Friday, August 13, 2010

Savage comes back against Burnsville, wins Section title

Cannon Valley League powers squared off last night for the Section 5B championship at Frederickson Field in Elko. But with tickets to the State Tournament already punched, the rival teams may have came out last night lacking a little punch.

“I was disappointed in the amount of fire we had early in the game,” remarked Savage skipper Travis Peterson, “but some hitting kind of cures that, we knocked a couple balls through holes, got some rallies going and were able to get guys up a little bit.”

Led by an early home run by designated hitter Ben Braaten, some strong pitching in the mid-to-late innings and a barrage of hits later in the ballgame, Peterson’s Outlaws were able to rally its way to a 7-4 victory over Burnsville to claim the Section title and earn a higher seed in the upcoming Class B State Tournament.

Savage will enter State as the Section 5 A seed, while the Burnsville (12-5 CVL, 17-9 overall) will enter the tournament as the B seed.

“It did lack a bit of intensity” said Roddy Hjort, Burnsville’s starting pitcher last night, about the game’s energy level, “not to say this game wasn’t important, but at the same time you already know you’re going to State.”

Not to mention Burnsville was coming off of two games the past two nights (including Wednesday night’s State Tournament berth-clinching win over Eagan) and were possibly a bit drained physically and emotionally, as well as short on pitching.

Hjort - usually the team’s second baseman - filled in for Bobcats manager Robby Wiens on the mound to start the game, despite having very little pitching experience. Hjort said he’s probably pitched about 10 innings over the last 15 years, but his team was in need last night.

“We knew we only had two [pitchers] ready to go tonight,” said Hjort following the game, “then Dan Mielke (one of the two pitchers) decided he couldn’t come because of work, and Robby gave me the thumbs up to go.”

Hjort did a respectable job - allowing two earned runs through four innings - and his Bobcats had the lead through much of the game. However, Savage’s Tyler Peterson came up with a pair of two-run hits to enable his brother - Tony Peterson - to earn the win as the Savage pitcher last night.

“When when got behind, [Tony] wasn’t too happy about it,” said Travis Peterson - the Outlaws manager and older brother of Tony - about Tony’s pitching effort, “[then] he switched into a different gear there and pitched a lot better the last half of his outing.”

Tony - Savage’s regular third baseman when not pitching - allowed three runs in the second inning after surrendering a home run to Burnsville’s Cory Eul, then had his team down 4-2 after the Bobcats added a run in the fourth. However, the burly righthander was able to work out of a key situation in the top of the sixth, and his team’s offense rewarded him in the bottom-half of the inning.

In the Burnsville’s top-half of the inning, Tony was able to get out of a one-out, two runners on jam by striking out Bobcats third baseman Zach Ryberg and retiring Eul for his first time in the game. Then, in the bottom of the inning, brother Tyler was able to drop a two-out hit into shallow right field to score two runs and give Savage a 5-4 lead.

Then, two innings later, Tyler came through again to add some key insurance runs for Savage.

Burnsville’s Trevor O’Shaughnessy was pitching for the Bobcats and Tyler came up with two outs and runners on first and second. The Outlaws shortstop battled through some tough pitches before finding one he liked and pounding it off the fence in deep straight-a-way center for a huge two-run double.

“[The count was] 3-2, he threw a couple good pitches that I fouled off,” said Tyler about his eighth-inning at-bat versus O’Shaughnessy, “[he] just left one up in the zone I could drive ... It got over [centerfielder Wiens’] head and it was a big hit.”

From there, Savage’s Danny Hansen and Brandon Walczak combined to close out the ninth to seal up the Section title. Next up, Savage will prepare to ship out to State.

The Outlaws will travel to Bird Island for its first game of the Class B State Tournament on Sunday, August 22 at 5:00 p.m. Burnsville will play its first game at State Sunday in Bird Island as well, scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start time.

Both teams’ opponents have yet to be determined.

This year’s State Tournament is being hosted by Willmar, Bird Isand and Spicer, Minnesota. The games are to begin Friday, August 20 and conclude with the State Championship game on Monday, September 6.

Notable individual efforts:
Savage Outlaws
~ Tyler Peterson: 2-for-4, 2B, BB, R, 4 RBI
~ Ben Braaten: 2-for-3, HR, BB, R, 2 RBI
~ Tony Peterson: 6 IP, W, 3 ERs, 4 Hs, 6 Ks, 2 BBs

Burnsville Bobcats:
~ Cory Eul: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI
~ Roddy Hjort: 2-for-4, 2B, BB, 2 Rs

**Note: I was a PA / reporter for this game. I was able to be on the field for the first two innings, taking photographs, then I PA'd the game from innings 3-9. After the game, I did four interviews and shot some pictures of three of the game's best players (though only one, Ben Braaten's, turned out). The photos featured in this story are - from top to bottom - Savage's Tyler Peterson greeting Ben Braaten after Braaten's 1st inning home run, Burnsville' Roddy Hjort delivering a pitch, Savage's Tony Peterson pitching - followed by post-article pics - Savage's Braaten, Burnsville's Cory Eul rounding third base on his round-tripper in the 2nd.

1 comment:

Braaty Sr said...

Keep up the great work Jeff we all appreciate it.

Mark Braaten