|Mudhens destroy Hadley; Now 2-0 in playoffs|
By Byron Higgin, Mascot Publisher
Hadley didn't see it coming — not this version of the Minneota Mudhen Playoff Express.
A rejuvinated Mudhen nine scored so quickly, and so often, Hadley never got a chance to react.
Before they could breathe, Minneota led 6-0 — and eventually went on to an eight-inning 11-1 victory.
The win gave Minneota a 2-0 playoff record and time off until they play at Luverne at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28.
Hennen handcuffed the Buttermakers on five hits, fanned just one, walked one and benefited by a solid Mudhen defense that didn't allow an error.
"We had good defense and I was very thankful for that," said Hennen.
"I was feeling good about all my pitches tonight and I was thankful I had the defense I did," Hennen said.
In the second inning a walk and error by Hadley shortstop James Wager set up a solid two-run single by Adam Trollman for a 2-0 lead.
It was just the beginning of Trollman's night. Later he'd single two more times for a 3-4 performance with a run scored and two runs batted in.
"It was a really great night," said Trollman. "The culmination of our season of upsand downs and all of a sudden were at the top," he said. "We're hoping to take this momentum and take it as far as we can go. Our goal for the year was to make the state tournament and with these two wins, we're in a good position to keep that goal," Trollman added.
In the third inning Minneota put the game on ice when another Hadley error, this one by third baseman and former Mudhen Pat O'Brien opened the bloodgates. Three straight hits by Justin Greenwood, Barry Meyer and Tony Shaikoski, plus a long fly ball muffed in centerfield off the bat of Jesus Macias produced four more runs.
Meyer had a double and knocked in a run and Shaikoski singled in a pair of runs during the rally.
Minneota added insult to injury in the fifth inning when three hits, a walk and another Hadley error gave Minneota a 9-1 lead.
"It was nice to have some run support," Hennen added.
Hennen knocked in one of the runs with a single and Aaron Sanow singled in another.
By this time Minneota had knocked starter Zach Bruns off the mound and they kept the pressure on until they'd built a 10-run lead in the eighth inning.
"We played a solid game tonight, about as clean as you can get — with hitting and defense. Jesus Macias has been great over at third base and he's been a great pickup for us. We hope to have him for a few more years."
Meyer had a big night with two hits, three runs batted in and a pair of runs scored. Shaikoski was 2-4; Sanow 2-5 and Tyson Sonnenburg was 2-4 with two hits, two runs and a run batted in.
Minneota had 13 hits in their biggest offensive performance of the year.
The loss dropped Hadley into the losers bracket of the Playoffs and gives Minneota the chance to play the only other undefeated team so far, Luverne.
"With all the ups and downs we've had, to get this momentum and to be winning games, this is just unbelieveable," added Trollman.
"Our team is playing marvelous," said injured first baseman Jayson Myhre. He hit just once and didn't play in the field due to an injury, but marveled at how the Mudhens are playing. "We played some defense tonight, too," he said.
The Mudhens probably won't have Tony Shaikoski on Wednesday because he's entering grad school at Vermillion that day. Tyson Sonnenburg will probably pitch and Shaikoski hopes to return for the next game.
"We'll come back on Wednesday and if we win that game (against Luverne), we have an automatic bid to the region," Trollman said.