After winning one game 2-1 at the State Baseball Tournament, the Blue Earth Pirates lost their next game by the same score, 2-1 in 11 innings.
The loss knocked them out of championship round contention.
The first game was against the St. Cloud Snappers on Friday, Sept. 4.
After getting that victory, the Pirates’ next opponent would be Winsted the next day.
The Pirates fell behind 1-0 right away in the first inning, but came back to tie it up in the fifth.
“We had our chances to get one more run a couple of times,” Coach Todd Schmidtke says.
“Twice we had runners thrown out at home plate — Todd Rasmussen in the fifth inning and Trent Sonnicksen in the bottom of the eighth,” he adds.
There was a bit of controversy on the second play.
T.J. Stallman hit a deep fly to center field, and Sonnicksen had to stop to see if it was caught.
He rounded third and slid head first into home plate with the catcher’s tag hitting him in the back.
“Our bench and our fans erupted at the call,” Schmidtke says. “They all felt he was safe.”
In the 11th inning Winsted got their winning run on a couple of missed throws, at first base and then at home plate.
After a single, the runner advanced to second on a pop-up.
A chopper to third resulted in an errant throw to first, followed by one from first to home.
“It was a tough way to lose,” Schmidtke says.
Aaron Wendt pitched 10 innings and did a great job, Schmidtke says.
He allowed just six hits and struck out four. Vinnie VanEnglinburg came in for one inning of relief.
T.J. Schmidtke led the hitting, going 2 for 5.
Blue Earth 2, St. Cloud 1
In the Friday game, the Pirates got an all-star performance from pitcher Lee Hodges.
Once again, the righthander went the distance for a complete game.
In nine innings, he gave up only one run on seven hits and struck out 14 St. Cloud batters.
He was named to the All-Tournament team for his efforts.
Hodges was 3-0 in the State Tourney, and struck out an incredible 35 batters.
In the 27 innings he pitched, Hodges allowed just two runs.
The Pirates tied the Snappers hit output, getting seven of their own.
Wendt and Schmidtke led the team, both 2 for 4 at the plate. Wendt accounted for both RBI.
Blue Earth took the lead 1-0 in the fourth inning when Sonnicksen scored on a single from Wendt.
St. Cloud tied it in the fifth.
Wendt hit a double in the eighth inning that brought in Rasmussen to score the winning run.
The Pirates ended the 2009 season with a 36-7 record and were one of the top five teams in Class C in the state.
“It was an exciting, awesome season,” Coach Schmidtke says. “A very good year — and with most of the guys coming back, we should have a good year in 2010, too.”