State Baseball: Olson’s gem puts Aitkin in the state semis

Aitkin in the Class 2A State Tournament against Albany Tuesday, June 15

Aitkin celebrates its victory over Albany in the Class 2A state tournament Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at Putz Field in St. Cloud. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

ST. CLOUD — Logan Olson wouldn’t let Aitkin lose Tuesday, June 15.

The Gobblers’ right-hander pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout to get Aitkin a 2-0 win over No. 2 seed Albany in the Class 2A state quarterfinals at Putz Field in St. Cloud.

Olson struck out seven in his two-hit masterpiece and threw just 81 pitches in seven innings.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to play with a different team. It was just a surreal moment to be out there. It was so cool.”

A fastball, curveball, and slider mix kept the Albany hitters off balance all game.


“In the sixth inning, I think I threw 80% curveballs and that kept them off balance pretty well,” Olson said.

Aitkin took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh and Albany’s Evan Kalthoff led off with a single.

Olson then induced back-to-back warning track fly balls that were both caught for outs. The first one was hauled in by Aitkin’s left fielder Owen Miller and the second was caught by right fielder Carson Kullhem.

“I was just clapping and so excited,” Olson said. “Those are great baseball players out there for me and I have all the faith in the world in them.”

Olson then struck out Albany’s Avery Schmitz for the last out to advance the Gobblers into the Class 2A state semifinals.

“Our kids were excited in the dugout about beating who I thought was the best in the tournament,” Aitkin head coach Jeremy Janzen said. “But I felt we were as good as anyone here. We are led by seniors and juniors and they do a fantastic job and they battled today to get us that victory.”


Janzen mentioned Olson’s performance on the mound didn’t surprise him.

“He’s been tough all year,” Janzen said. “Normally we say you get us to four runs with him on the mound, you’re not going to beat him. We got two today, but he helped himself today and was tough on the mound by mixing it up well.”

At the plate, Olson helped himself with two doubles that set up Aitkin’s two runs.

With one out in the fifth inning of a still scoreless game, Olson ripped a double to left field. Zak McDonald was the courtesy runner for Olson and McDonald scored the next at-bat on a single by Caiden Kjelstrom.

Kjelstrom's RBI-single was a soft single that sneaked through the right side of the infield and gave the Gobblers a 1-0 lead.

RELATED: State Baseball: Two teams ready to make noise in Class 2A state tournament Aitkin and Wadena-Deer Creek ready to play in Class 2A state tournament Tuesday, June 15
Kjelstrom finished with two hits in four trips for Aitkin.

In the top of the seventh, Aitkin’s first two batters got out rather quickly. With two outs, Gus Sanford hit a slow roller to shortstop that the Albany shortstop could not field cleanly and the error allowed Sanford to reach first.

Olson hit next and ripped a double over the head of Albany’s left fielder Schmitz, which scored Aitkin’s second run.


“Logan likes to swing the bat and he doesn’t get cheated at the plate,” Janzen said. “We put the guy on first in motion and then he drove another double to get that big insurance run.”

The RBI-double gave the Gobblers more breathing room headed into the bottom of the seventh.

“That insurance run was great,” Olson said. “It was huge and we needed it. Going into that next inning I knew (Albany) was a good hitting team, so we had to shut them down and play our best.”

Aitkin only tallied five hits, but threatened in the top of the first. Jack Ince doubled for the Gobblers to put runners on second and third with one out, but Aitkin left them stranded.

Olson set down the Huskies in order in three innings and walked zero, but did hit a batter.

The Gobblers will play the winner of No. 3 seed Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and Belle Plaine who played the nightcap at Putz Field Tuesday.

Janzen said he didn’t know who he was going to throw on the mound for the semifinals.

“We just need to keep doing what we are doing,” Olson said. “We are playing hard and playing with heart.”


Aitkin 2 5 0
Albany 0 2 2
WP: Logan Olson. LP: Carter Thelen. 2B: Aitkin-Jack Ince, Logan Olson (2).

Aitkin 2, Albany 0

Key: Logan Olson pitches a complete-game shutout and rips two doubles in Aitkin’s upset of Albany in the state quarterfinals.

Overall: Aitkin 22-5.

Next: Aitkin vs. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City or Belle Plaine 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, at Putz Field in St. Cloud.


CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads