Blue Earth beats Union Hill in rematch of 2006 State Championship game
It was a rematch between the two teams that battled for the 2006 Class C Championship as Blue Earth met Union Hill (located near New Prague on State Highway 19) in region baseball playoff action on Aug. 2.
Just as Blue Earth defeated the Bulldogs from Union Hill two years ago, they were able to come away with a victory in the rematch winning 5-2.
Waterville was the site for the region playoffs and the Pirates took the field first as the home team.
Aaron Wendt was on the mound for Blue Earth and after an uneventful first inning found himself in a bit of a jam in the top of the second. A double and a walk put runners on first and second with no outs. Wendt helped himself out as he fielded an attempted sacrifice bunt and threw to third base to eliminate the lead runner.
Catcher T.J. Stallman fired a ball down to second base and caught the runner too far off the bag for the second out. Wendt struck out the next batter to end the inning.
The Pirates plated two runs in their half of the second inning as Daniel Woodall and Wendt led off the inning with singles to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third base.
T.J. Schmidtke hit a high chopper that looked like it had been hit off the Metrodome surface. The result was an infield hit and the opening run of the game as Woodall came across to score.
Dominic Schultz hit a single for the fourth consecutive hit and Wendt came across for the Pirates’ second run. Union Hill’s pitcher Rick Bell was able to escape the inning without further damage but Blue Earth took a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates took advantage of a couple of errors in the bottom of the third to add another run. With one out, an error by the shortstop allowed Stallman to reach first. Woodall connected for an opposite field single. Wendt hit a grounder to the shortstop for what appeared to be an inning ending double play but a bad relay resulted in another error and allowed Stallman to score the Pirates’ third run.
The Bulldogs came back to score one run in the top of the fourth as two walks and an infield single that hit Wendt loaded the bases with one out. A grounder to second baseman Trent Sonnicksen forced the runner at second and plated the first run for Union Hill.
Shortstop Schmidtke made a good play to snare a hard line drive and end the inning with no further damage.
Blue Earth came right back in their half of the fourth to score their final two runs of the evening. With one out, Schultz hit a single to left field and moved to second on a wild pitch. A ground out by Kane Malo moved Schultz to third base. An opposite field single by the left handed hitting Sonnicksen scored Schultz with the Pirates fourth run.
Following a stolen base by Sonnicksen, Cody Sukalski drove a single to left to plate Sonnicksen with the Pirates’ fifth and final run of the evening.
Union Hill scored another run in the top of the fifth on three consecutive singles but a line out to Malo at third and a 6-4-3 double play closed the door on the scoring threat.
Wendt worked 8 2/3 innings for the Pirates with Brent Vollbrecht, a draftee from Morristown coming in to record the last out.
“We beat an excellent team” commented Coach Todd Schmidtke. “Aaron pitched a good game and we made big defensive plays at the right time.”
The line score showed the Pirates recording five runs on 10 hits while committing zero errors. Union Hill scored two runs on eight hits while committing four errors.