BOLD 6, Morris 5 (American Legion playoffs)
Fans held their collective breath as the ball sailed toward the fence, having taken off like a rocket from the bat of Eric Riley on Saturday. An area newspaper described it as a "towering shot." Majestic as it was, it didn't make it over the fence.
This was a pivotal moment in the Morris Legion baseball team's showdown with BOLD. The Post #29 boys clashed with the "Mudhens" of BOLD at the Montevideo diamond, which had been abuzz for days with district tourney action. Morris and BOLD were the last teams left standing in this District 7-II affair.
The "towering shot" by Eric Riley ended in heartbreak for the Post #29 cause. Mudhen Alex Gay was able to gather the ball in. Had the ball landed beyond the fence, it would've been a three-run homer. Morris might have been Dilworth-bound by the end of the day (site of the state Legion tourney). But as it turned out, Morris settled for a modest sacrifice fly from this "towering shot." In the end they were defeated 6-5.
BOLD entered Saturday's action carrying the winners bracket banner. The Mudhens needed only to win once Saturday. The Morris task was to win twice, as Morris had already been dealt a loss in the tourney (by those nemesis Mudhens).
Andrew Brooks was a clutch performer for BOLD Legion baseball Saturday. Brooks drove in a run with a single in the second inning, and he made a bigger statement with his bat in the fifth when his double drove in two runs to break a 4-4 tie.
Morris drew within one on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. But they were blanked after that, coming up shy against BOLD's third pitcher of the day, Kyle Krause, who gained the save with his one inning of work in which he survived one hit. Shawn Dollerschell started for BOLD, and it was Jake Stevens getting the win.
Tyler Hansen pitched gamely for Morris and went the distance, having to battle through some adversity. Tyler gave up eight hits and six runs (five earned) while walking three batters and striking out one.
Hansen's bat was typically reliable as he posted two-for-four boxscore numbers. Eric Riley was denied that home run but he finished two-for-two anyway with two RBIs. That long fly ball drove in a run via sacrifice, so no official at-bat was recorded.
Cole Riley had a productive day at two-for-three and two ribbies, and his two-run single in the fifth highlighted a three-run rally that got the score tied. Other hit contributors for Post #29 were Dustin Sauter (one-for-three), Brady Valnes (one-for-four) and Ethan Bruer (one-for-one).
Brooks was a terror at bat for the Mudhens, posting three-for-three numbers including a double and three RBIs. Kyle Athmann was also a perfect three-for-three and this Mudhen drove in one run. Derek Smith stole two bases to go with his one-for-one stats. Alex Steffel had one hit in three at-bats. Zach Remillard failed to hit safely but he picked up two very key RBIs for BOLD. Zach did the job with a sacrifice fly in the second and a ground ball in the fourth.
Morris actually outhit BOLD 9-8. The error category wasn't so flattering, to say the least, as Morris committed four miscues to BOLD's zero. But only one of BOLD's runs was unearned. Nevertheless, BOLD's crisp fielding represents a strong suit that looks good with their champion's status in District 7-II.
The Mudhens carry a 16-6 season record into state. They'll take on Ada at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Dilworth as the curtain opens for state Division II play. It's a milestone for those Mudhens as never before has a BOLD Legion or high school team reached the pinnacle of state.
Morris fans ought to sit back now, relish the memories of the 2010 season for their team, and cheer for those Mudhens!
BOLD Legion baseball is indeed striving for a "bold" stance now that the season's climax is here.
(Sorry this post is a couple days later than I originally planned. - BW)
Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org