By Matthew Davis
Sun Post Newspapers
Eric Pearson had a big day in two games for Champlin VFW baseball at state, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the consolation bracket on the opening day.
Pearson connected for two hits and two RBIs in each of the Rebels first two games in Brainerd on Thursday, Aug. 7. Champlin went 1-1 in those games before moving on to fall 6-2 against Becker on Friday, Aug. 8.
Pearson helped the Rebels (27-7) start strong with an 11-3 against Austin (31-6) in their tourney opener. Aaron Kloeppner won the game pitching in the 11-8 win with 15 first-pitch strikes and a couple strikeouts.
Champlin held off a five-run rally by Austin in the seventh to inning to secure the victory. Riley Altonen drove in two runs for the Rebels, and Riley Johnson posted a team-best three hits.
Late-inning efforts did not go as well with Champlin in their second-round game against Grand Rapids in an 8-7 loss. Trailing 6-5, the Rebels rallied in the seventh to tie things up after four scoreless innings.
Pearson again had two RBI for Champlin, and Jeff Wehlage threw five innings with 20 first-pitch strikes. Grand Rapids scored twice in the eighth inning, and the Rebels came up short in the bottom of the extra frame.
With elimination on the line, Champlin could not get the bats going against Becker as it had all season. The Rebels mustered four hits in a 6-2 loss. Alex Backritges threw seven innings with 23 first-pitch strikes and one strikeout.
He also drove in one of the Rebels’ two runs. Champlin fell behind early 1-0 and gave up three runs in the third before getting on the board.
The Rebels finished their season 27-8 overall. They won their division in District 7 and the district tournament title to reach their second state tourney appearance in three years.
Contact Matthew Davis at [email protected]