After making the long trip up I-94, Isanti battled hard in last weekend’s Class B Super Section tournament in Moorhead. The Redbirds’ amateur baseball season came to a close after the team went 1-2 in games at Jack Williams Stadium.
Isanti opened action Friday night against host Moorhead which saw the Brewers win 8-7 in 15 grueling innings. The game was tied 2-2 through four innings when the Redbirds bolted to a 6-2 lead with a good fifth inning. Brian Schultz led off with a single, then after an out, Jake Maros and Tyler Schaff followed with base hits. Wyatt Soderquist tripled home two runs, then Dan Hermann scored him with his single.
The Brewers scratched back but were still down 7-5 going into the bottom of the ninth. A little pop-up fell into right field, followed by a check-swing single. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, a fly to right scored one run, then the throw to peg the second runner skipped past third to forge the 7-7 tie.
Dallas Nelson pitched great for Isanti, going the first eight innings. Schultz worked the final 6 2/3’s innings, also throwing well, while Moorhead spun through four pitchers. Maros, Schaff and Soderquist all had three hits in the game.
“We gave them everything we had. It was a real dogfight,” said Isanti manager Steve Allen. “You know, each game has its ebbs and flows, but this game had ebbs and flows every inning. Both teams left 15 runners on base; we just couldn’t get that big hit in the extra innings.”
Redbirds defeat Champlin
Isanti kept its season alive with a 5-3 win over Metro Minny partner Champlin Saturday afternoon. The Redbirds led 2-0 in the third inning when Matt Duong singled and stole second, and B.J. Samuelson reached on an error. Soderquist singled home Duong, then Kyle Johnson drove in Samuelson with a sac fly.
The Logators clawed back to lead 3-2 in the top of the fifth, but Isanti tied the game in the bottom of the inning on base hits by Schultz and Samuelson, with Soderquist driving in the tying run. Soderquist stayed hot with a triple to start the Redbirds’ eighth inning, scoring on Maros’ base hit. Pinch-hitter Nick Johnson then came through with an RBI single to left for the two-run lead.
After starter Adam West was scratched due to a cut finger on his throwing hand, Joe Ramberg gutted out five innings with his sore shoulder. Brent Burman held the Logators in check the final four innings to get the victory.
• The late afternoon game had Moorhead advancing to State by defeating Shakopee 4-2. That night, Isanti and Shakopee matched up to determine the final team to advance out of the Super Section, and the strong Indians prevailed 4-2.
West worked 6 2/3 innings with his cut finger, and Duong threw the final 1 1/3 innings. Isanti took a 1-0 lead in the third when Packy Lind reached on a boot, was sac bunted up, and scored on Samuelson’s base hit. Shakopee got a homer from their No. 4 hitter to lead 2-1 in the fourth and increased the lead to 4-1 in the seventh. The ‘Birds tacked on one run in the ninth before the Indians quelled the rally.
Looking back at his team’s 23-11 season against Class B competition, Coach Allen analyzed, “We have a lot of character on this team. The biggest thing was our team synergy and team effort this summer. We played the game like it’s supposed to be played.”
Coach Allen thinks either Moorhead or Shakopee has the horses to “win it all” when the Class B State tourney begins this weekend in Howard Lake. The Brewers open Aug. 24 against Cold Spring, then Shakopee gets the Austin Greyhounds later in the afternoon. Action continues the next weekend in Maple Lake and Delano, with the “B” title game scheduled for 3 p.m. on Labor Day in Delano.