Townball STATE “B” TOURNAMENT 2020: Thrills, Chills and Spills. PL Jays downed by Moorhead Brewers.
The Prior Lake Jays went to Shakopee as #4 seed from Section 3B for their MBA State Class “B” Tournament game vs the Section 2B #1 seeded Moorhead Brewers in the single elimination 1st round on Sunday August 23rd. With nearly 90 tickets pre sold to the PL “SwarmChaser” fan faithful and dozens of walk-ups making the short trip to Schleper Stadium, the 2020 re-tooled red and black drew the seasoned Moorhead Brewers in their 1 round matchup of the 16 team Minnesota Baseball Association Class “B” Tournament for a balmy 200PM matchup at Schleper Stadium at Tahpah Park. The Jays had played 12 regular season games starting in July heading into playoffs, while the Brewers hitched a wagon from NoDak as they have previous seasons to play games as well less restrictive Cov19 policy in North Dakota allowed them a season that started in May likely getting twice the games that PL had. The Brewers have in recent years fared well at MBA B Tournament including a 2-1 14 inning loss to Chanhassen in the 2019 Final 6 losers bracket.
The visiting Jays were blanked in order in the 1st 2 innings by veteran pitcher Brewer David Ernst when Moorhead posted the 1st run of the game on Jays starting pitcher Ben Eisenberg. Following a leadoff single, the Jays defense got the front end of a 5-4-3 double play with Mitchell Goodwin firing from 3rd base to 2nd baseman Jeff Butler for an out by just missing the out at first by Hoeg on the stretch. Mike Peschel, attempted a steal but Jays catcher Tommy Keating popped and fired a laser to Jeff Butler at 2nd base for the 2nd out. Brewer shortstop Brandt Kolpack reached on balls and stoled 2nd before a single to leftfielder Rob Frederick by Chandler Ibach plated Kolpack with the throw off line. Ibach stranded at 2nd with a groundout to end the inning. The Brewers led 1-0 after 2 complete.
Following 1-2-3 innings at the plate by both teams in the 3rd inning, the plucky Jays grabbed the lead in the top of the 4th and gave the fans a charge. With 1 out, Jeff Butler reached on an errant throw to 1st by pitcher Ernst that sailed down the 1B line and allowed Butler to 2nd base. DH Joe Loftus ripped a single to leftfield to move Butler to 3rd base. Jays first baseman Jonah Hoeg struck out fighting deep into count for the 2nd out before Goodwin drilled a 1-1 offering to leftfield gap plating Butler and Loftus advancing to 3rd base. Rob Frederick stepped to the plate and ran the count full then on his swing and miss, the ball glanced off of the catchers mitt to the backstop and allowed Loftus to score easily while the speedy Frederick wheeled safely to first for the 2-1 score. Cooper Smith stranded Frederick at 1st on a flyout to right.
The Brewers went 4 up, 3 down in the bottom of the 4th on a single to deep 3rd that shortstop Corey Goodwin snared but the throw was just late to get the leadoff batter DH Joe Hallock. He advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch by Eisenberg who settled with a strikeout, groundout to short and foul out to 1st base that Hoeg broke for foul territory, measured and snared at the short fence behind 1st base that drew a roar from Jays fans and visiting dugout to end the 4th inning preserve the Jays 2-1 lead.
After a scoreless 5th by the Jays that saw Corey Goodwin stranded after a 1 out walk, the Brewers Ibach hung tough on a 2-2 count before singling to the left side. He advanced on a ball past catcher Mitch Goodwin who moved from playing 3rd base following injury to Tom Keating then to 3rd on a wild pitch by Eisenburg. Moorhead leftfield Matt Oye drove in Ibach with a single to right to tie the score 2-2. Leadoff hitter Spencer Flaten drew a walk after a 3-2 count before the Jays recorded an out with 2 aboard. Following a single by Denver Blinn that plated Oye for a 3-2 score and advanced Flaten to 3rd base, Jays veteran pitcher TJ Larson got the ball in relief, drilling Brewer DH Hallock to load the bases. Moorhead 3rd baseman Adam Tanner was rung up looking on a strikeout for the 2nd out was whistling the NDSU fight song, oblivious as he walked from the box back to first base dugout while Flaten bolted for home on a looping toss back to the pitcher. With Goodwin attempting to receive the throw around the whistling Tanner, then on the plate, Flaten came in ruled safe for the score. With no time apparently called and Larson questioning the non call as well getting ejected during play for his colorful communication and thrown glove, the umpire strolled towards 1st and Denver Blinn went to well again trying to score on the same sequence getting called out on a tag by Goodwin to end the inning. With the heat of the day bearing down and a confused crowd, the umpires had lengthy discussion with the Brewers asking if time was called at ejection and runner Blinn should be sent back to 3rd but they stuck with calls made ending the odd play and inning with a 4-2 score after 5 complete.
The Jays tried to answer in the 6th with Hoeg and Mitch Goodwin reaching on balls with 1 out before a double play hit by Frederick to end the threat. Jimmy Larson followed brother TJ to the hill in the 6th for the Jays striking out Mike Peschel, drilling Kolpack and striking out Ibach. Matt Oye drew a walk with Kolpack advancing to 3rd on a passed ball before Flaten flew out to Cooper Smith in right field to end the inning. The Jays 7th was a 1-2-3 with Jays Smith jumping the 1st pitch for an out, Sam Emmerich striking out and Corey Goodwin flying out to center on starting Brewer pitcher David Ernst. Emmerich moved to catcher for the Jays in the 7th but the Brew crew plated another run on a leadoff single by rightfielder Jayse McLean. McLean advance to 2nd & 3rd on wild pitches before Blinn grounded out. With a 1-0 and 1 out count he scored on a wild pitch that eluded Emmerich. Hallock popped up to Jeff Butler for 2 outs before Tanner grounded to Butler to end the inning with Moorhead tacking a run on for a 5-2 score after 7 complete.
