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Late inning heroics give New York Mills Class A Consolation title

Daniel Kraft rips a base hit in the Eagles 3-2 win over Ely. Bob Williams/FOCUS1 / 7
Brandon Kupfer throws to Tyler Patron at first base in a pick-off attempt. Bob Williams/FOCUS2 / 7
The Eagles welcome Brandon Kupfer to home plate after he belted a grand slam over the left field wall. Bob Williams/FOCUS3 / 7
Adam Snelgrove scores the consolation title game-winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Daniel Kraft. Bob Williams/FOCUS4 / 7
Tyler Patron hoofs it down the first baseline in the last inning comeback by NY Mills. Bob Williams/FOCUS5 / 7
The Eagles pose with the Minnesota State Class A Consolation trophy. Bob Williams/FOCUS6 / 7
Head Coach Chris Bushinger congratulates Brandon Kupfer on his grand slam home run trot. Bob Williams/FOCUS7 / 7

JORDAN, Minn. -- New York Mills won 25 of 26 games this season with great pitching and timely hitting.

Both proved to be key in a last-inning comeback from two runs down to defeat Ely 3-2 and capture the Minnesota State Class A Consolation title.

All three of the Eagles games at state were pitcher's duels.

In the consolation final, NY Mills' Tyler Patron battled Ely's Will Gustafson for six innings before either team got on the board.

"The first six innings Tyler Patron pitched a heck of a ballgame," NY Mills Head Coach Chris Bushinger said.

Until the Eagles' last at-bats, Gustafson held NY Mills to three hits.

The Eagles doubled that number getting three hits in the seventh to win the ballgame.

"All year long we've been talking about timely hitting and timely hitting is what has put runs up on the board in a lot of our ballgames," Bushinger said.

Senior Maison Roberts singled in his last career at-bat to start the rally. Tyler Patron followed with another single and senior Adam Snelgrove doubled to score Roberts and cut Ely's lead to 2-1.

Nick Kupfer came in to pinch run for Patron and scored from third on a past ball. Snelgrove moved to third to put the winning run 90-feet away with nobody out.

Sophomore Daniel Kraft lifted a lazy fly ball to right field to score Snelgrove easily on the sacrifice fly to complete the comeback.

Snelgrove went from goat to hero the last half inning of play.

Ely took a 2-0 lead in the top half of the seventh when Pat Huisman singled to start the inning.

Jory Johnson hit a grounder to Snelgrove at second in what appeared as an easy double-play ball. Snelgrove booted the ball and then rushed a throw that Kupfer never had a chance at catching at first base.

Huisman moved to third; Johnson took second base on the throwing error.

Patron fielded a Cody Bialik bunt and had Huisman dead on the squeeze attempt, but Patron booted the ball for the third error of the inning allowing Huisman to put the first run of the game up on the board unearned.

Bialik tallied Ely's second run on a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Greg Helget.

The Eagles answered three errors with three runs to end their season on a high note.

"This year, we were ready for it," Roberts said. "We haven't looked good the last couple days. It's unbelievable - that last little hurrah there."

"25-1, absolutely outstanding," Bushinger said. "That game last night, I certainly hope that doesn't overshadow anything on what we did this year."

The Eagles were sent to the consolation bracket after a tough 1-0 loss to St. Agnes in a game that did not start until after 10 p.m. due to heavy rainfall in the Chaska area Thursday.

The game ended at midnight amidst some controversy.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Eagles starter Snelgrove struck out Joe McDonald.

However, the ball got away from catcher Adam Patron and trickled to his right coming to rest quietly near the Aggies on-deck circle.

McDonald scampered to second base on the play while Patron tried to find the ball.

Nick Turch's sacrifice bunt moved McDonald to third base.

Jake Gutzmann stepped to the plate and Snelgrove prepared to pitch from the stretch when McDonald took off attempting a steal of home plate.

Snelgrove fired to Patron and McDonald was out easily for what appeared to be the third out of the inning.

Home Plate Umpire Scott Seaton, however, saw the play differently calling a balk on Snelgrove and awarding the run to McDonald, which proved to be the game-winner.

A lengthy discussion was had between Bushinger and the three members of the umpiring crew, Seaton, Paul Ringo and David Gunderson, but to no avail to the Eagles' plight.

"Disappointing...the way that they got it," Bushinger said. "Kind of a questionable balk call, I disagree with it, but three guys are going to overrule me."

St. Agnes starter Jack Fossand struck out 12 Eagle batters for the complete game victory.

NY Mills rebounded strong in the opening game of the consolation bracket thanks to the pitching and hitting efforts of Kupfer.

Kupfer pitched a complete game three-hitter and connected on a third-inning grand slam to help himself out in the Eagles' 5-1 victory over BOLD.

Kraft scored the fifth run in the fourth inning to give Kupfer a 5-0 lead.

BOLD managed its only run in the seventh. The run was unearned.

NY Mills finishes their season with an impressive 25-1 record and a fifth place finish in the state tournament.

"These guys have just had an outstanding year," said Bushinger.

Kupfer and Patron, who will both be juniors next year, will be a difficult one-two punch on the mound for opponents of the 2013 Eagles. The duo brings two consecutive state tourney appearances to next year's team, as well.

Kupfer finished the season 10-0. Patron compiled a 6-0 pitching record.

Combined with Snelgrove (9-1), the three Eagle pitchers ended the season with an ERA under 1.50.

"We have two strong pitchers coming back with Kupfer and Patron," said Bushinger. "Tucker Skoblik is going to get some time on the mound for us next year and we have some young guys on defense that are going to fill those spots that we are going to be losing."

NY Mills loses five seniors to graduation: ace pitcher Snelgrove, shortstop Roberts, third baseman Kyle Vorderbruggen, left fielder Sam Slieter and Nick Letourneau.

"I'll miss it," said Roberts.

ELY 000 000 2 - 2 5 0

NYM 000 000 3 - 3 5 4

N-T. Patron and A. Patron. E-Gustafson (6), Snyder and Helget.

W-T. Patron. L-Gustafson.

NYM 004 100 0 - 5 4 4

BOLD 000 000 1 - 1 3 3

N-Kupfer and A. Patron. B-Sandgren (4), Kramer and T. Athman.

W-Kupfer. L-Sandgren.

HR-Kupfer 1.

NYM 000 000 0 - 0 3 1

StAg 000 100 x - 1 3 1

N-Snelgrove and A. Patron. S-Fossand and Knippenberg.

W-Fossand. L-Snelgrove.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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