State Baseball: Pierz falls short, places 2nd

Minnehaha 6, Pierz 4 Key: Pierz left 9 on base; Minnehaha scores twice in 7th Overall: MA 26-2, Prz 26-3 MINNEAPOLIS--After rallying from a 4-0 deficit, the No. 3 Pierz Pioneers saw their dreams for a Class 2A state championship squelched when th...

Pierz Pioneer baseball players walk out of their dugout Monday at Target Field to receive their second-place medals and trophy after losing 6-4 to Minnehaha Academy in the Class 2A State Baseball tournament. The Pioneers set a school record with 26 wins for the season. Steve Kohls/Brainerd Dispatch Gallery and Video

Minnehaha 6, Pierz 4

Key: Pierz left 9 on base; Minnehaha scores twice in 7th

Overall: MA 26-2, Prz 26-3

MINNEAPOLIS-After rallying from a 4-0 deficit, the No. 3 Pierz Pioneers saw their dreams for a Class 2A state championship squelched when the top-seeded Minnehaha Academy Redhawks plated two runs in the seventh at Target Field Monday to win 6-4 and claim their second straight title.

Pierz outhit Minnehaha 9-8, but stranded nine runners on base compared to five for the Redhawks.


"It was a great ball game," said Pierz head coach Danny Saehr. "Nothing to take back, nothing to second guess. Praise to our kids and to Minnehaha for playing a great game."

With one out and the score tied at 4-4 in the top of the seventh, Minnehaha's Simon Huyck hit a ground ball that bounced off the first base bag and rolled past Pierz right fielder Thomas Funk allowing Huyck to reach second on the hit and error.

Noah Dehne singled past second to drive in the winning run and scored when Alex Evenson delivered a two-out double. Alex Jordan beat out a base hit to third placing runners at the corners and causing Pierz starter Preston Rocheleau to give up the mound to Matt Kummet who was able to get the next batter to ground out and end the inning.

The Pioneers made it interesting in their half of the seventh.

Kummet led off beating a slow roller to second. After a Rocheleau strikeout, Brett Kapsner walked and the runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball. Luke Girtz popped out to second and Brandon Dickmann looked at a third strike to end the game, the seventh strikeout for Redhawk reliever Bennett Theisen since he took over in the fifth.

"It's been a run for the ages," said Saehr. "(They're) a tremendous group of kids and I could not ask for anything more from this group of kids. I could not be more proud of them. Obviously, you want to be the last one standing, but to get to where we are today is an outstanding accomplishment."

The Redhawks jumped out to an early 4-0 lead scoring twice in the second and third innings.

The Pioneers got a run back in the bottom of the fourth. Dickmann drilled a one-out single to deep short, the fourth Pierz hit of the inning, driving in Matt Kummet who led off the inning with a single.


With the bases still loaded, Alex Funk hit a sharp grounder to the Redhawk third baseman Theisen who snagged the ball, stepped on the bag for a force out and made the throw to first for an inning-ending double play.

"We actually had a chance to score two more runs there, but that's baseball," Saehr said. "It ended up a double play, but if the ball finds the corner, who knows, we might end up scoring two or three more runs that inning."

The Pioneers added three runs in the fifth to tie the game.

Jackson Suska led off by reaching on a shortstop error and Matt Tautges walked. A Lane Girtz double to center scored a run and drove Redhawk starter Brock Brumley off the mound.

Theisen took over and got Kummet to fly out to center for the first out before walking Rocheleau loading the bases. Kapsner looked at a third strike and then Luke Girtz stroked a single through the gap between first and second that scored two. Dickman struck out swinging to end the inning.

"That's what these kids do, said Saehr. "They keep battling, battling, battling, no matter what the score or who we are playing. We won three 1-0 games through the playoffs and I was truly confident these kids could do it. It's fun finishing those comebacks, but sometimes things just don't go your way."

Rocheleau was tagged with the loss striking out four and walking two while giving up eight hits and all six runs (four earned) over 6.2 innings. Kummet came on for the final out.

Theisen earned the win for the Redhawks. He struck out seven, walked two and allowed just three hits over three innings. Starter Brock Brumley struck out one, walked two, gave up six hits and all four runs, only one earned.


Lane Girtz doubled and finished 2-4 along with Kummet, and Luke Girtz drove in a two runs for Pierz.

Jordan went 3-4 with an RBI for Minnehaha and Dehne was 2-3 with a triple and an RBI. Evenson doubled and John Gorth had a triple.

"(We were) led by a tremendous group of seniors and the underclassmen jumped on board right away" Saehr said. "We battled through a ton of injuries all season long, but that's part of baseball and part of life."

Playing in their last game as a Pioneer were Tautges, Kummet, Thomas Funk, Lane Girtz, Eric Stuckmayer and Kapsner.

"They're going to leave a legacy in Pierz like few athletes have been able to do," said Saehr. "Some of these kids have been to 12 state tournaments, six or seven state semifinals. They're given me a ride as well as the whole community of Pierz."

Pierz finished with a program record 26 wins and three losses. Last year Minnehaha beat Pioneers 4-2 in the semifinals on its way to the 2A title and Pierz bounced back to defeat Maple Lake 11-4 for third place.

Minnehaha 022 000 2-6 8 1

Pierz 000 130 0-4 9 2


WP: Bennett Theisen. LP: Preston Rocheleau. 2B: Prz-Lane Girtz; MA-Alex Evenson. 3B: MA-Noah Dehne, John Goth. Overall: Pierz finishes 26-3

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