Baseball: New York Mills takes care of business against BHV, sets up semifinal rematch against Randolph
New York Mills played an epic 15-inning game against Randolph in last year's state tournament. Both teams will meet again in the Class A state semifinal after the Eagles breezed past Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale
ST. CLOUD – The New York Mills baseball team has one goal: to get back to the state Class A title game. Tuesday afternoon was all about taking care of business.
To make a return trip to Target Field, the third-seeded Eagles will have to go through second-seeded Randolph one more time after breezing past Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale by a score of 10-1 in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
The unseeded Raiders, champions of Section 5A, were on the heels of two losses to the Eagles in a May 24 doubleheader. However, New York Mills starting pitcher Jacob Guck wasn’t willing to take his first-round opponent for granted.
“We threw our third and fourth guys against them the first time, so we knew we had a better chance of doing what we needed to do today to get a win,” Guck said. “We didn’t play the greatest the first time against (BHV). We knew we were going to come out and hit the ball today because we’ve been hitting great.”
Guck led off the bottom of the first with a triple into the left-center field gap. He scored on a single from Jonah Johnson before another extra-base hit made it 2-0.
“We wanted to take them out of the game as fast as we could–take the life out of them,” Guck said.
New York Mills had a chance to take a bigger lead before BHV’s Kole Weishalla picked off a runner at first base to halt the momentum. Weishella later scored the Raiders’ lone run in the top of the third inning on a single from Joshua Johnson.
Bode Roberts and Brayden Ehnert got the run back and then some in the bottom of the frame. They hit back-to-back triples to put the Eagles ahead 4-1.
From there, New York Mills was in cruise control.
The Eagles added three-run innings in the bottom of the fourth and fifth to go ahead 10-1 and secure a rematch against Randolph in the semifinals on Wednesday. After some early state-tournament jitters, New York Mills started to look like the team ready to compete for a championship.
“It was only 2-1 after the third inning. Tensions were kind of high,” Guck said. “We broke through with the bats, and things started going right. We played with confidence, that’s for sure.”
Guck was pulled after the fifth inning to save his pitch count. Even though he can’t throw in the semifinals, he’s available for a potential state title game. Weishalla suffered the loss on the mound for BHV.
One year ago, the Eagles won a 15-inning thriller over Randolph in the Class A semifinals. New York Mills came away with a 9-8 win and a spot in the state title game against Hayfield.
The Eagles’ goal is to get back to that game and right one of the few wrongs of last season. But first, they will need to take on a hungry Randolph team who feels its season ended one game too early in 2021.
“They’re a great ball team,” Guck said. “We watched them play in the first game. They look tough to beat, but we’ll find out tomorrow. We were here last year in the same spot against the same team. We played 15 innings, and it was the craziest ball game I’ve ever been a part of. There was nothing like it. They want to come after us, and we want to go after them.”
For BHV, getting to the state tournament was impressive in itself. The Raiders suffered a nine-game losing streak before winning five out of six Section 5A playoff games. The Raiders drop into the consolation bracket and will take on MACCRAY at 12:15 in Sauk Rapids.
BERTHA-HEWITT-VERNDALE 001 000 0 - 1
NEW YORK MILLS 202 330 X - 10
WP: Jacob Guck; LP: Kole Weishalla