In the 8th inning, the Jays were rolling in the top of the batting order seeking to get back in the game. Centerfielder Austin Gordon went up hacking getting down 0-2 before fouling off a pitch before swinging for a strikeout. Butler singled and Loftus walked before Hoeg had another long at bat that ended in a strikeout. With 2 down. Mitch Goodwin laced a 1st pitch by Ernst, still in the game, deep to centerfield. Spencer Flaten broke quick to his right and back and closed near the track snaring the drive feet from the batters eye. The big black batters eye wall, a longtime feature of Schleper Field was engineered in the 80’s and likely could sustain F5 tornado force but Spencer went full on and tried to flatten it unsuccessfully but got the prize squeezing the pearl an instant before the collision that dropped him and deflated the Jays faithful with 2 runners stranded and the 3rd out and a 5-2 deficit after the top of the 8th for the hometown Jays. Flaten was shaken from the blast that showed State Tournament intensity but thankfully deemed OK (concussion, shoulder separation) and was replaced for the balance of the game.
Jimmy Larson started the bottom of 8 for PL yielding a single to Peschel before Manager Scott Geisler went to the pen bringing in Matt Cady to pitch. Cady, a staple for the Jays in recent seasons as a starter, got a grounder for an out at 2nd for the 1st out before the Brewers strung together 4 straight hits and a Jays error running the score to 7-2 before plating another run on a fielders choice by Blinn. Hallock doubled to left plating 2 and ending Cadys day. Rookie Jake Larson got the call with 2 outs and spotted a ball before getting a groundout to end the frame and a 10-2 score after 8 complete.
In the top of the 9th Parker Trewin replaced Ernst pitching for Moorhead and the Jays countered with Jett Heinen replacing Frederick to lead off the inning. Heinen had several multi hit games for the Jays in ’20 but went down swinging for the 1st out. “Vet of Vets” Adam Cress and his 21 previous years Jays experience ran the count full and reached on balls in Cooper Smiths spot in the lineup. Sam Emmerich, now catching since the 7th from his entry to leftfield for the Jays in the 4th when Keating departed, ran the count to 2-0 before flying out to right field for the 2nd out. With 1 on and an 8 run deficit, shortstop Corey Goodwin went quickly to an 0-2 count, battled back to 2-2 fouling off 2 pitches before a called strikeout to end the inning and Jays 2020 season sending Moorhead to the Final 8 and showdown with 2019 Runner Up Dundas Saturday August 29 at 700PM. FINAL 10-2 Moorhead.
Both the Jays and Brewers stranded 7 baserunners and tallied 1 fielding error. Ernst got the win for Moorhead tossing 8 allowing 3 hits while Ben Eisenberg for the loss for the Jays allowing 4 runs on 6 hits. All runs by both teams were earned.
The Jays vs Brewers final score did not reflect the intensity or close nature of the game. The loss of accomplished PL players from 2019 while incorporating 8 2020 graduates that lost their Spring high school seasons was a great challenge for the hometown PL Jays. 2020, with little happening in the world during unprecedented pandemic, had sustained and incredible fan support at home and on the road all season. The PL Jays tip their cap to the Brewers and Spencer Flaten as well host Shakopee who stepped up when New Ulm opted out of hosting and encourage local ball fans to come out and support the balance of the MBA Class B Tournament, now in Final 8 action. SUPPORT MBA TOWNBALL!
at Shakopee 8/23/20 200PM
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NEXT UP: 2021 for the Prior Lake Jays. The 2020 MBA Class “B” Tournament continues at Shakopee Joe Schleper Stadium Tahpah Park Fri-Sun 8/28-30, single elimination and double elimination Final 4 Fri-Sun 9/4-9/6 . Champion to be crowned Sunday September 6 100PM gametime (400PM if 2nd game needed).
IF YOU GO: Tickets $7 for all. There will be no pre-sold tickets for Final 8. Up to four tickets can be purchased at the gate and must be paid in cash only. Gates open 45 minutes before the first game of the day and 30 minutes for subsequent games. THANKS in advance for cooperation on MBA Cov19 Protocol at entry. NO PETS, Cash only.
AREA BALLERS REPRESENTING: Elko Express (DRS-Section 1B), New Prague Orioles, St Patrick Irish, Union Hill Bulldogs, Prior Lake Mudcats (DRS-Region 3C) from the Dakota Rice Scott League and Chanhassen Red Birds,
Chaska Cubs, Victoria Vics (RVL-Section 3B) as well Jordan Brewers, Gaylord Islanders (DRS-Region 6C) from the River Valley League are participants in the MBA 16 team Class “B” and 48 team “C” State Tournaments. With New Ulm opting out of hosting at Historic Johnson and Mueller Parks, The Class “C” Tournament will be hosted by Springfield (was a 2020 3rd Site) and Milroy Riverside Park while the entire Class “B” Tournament will be hosted by Shakopee.
Minnesota Baseball Association (Townballs governing body)