Jr. Pirates win 12A state title
The Blue Earth 12-year-old Jr. Pirates won the 2011 Minnesota State Tournament of Champions over the July 22-24 weekend in Woodbury.
The Jr. Pirates started the competition on Friday, July 22 and defeated a team from Burnsville 17-2 in four innings.
Kaylan Legred went 3 for 3 at the plate, stole five bases and scored three runs. Bobby Lindsey was 2 for 3 including a double and scored two runs. Burnsville scored both of their runs in the first inning. After that, the boys from Blue Earth settled in and shut them down.
The second game was played on Saturday, July 23 against Eagan. The Jr. Pirates came away with an 11-4 victory, coming from behind and scoring eight runs in the final two innings.
Ethan Hurn went 3 for 4 at the plate and scored three runs. Jesus Quintero was 3 for 3, stole three bases and scored two runs. Zac Schonrock went 2 for 3 and scored one run. Josh Mussel went 2 for 2 and had a stolen base. As a team, the Jr. Pirates were 12 of 31 for a team batting average of .387.
A large thunderstorm passed through Saturday afternoon and postponed the third and final game of sectional pool play to Sunday morning at 8 a.m. In this matchup, Blue Earth would face a heavily favored, second-ranked team in the state – Lakeville. Up to this point Lakeville had only lost one game all year.
This was a back and forth game with both teams scoring one run in the first inning. It stayed that way until Blue Earth broke the game open in the fifth, scoring six unanswered runs and finished the game with an 8-1 victory against a much higher rated and heavily favored team.
In the game, Alan Davids went 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and scored one run.
Hurn was 2 for 3, scored two runs and had two stolen bases. Legred was 2 for 3, scored one run and had two stolen bases. Mussel was 2 for 3, scored one run and had two stolen bases. As a team, the Jr. Pirates went 11 for 29 for a team batting average of .379.
With the sectional play completed, the top eight teams were set for the final state championship bracket.
Blue Earth won their section and would face the wild card team with the best record which was Lakeville – for the second time in as many games.
The Jr. Pirates jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning with Legred scoring the first run off a base hit, stealing second and third base, and then scored on an RBI base hit by Hurn.
Legred would score the second run of the game for Blue Earth leading off the third inning with a base hit and scoring when Davids doubled on the very next at bat.
Lakeville mounted a rally in the bottom of the fifth, scoring one run until Davids shut them down with two strikeouts to finish the inning and took their batters down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth and final inning for a 2-1 victory for the Jr. Pirates.
Legred went 2 for 3 scoring both Blue Earth runs along with two stolen bases. Alan Davids was 1 for 3 with an RBI double. Hurn, Collin Bell and Lindsey each had a hit. The team hit 6 for 14 for a .429 batting average.
The semi-final game would follow with Blue Earth facing another highly ranked team out of Rosemont.
The Jr. Pirates jumped out to an early lead in the second inning when Riley Owen scored after he opened up the inning with a base hit and was pushed across by an RBI double off the bat of Schonrock.
Blue Earth proceeded to score two more in the fourth by Hurn and Bell and two insurance runs in the sixth with back-to-back runs by Davids and Hurn and finish with a 5-1 victory.
In the game, Davids, Hurn, Bell and Owen all went 2 for 3 at the plate. The team hit 9 of 23 for a .333 batting average.
The championship game would prove to be the most exciting of all.
The Blue Earth Jr. Pirates would face a very tough team from New Ulm who had beaten the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Prior Lake, on the road to the champ-onship final game.
“The boys entered this game with a great deal of determination,” says head coach Brent Legred. “They were not going to be denied.”
The boys from Blue Earth jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the first inning and followed with four in the third and one in the fourth.
The team from New Ulm charged back hard with a strong rally in the third inning scoring three and loading the bases with two outs and their best hitter coming to the plate.
Blue Earth pitching ace Davids was called in for his final eligible inning and shut down the batter from New Ulm on one pitch, a ground ball back to the pitcher.
New Ulm scored three more runs in the fourth and three in the sixth and final inning before a diving catch by Blue Earth’s Hurn tallied up the third and final out to make the final score Blue Earth 11, New Ulm 9.
In the championship game, Hurn was 3 for 3 with a double. Legred, Davids, Bell, Quintero and Schonrock all went 2 for 3. As a team, Blue Earth knocked out 15 hits out of 27 appearances for an outstanding .556 team batting average with no errors in their final game.
Davids and Hurn carried the majority of the team’s pitching duties throughout the tournament, with Owen and Bell rising to the occasion and pitching an outstanding combined 5-hitter in the championship game.
“The boys had a tremendous weekend at the State Tournament,” says coach Legred. “Each and every boy at some time in this tournament made a game-changing play that combined put them in the championship. They did what they do best, play great fundamental baseball with solid pitching, strong hitting and excellent defense.”
On the road to winning the state title, the Jr. Pirates played nearly mistake-free baseball all tournament long, with only three errors in the entire six games in which they were a perfect 6-0.
For winning the state title, the Jr. Pirates will each receive a customized State Champion ring made by Jostens with their team name and record on one side and their individual name and number on the other. The top of the ring has a brilliant red stone with the words ‘State Champion’ around the edges.
These rings will be awarded to the Jr. Pirates during a special ceremony at the Twins game on Saturday, Sept. 17 when the Twins take on the Cleveland Indians at Target Field.