubles to score Kupfer and the eventual game-winner.
Roberts scored on a single up the middle by Adam Snelgrove as the Eagles posted a 3-0 lead, which was more than enough for Kupfer.
Eagle Valley scored their only run in the sixth.
Bailey reached on a two-out error at second base. Logan Riedel singled and an error in right field brought Bailey around.
The inning ended on the same play as right fielder Novak's throw was awry to the bag at third.
Third baseman Kyle Vorderbruggen gunned to the plate to miss Bailey, but catcher Adam Patron threw the ball back to Vorderbruggen to get Riedel trying to stretch his hit to the third base bag.
The putout was scored 9-5-2-5.
Having lost a pre-game coin flip, the Eagles were the road team and added an insurance run in the top of the seventh.
Kupfer walked and moved to third when Roberts hit his second double of the game. Tyler Patron walked to load the bags. Kupfer was thrown out at the plate on a grounder hit by Daniel Kraft.
Kyle Vorderbruggen got a RBI the hard way taking a bean ball from Bailey to score Roberts to push the lead to 4-1.
Bailey got himself into most of the last inning trouble. He walked two and beaned Vorderbruggen, but allowed only one run from the bases loaded no out situation to keep Eagle Valley in the game.
Riedel's single in the sixth broke up a Kupfer no-hitter after five and 2/3 innings of hitless baseball.
Roberts, the Eagles clean-up hitter, did just that going 3-4 and missing only a home run to complete the cycle. Roberts hit a triple in the third, a single in the fifth and a double in the seventh. He scored twice and had one RBI.
Kupfer and Tyler Patron were 1-3. Kupfer added one RBI.
Snelgrove was 1-4 with a RBI.
The Eagles will play a hot Frazee club in the finals Thursday, June 7, at 4 p.m., back at Legion Field n Fergus Falls.
The No.10-ranked Hornets (19-5) dispatched Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley and Eagle Valley by mirror scores of 10-0 in five innings.
Frazee played both games with a lot of team speed, which ran them out of a big inning in their first game versus C-G-B. All three runners in a bases loaded scenario were caught when a tag from third on a fly to short center shorted out when the throw hung up Eric Moltzan trying to score from third and backlogged the runners behind him.
The running gaffe was a rare error in Frazee's back-to-back shutouts.
The Hornets threatened every inning and looked like a team capable of upsetting the undefeated Eagles should their pitching hold out.
Frazee will have to beat NY Mills twice to advance to state. The task should prove difficult seeing as no team has defeated NY Mills in 22 attempts, including Frazee twice.
"It would be nice to play someone new," Kupfer said. "Frazee isn't much of a scare."
NY Mills defeated Frazee May 21 and May 31 by scores of 4-1 and 3-1.
The Eagles will counter with well-rested senior staff ace Adam Snelgrove to try to clinch a second straight trip to the state tournament.
Minnesota Section 6A playoffs.
No. 3 (1A) New York Mills versus Eagle Valley, Tuesday, June 5, Legion Field, Fergus Falls.
NYM 103 000 1 - 4 6 3
EV 000 001 0 - 1 1 2
New York Mills
AB R H Bi
Novak 2 1 0 0
A. Patron 3 0 0 0
Kupfer 3 1 1 1
Roberts 4 2 3 1
T. Patron 3 0 1 0
Snelgrove 4 0 1 1
Kraft 4 0 0 0
Vorderbrug. 2 0 0 1
Slieter 2 0 0 0
Totals 27 4 6 4
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): NYM: Kupfer (WP) 7-1-1-0-2-9. Battery: Kupfer and A. Patron.
AB R H Bi
Bailey 2 1 0 0
Riedel 3 0 1 0
Nelson 3 0 0 0
Oftedahl 2 0 0 0
Meyer 3 0 0 0
Wagner 2 0 0 0
Mock 3 0 0 0
Pratt 2 0 0 0
Adamitz 2 0 0 0
Totals 22 1 1 0
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): SEB: Bailey (LP) 7-6-4-4-5-4. Battery: Bailey and Nelson.