Minneota Mudhens players lined up along the first-base line for introductions before Saturday’s Class C state tournament game against the Elrosa Saints on Saturday at Optimist Park in Lit-chfield. Elrosa won, 2-0. Several Mudhens players put on their rally caps in an attempt to generate some offense in the ninth inning.After taking a throw from left fielder AJ Myhre, Minneota catcher Austin DeVlaeminck tags out Kevin Kuefler of Elrosa trying to score on a single. Members of the Mudhens and their three drafted players, offered words of encouragement to one another before taking the field on Saturday at the Class C State Tournament. Mudhens player/manager Tyson Sonnenburg (3) goes over the ground rules with the umpires before the game. Josh Schuelke tosses his batting glove to first-base coach Trent Johnson after reaching on a single in the fifth inning.AJ Myhre of the Mudhens singles up the middle in the second inning.



On an overcast day with temperatures struggling to stay in the 70s, Minneota's bats also struggled to heat up against Elrosa in the Class C State Amateur Baseball Tournament Saturday at Optimist Park in Litchfield.
Elrosa right-hander Blaine Fischer, a draftee from Cold Spring, tossed a four-hit shutout and struck out 10 in a 2-0 victory, spoiling the Mudhens' first-ever berth in the state tournament.
This was the 100th anniversary of the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
"I think what hurt us a little was that we didn't play a lot of ball in late July or August," said Mudhens player/manager Tyson Sonnenburg. "We had a couple of weeks before we started the playoffs and then a couple of weeks off after winning the region. We just didn't see a lot of live pitching and it showed today. It was a tough loss."
Minneota's veterans were elated just to finally qualify for the state tournament after capturing the Region 9C title two weeks ago, earning a first-round bye at state. But once they stepped on the field, their competitive juices starting flowing, and the eventual loss hurt more than they expected.
"Yeah, we were happy to get here," said third baseman Austin Buysse, "but it hurts to lose. We had our chances. We just couldn't get the job done. We did have a good season, though."
"It was fun to be able to play (in the state tournament), but it was a tough game to lose," said right fielder Brock Buysse. "We'll just try to reach the next notch next season.'"The Hennen brothers were masterful on the mound for the Mudhens, but didn't get any offensive support. Danny hurled the first six innings and except for the Saints managing a pair of runs off him in the sixth inning, he held them at bay.
Derek Wiener drew a walk to lead off the top of the sixth for the Saints and Ashton Dingmann followed with a double. Peyton Winter plated Wiener with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Andrew Weller drove in Dingmann with a two-out single for the game's only runs.
Jacob Hennen pitched three scoreless innings of relief, escaping unscathed after the Saints put runners on second and third with one out by enticing a groundout and a flyout.
"We got great pitching again from Danny and Jake," said Sonnenburg. "We just didn't get the timely hits we needed. We were happy to get to state, but we wanted to keep going to next weekend."
Elrosa outhit the Mudhens 11-4, but the Hennens were able to strand 11 runners by throwing strikes and allowing the defense to make several outstanding plays.
AJ Myhre, who is now working in Texas, flew in to play in both the Region 9C tournament in Morris and the state tournament. He made a stellar play in left field in the second inning when he made a catch while falling over a collapsible temporary fence that marked the out-of-play boundary. The play drew a large applause but umpires ruled the ball was out of play.
Myhre made another defensive gem in the third inning with a runner on second base when he dove for a soft liner into left field and cradled the ball as it fell just in front of him. Myhre then fired a strike to catcher Austin DeVlaeminck, who tagged out Kevin Kuefler trying to score.
Second baseman Josh Schuelke made two nice defensive plays, one in the fourth inning when he ranged behind first base to snag a sinking liner for an out, and another in the fifth inning on a nifty stop of a groundball headed up the middle and forcing a runner at second base.
Danny Hennen tracked down a bunt by Peyton Winter along the first-base line and scooped a throw to first baseman Alex Pohlen in time to record an out. DeVlaeminck also made a standout play on a bunt by Fischer in the third inning, racing out from behind the plate and firing a strike to Pohlen for an out.
The Mudhens never advanced a runner past second base against Fischer. Myhre singled with two outs in the second inning and stole second base, but was left stranded there. In the sixth inning, DeVlaeminck reached on an error and was sacrificed to second by Peyton Gillund. But Fischer escaped further damage with a strikeout and a groundout.
DeVlaeminck had two of the Mudhens' four hits, while Austin Buysse and Myhre had the other two.

Elrosa 2, Minneota 0
Elrosa........000 002 000 - 2 11 1
Minneota...000 000 000 - 0 4 0

Elrosa hitting ab r h bi
Kevin Kuefler, cf.............4 0 1 0
Blaine Fischer, p............4 0 0 0
Jackson Peter, ss.......... 5 0 4 0
Derek Wiener, rf.............4 1 0 0
Ashton Dingmann, 1b....3 1 3 0
Payton Winter, 3b..........2 0 0 1
Devin Kampsen, 2b.......4 0 1 0
Andrew Weller, dh..........4 0 1 1
Will VanBeck, lf..............4 0 1 0
Totals...........................34 2 11 2

DP: Peter-Kampsen-Dingmann. E: Winter. Sac: Fischer, Winter. SF: Winter. SB: Kuefler. BB: Wiener, Dingmann. HBP: Kuefler. 2B: Dingmann 2.

Pitching ip h r er bb so
Fischer (W).......9 4 0 0 0 10

Minneota hitting ab r h bi
Austin DeVlaeminck, c...4 0 2 0
Peyton Gillund, ss..........3 0 0 0
Alex Pohlen, 1b..............4 0 0 0
Austin Buysse, 3b..........4 0 1 0
Cooper VanOvrbke, pr...0 0 0 0
Tyson Sonnenburg, cf.. .4 0 0 0
Danny Hennen, p,dh......4 0 1 0
Jackson Lacek, pr..........0 0 0 0
AJ Myhre, lf................... 3 0 1 0
Josh Schuelke, 2b.........3 0 1 0
Brock Buysse, rf............3 0 0 0
Totals...........................32 0 4 0

SB: Myhre. Sac: Gillund.

Pitching ip h r er bb so
D. Hennen (L).....6 9 2 2 1 3
J. Hennen..........3 2 0 0 1 1

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