Maple Grove won four straight games to capture the 2013 state championship in Ely last week.
MAPLE GROVE DEFEATS MARSHALL 5-4
Maple Grove and Marshall passed the lead back and forth five times Thursday at Ely, but in the end the Crimson pulled out a 5-4 win in seven innings.
With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Maple Grove’s Matt Vogl kick-started the inning with a leadoff single. Ethan Hendricks beat out a well-placed bunt and reached first base safely advancing Vogl. Bubba Horton’s sacrifice bunt played on by the pitcher sailed into foul territory in an attempt to retire Vogl at third base, bringing the game to conclusion.
Brett Shulze picked up the win in relief for Maple Grove. He pitched 3 2/3 innings allowing one run on four hits.
Offensive highlights for Maple Grove included a 3 for 3 plate performance by centerfielder Josh Wente, a two-run double by shortstop Isaac Collins, and an RBI single by second-baseman Mason McMahon.
CRIMSON EDGE HUTCHINSON 5-4 ON SUICIDE SQUEEZE
After seven lead changes in Friday’s game at Ely, Maple Grove eventually pulled out a 5-4 win over Hutchinson.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, leadoff hitter Austin Mathison lined a fastball to left field that skipped past a diving defender allowing the speedy Mathison to advance to third. Hendricks plated Mathison for the game winner with a one-out suicide bunt.
Mathison was perfect at the dish, going 3-3. He tripled in the second inning and singled in the fifth and seventh innings.
Noah Croaker got the pitching win on a complete game for Maple Grove. He allowed four runs over seven innings. He struck out four, walked four and gave up eight hits.
Hutchinson jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Maple Grove answered with three runs of its own in the bottom half inning. The Crimson scored on an RBI triple by McMahon, an RBI single by Wente, and an RBI triple by Mathison.
Hutchinson tied the game in the top of the fifth inning and it didn’t take long for Maple Grove to respond as it scored a go ahead run of its own in the fifth. Vogl plated Mathison with a sacrifice fly.
Hutchinson tied the game in the seventh on a passed ball and with the bases loaded and one out threatened to break the game wide open. Third-baseman Vogl scooped up a ground ball and delivered a strike to catcher McIntyre forcing out the potential go ahead run. Croaker ended Hutchinson’s last hope by striking out the final batter.
CRIMSON SURVIVE CRETIN 7-6 TO ADVANCE TO CHAMPIONSHIP
Cretin wasn’t able to come back from the big hole it dug itself into against Maple Grove, and lost 7-6 to the Crimson after falling behind by six runs in the second inning.
Cretin struck first scoring a run the top of the first, but Maple Grove answered back scoring two runs on an RBI double by Hendricks and an RBI single by McMahon.
Maple Grove piled on five more runs in the bottom of the second taking advantage of two walks, a hit batter, and singles by Mathison, Collins, and Vogl.
Joey Kmiec recorded the win for Maple Grove allowing five runs over five innings. Kmiec struck out three, walked six and gave up five hits.
In the top of the seventh inning with the tying run on first for Cretin-Derham Hall and no outs, Schulze, pitching in relief, fielded a sacrifice bunt attempt and threw a strike to shortstop Collins, who promptly turned the double play. Schulze recorded the save in thwarting a Cretin comeback.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Explosion of five first-inning runs help Maple Grove VFW to an 8-3 win over Hutchinson in state final.
Adam Brant ignited the Maple Grove offense with a leadoff double and it was off the to races in the top of the first as the Crimson plated five runs with the biggest hit being a two-run double by Hendricks. Brant reached base four times in the game and stole two bases, while Vogl finished the game 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBI’s.
Schulze looked sharp on the mound. Hutchinson managed just two hits off of the Crimson pitcher, who allowed one earned run, walked three and struck out seven during his 6 1/3 innings of work.
After pushing across two runs in the bottom of the sixth, Hutchinson faced just a 8-2 deficit. A hit by pitch and an error set off a Hutchinson rally. Finally, Schulze induced an inning-ending fly out.
Hutchinson scored one run in the bottom of the seventh to close its deficit to 8-3. But with the bases loaded and one out Crimson closer Croaker induced a game ending double play.
Maple Grove VFW ends the season with a record of 36 -5. Notable accomplishments were first place finishes in the Monticello tournament, St. Cloud tournament, VFW District 7 championship, and State VFW championship.