The Miesville Mudhens continued their Class B state title defense and search for a third-in-a-row this past weekend. The Mudhens beat the Forest Lake Brewers, 8-3, on Friday, Aug. 24, and then scraped by rival Dundas, 2-1, on Saturday. Miesville now advances to championship weekend, with one game separating them from the championship game.
They will face a familiar opponent on Saturday, Sept. 1, as they will take on the Chanhassen Redbirds, who they beat twice last year to win the state championship. Should they win that game, the Mudhens would take on whoever comes out of the consolation bracket on Labor Day for the title. Miesville would only have to win once, while whoever they played would have to win two games over the Mudhens.
Miesville was looking for a way to score runs late as it was facing a one-run deficit with only two innings remaining. The runs came, but not in the most traditional way. Three runs were plated off of three throwing errors during the same at-bat, and the Mudhens came away with an 8-3 victory over Forest Lake in the second round of the Class B baseball state tournament at Joe Schepler Stadium in Shakopee.
Miesville got off to a good start by scoring the game's first run after Nate Hammes hit a sac fly to score Brad Goulet in the first inning. The Mudhen's 1-0 lead would hold until the bottom of the fifth inning when Forest Lake put together three runs.
The Brewers hit six straight one-out singles - the most damaging coming on a two-run line drive by Michael Schultz - to give Forest Lake a 3-1 lead.
Miesville chipped away at the lead in the seventh inning when Jordy Horsch, on his third hit of the night, singled home Brian Sprout, trimming the Mudhen deficit to 3-2.
In the next inning, the bizarre happened.
With runners at first and second base and two outs, Reed Collins came to the plate looking to bring home at least one of the baserunners to tie the game up. He came through with a single which scored Matt Van Der Bosch, but an errant throw home by Forest Lake allowed the Miesville runners a chance to advance. The Brewers sought to throw out Hammes at third but the throw was high giving the runners yet another opportunity to advance. Forest Lake then threw home to get Hammes out but again the throw was off mark going into the dugout, allowing both Hammes and Collins (who hit the single) to score.
"I was waiting to see the throw go all the way through, and once I saw it go through, I just went," said Hammes on the play. "My plan was to stop and try to do a stop slide around third base because I knew I was cooked, but then I saw it go over his head and I ran (home)."
Miesville added three more runs in the ninth inning as insurance and Chris Olean closed out the game on the mound.
"I wasn't really feeling it today so my plan was to throw strikes since I was a little more wild than I'm used to," Olean said. "The park was playing huge and I wanted to make them hit it and try and get a barrel on it."
Leading Miesville offensively were Horsch, who went 3-for-3 with one run, walk and RBI, and Hammes, who went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and one run.
Jacob Dickmeyer took the start on the mound and struck out four, walked one and gave up three earned runs on nine hits over six innings.