The Big Lake American Legion Baseball team saw its season come to an end with two losses in the Subsection 11 Tournament last week.
Big Lake got an outstanding pitching performance by Kaden Haselius in the first game against Maple Grove, a team ranked #1 in the subsection. But the Hornets fell just short in a 3-2 loss.
Maple Grove got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double, an error and a single for a 1-0 lead.
Big Lake had scoring opportunities, with two runners on in the first, and a runner stranded at third base in the third and fourth innings.
Maple Grove extended its lead in the fifth. After Haselius allowed a single and a walk to open the inning, Collin Skaug came in to relieve him. Skaug walked his first batter, then got a force play at home. But two consecutive singles plated two runs for a 3-0 Maple Grove lead.
Down to their final three outs, Big Lake got on the board in the seventh. Haselius had a leadoff single and went to second on a groundout. With two outs, Reid Josewski and Blayne Varner walked to load the bases. Then Skaug hit a double down the first base line to drive in Haselius and Josewski. Cooper Cusick walked to re-load the bases. But an infield fly ended the game.
Haselius took the loss. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in four innings. He struck out two. He also had a good day at the plate with a triple, single and a run scored.
Big Lake’s second game wasn’t as close. They fell to Osseo, 12-5 and were eliminated from the tournament.
Osseo started out quickly and never looked back. A walk, an error and two doubles led to a 3-0 lead in the first.
Big Lake got its first run in the home first. Connor Stukenholtz hit a two-out double and scored on a single by Haselius.
But Osseo kept putting runs on the board. A walk and a triple added a run in the second, and two more singles, two errors and a sacrifice fly in the third put the score at 8-1.
They added two more in the fifth on an error, double, single and passed ball. They increased their lead to 12-1 in the top of the seventh on a walk, double sacrifice fly and a single.
Big Lake cut into the lead with a mini-rally in their final inning of the season. Jeffrey Wanhala reached on an error to start the inning. The next two batters were retired, but Cooper Cusick kept things alive with a single. Jaxyn Tschritter followed with a single to load the bases. Stukenholtz walked to force in a run. Then Haselius singled to drive in two runs before Varner singled to drive in Big Lake’s final run of the game and the season.
Wanhala started on the mound and went two innings. He allowed seven runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks. Carson Gellerman pitched 4.2 innings and allowed seven hits and five runs (three earned). Nehemiah Ruoso got the final out on a fly ball in the seventh.
Haselius had another good game at the plate. He had two hits and drove in three runs. Stukenholtz had two hits, a walk, drove in a run and scored twice. Gellerman had two hits. Cusick and Tschritter each had a hit and scored a run. Varner had a single, a stolen base and an RBI.
Coach Robert Hoekstra praised his team for the way they turned their season around after a slow start.
“As the season went on, the boys bonded well together and were able to put a few wins together,” he said, “winning five of our last seven regular season games.”