Sartell Advances, Sauk Rapids-Rice Falls At Baseball Tourney
The Sartell baseball team beat Albert Lea 3-2 with a dramatic walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Sauk Rapids-Rice's season came to an end with a 2-0 loss to Mahtomedi at the Class AAA State Tournament in Jordan Tuesday.
Albert Lea took a two run lead into the bottom of the fifth inning thanks in part to the Sabres' leaving of six runners on base to that point, with Tigers starter Blake Ulve bending but not breaking on multiple occasions.
"We really tried to stay positive, we knew we had nine outs and we were only down two," Sartell right fielder Steven Brinkerhoff said. "A couple of hits and we were right back in the game."
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Sabres manufactured a run on a Jacob Merrill single that lead to a Kalen Lewis sacrifice fly. Sartell would tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning on Calen O'Connell's RBI double that plated Tyler Gentile.
Sartell got a boost when a pumped-up Tyler Phelps-Hemmesch relieved an effective but unlucky Chase Heying in the fifth inning. Heying allowed just two unearned runs on four hits while striking out two and walking one in 4.1 innings of work.
Phelps-Hemmesch, making his second relief appearance of the season allowed just two baserunners in 2.2 innings with one reaching on an error and another on an intentional walk.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning Brinkerhoff stepped into the batter's box for a fourth look at Albert Lea pitcher Ulve and sent a 2-0 pitch soaring toward the train tracks far beyond the left field wall.
"I figured he was going to throw an outside fastball or curveball because that's what I'd seen all day," Brinkerhoff said. "It was my fourth at-bat so I finally had him timed up and I knew if he gave me a good one I'd be on a good spot to hit it.
"Off the bat I thought it was out but I put my head down and started running because I didn't want to get yelled at if it stayed in the park," he said.
In the nightcap, the Sauk Rapids-Rice baseball season came to an end with their loss to Mahtomedi.
In a tight pitcher's duel it was Mahtomedi's Luke Loughlin who narrowly outdid the Storm's Landon Lunser's excellent game. Lunser finished with six inning complete game that included two runs on seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts, while Loughlin threw seven innings and struck out nine while allowing just four hits.
Andrew Wollack had a pair of hits for the Storm and Terrance Moody got on base three times with a pair of walks and a hit.
The Sartell Sabres will take on Mahtomedi Wednesday at 2:30. The game can be heard on AM 1390/FM 93.9 Granite City Sports.