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New York Mills advances to Class A state baseball final

Brandon Kupfer comes home with the game-winning run to send New York Mills to the state championship game. Robert Williams/FOCUS

CHASKA — The New York Mills Eagles (25-0) made it two walk-off wins in a row advancing to the Minnesota Class A state baseball championship game and keeping a perfect record intact with a 6-5 last inning victory over Chatfield (22-4) at Chaska Athletic Park Friday afternoon.

With the game tied at five in the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles loaded the bases started by a leadoff base hit by Brandon Kupfer.

Clean-up hitter Tyler Patron sacrficed Kupfer to second base with a bunt forcing an intentional walk to Dustin Gaudette followed by a single to Dan Kraft to load the bases with one out.

Tucker Skoblik came to the plate and worked a 3-1 count before taking ball four to knock in a smiling Kupfer from third base.

“I just went up there trying to be as calm as I could,” said Skoblik. “I was just looking for anything I could get past the infield, up in the air out there. I surprised myself. When I got up there I was more calm once I got in that box.”

Like the quarterfinal win Thursday, Kupfer got the big hit to get the Eagles' late-inning magic machine moving.

“Perfect ending to the perfect season, we’ve just got one more job,” Kupfer said. “This is half the job just getting there. I feel successful right now doing that and it’s going to be an unreal experience.”

“We don’t give up,” said Skoblik. “We’ll play through the last out. We just have that fight in us to never back down from anything and never give up. Hats off to (Chatfield), they rallied good to tie it up.”

Tyler Patron pitched a complete game for the victory on the mound running into trouble in the fifth inning only.

“I felt good out there,” said Patron. “Mentally, I wasn’t there that one inning, for sure. It’s tough knowing that they knew Adam couldn’t throw. You knew they were going to take off.”

Catcher Adam Patron came out of the game in the fifth inning as an injury to his throwing hand allowed Gopher baserunners to steal at will.

Patron retired the Gophers in order the first three innings and went to the fourth with a 5-0 lead thanks to an Austin Maneval run in the second inning and a four-run rally in the third.

Taylor Ericksrud scored on Skoblik’s first RBI of the game. Dustin Gaudette, Skoblik, and Maneval came around on a bases-clearing hit by AJ Wegscheid that got by the centerfielder to empty the bags.

Sinking line drives to centerfield have been kind to New York Mills the past two days. Damon Tumberg hit a similar liner to win the game Thursday.

The Gophers’ leadoff hitter Zach Eggers got Chatfield on the board in the fourth on a RBI groundout by Nate Skare to cut the lead to 5-1.

Chatfield was held hitless by Patron through four innings, but the Gopher bats came alive in the fifth to the tune of six singles and four runs. Wegscheid came up with a big defensive play to stop the bleeding with a running snag of a foul ball near the fence along the left field line for the final out of the inning with runners on base.

Chatfield starter Skare sent the Eagles back on the field with little threat from the batters’ box until the final inning.

Patron allowed a single in the sixth and one in the seventh but neither batter touched second base.

Coming off a walk-off win Thursday in the quarterfinals over Ely, the Eagles strode to the plate in the seventh with a purpose displaying the can-do attitude from the entire lineup to get the job done.

Patron, the clean-up batter, did not have to sacrifice but laid down a perfect bunt to move Kupfer over. Dan Kraft’s only hit of the game came when it mattered to load the bags. Wegscheid clearing the bases for three runs from the nine spot in the batting order was huge.

Skoblik was more calm at the plate for the last at-bat than Skare on the mound and the result shows that.

New York Mills will play Monday at Target Field versus New Life Academy of Woodbury in a battle of teams nicknamed the Eagles. New Life Academy defeated BOLD 3-2 in eight innings to punch their ticket to the finals. The game was moved to Monday due to expected poor weather Saturday in Minneapolis.

CHA 000 140 0 — 5   8 1

NYM 014 000 1 — 6 11 1

 For more photos from this game and Monday's final, follow @perhamsports on Twitter.

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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