Pirates in championship game
The Blue Earth Pirates won both of their two 13-60 League Playoff games on July 25 and 26.
They defeated New Richland on Saturday 7-1, then won over Lake Crystal in a marathon 20-13 slugfest on Sunday.
Game one was a crisp, well-played game that saw Lee Hodges go all nine innings for the Pirates.
Hodges allowed the one run late in the game. He gave up just four hits while striking out 10 New Richland batters.
The Pirates out hit the Reds 11-4.
Justin Schaible was a perfect 4 for 4 at the plate, including two doubles.
Aaron Wendt was 3 for 4 and nailed a double and a home run, getting three RBI.
Kane Malo was 2 for 3. Hodges was just 1 for 3, but accounted for three RBI.
The Pirates scored one run in the second inning and held that narrow lead for several innings. They scored two runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
In Sunday’s wild game, the Pirates held a 2-0 lead through the first two innings. Lake Crystal, however, exploded for seven runs in the third inning, taking a 7-2 lead.
Blue Earth got three in their half of the third, including a home run by Aaron Wendt. That made it 7-5.
Lake Crystal went up 12-6 in their half of the fifth inning. But Blue Earth scored eight runs in the bottom half of the fifth, for a 14-12 lead.
The Pirates scored four more in the sixth and two more in the seventh to hit the 20 mark. Lake Crystal got just one more run, in the sixth.
There were 30 hits in the game, 16 by Blue Earth, and 14 by Lake Crystal.
Wendt was 3 for 4 with seven RBI and Todd Rasmussen went 3 for 5. T.J. Stallman, Justin Schaible, Kane Malo and Lee Hodges all had two hits in the game.
Cody Sukalski pitched for 4 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on 10 hits.
Wendt came in for 3 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on four hits. Garrett Anderson also pitched for one inning.
The two wins propelled the Pirates into the championship game, set for Sunday, Aug. 2 in Blue Earth. They will play the winner of a game on Saturday between Cleveland and Lake Crystal.
If the Pirates win the game on Sunday, they will be the league champs. If they lose, there will be another game between the same two teams 20 minutes after game one. That game would determine first and second place in the league.
If the Pirates win the championship, they would be seeded first in the 13-60 Black bracket in the Region and would play at 4 p.m. on Aug. 8 in Montgomery.
If they wind up in second place, they will play at 7 p.m. on Aug. 8.