Chatfield baseball dug itself a bit of a hole in losing to Plainview-Elgin-Millville in the 1AA-East semis. The Gophers followed that loss with back-to-back wins. They made it to section play in Rochester, the Final Four. Brian Baum’s group (1-seed, 18-2) first hooked up with Caledonia (3-seed, 13-9) in a “loser-out” game. The Warriors amassed three first inning singles. Hunter Goetzinger scored lead-off man Brady Augedahl for the 1-0 lead. Caledonia had runners on second and third with out and scored no more. Chatfield replied in there first. With two outs, a walk, a stolen base, and a Drew O’Connor RBI-double tied the game 1-1. An error then allowed courtesy runner Carter Schlink to score, making it 2-1. In the third, a walk came around to score without a hit, putting Chatfield up 3-1. Gopher ace Caden Nolte handled the rest. He surrendered just three hits after the three-hit first inning. He pitched Chatfield out of jams in the sixth (two on, one out) and seventh (two on, two out). Nolte struck out the last Warrior to give the Gophers a 3-1 win. Chatfield had just two hits, from O’Connor (1-3, 2B, RBI) and Luke Carrier (1-2). Courtesy runners Schink and Nathan Allen joined Carter Daniels in scoring runs. A couple misplayed, wind-affected fly-balls, plated two Gopher runs. Nolte (7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, Win) moved his record to 8-0. Ayden Goetzinger (2-4), H-Goetzinger (1-3, RBI), and B-Augedahl (1-4, R) led Caledonia’s offense. Thane Meiners (6 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) took a tough loss. The Warriors finish at 13-10. Chatfield (1-seed, 19-2) then took on La Crescent/Hokah (2-seed 18-5). The Lancers used a hit-batter and a pair of hits to score a run in the second. Sam Erpenbach singled in Zach Bentzen for the 1-0 lead. LCH left the bases loaded. Chatfield had one big inning. The third was their frame. It featured four hits and one Lancer error. Team RBI-leader Caden Nolte (naturally) supplied a bases clearing three-run double. O’Connor followed with an RBI-single. A line-drive double play ended the inning (and a line-out was the first out), but the Gophers led 4-1. Chatfield pitchers Daniels and Carrier then did the rest. LCH had two on with one out in the fourth, and two on with two out in the sixth, and didn’t score. Finally in the seventh, without a hit, the Lancers plated a run (4-2). They had the bases loaded with just one out. But Carrier struck out the last two hitters, two of his five Ks in the inning (two reached on passed balls). Chatfield prevailed 4-2 to claim the 1AA East runner-up trophy. Daniels (5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) pitched the win. Carrier (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2-3) grabbed a save. Nolte (1-3, 2B, 3 RBI, R) had the big hit. O’Connor (1-3, RBI), Adam Mullenbach (1-1), and Caden Boyum (1-2, R) helped. Connor Jax and Westin Nolte scored runs. The bottom of LCH’s order, Lucas Haffner (2-4), Logan DeBoer (2-4), and Erpenbach (2-3, RBI) all had two hits. Jack Welch (6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) took the loss. Chatfield’s pitchers had 12 strikeouts to Welch’s two. The win was the Gophers 20th. Chatfield softball also is over 20 wins. Gopher baseball (20-2) moved on Rochester to face West Runner-Up Pine Island (12-11) in the 1AA Final Four. The Gophers led 3-1 after four innings. Daniels had a two-run single in the second. But the last three innings had the fireworks. In the top of the fifth, with two outs, back-to-back PI runners reached by walk. Johnny Bauer followed with a two-run double. PI tied the game 3-3. In Chatfield’s fifth, with two out, five straight Gophers reached, three via hits. Three scored. The Gophers went ahead 6-3. Pine Island then scored two in the sixth, making it 6-5. The Gophers replied with a sixth-inning two-out insurance run to lead 7-5. In the top of the seventh, the Panthers were at one on, two out, down 7-5. Chatfield was an out away from victory. Six batters later, PI led 9-7. Six in a row reached. Nick Bauer had a bases clearing three-run triple. Yet, the Gophers had a shot in their seventh. They loaded the bases with two out, and had RBI-leader Nolte at the plate. But a ground-out ended the game, and Chatfield’ season. PI prevailed in wild fashion, 9-7. Connor Jax (2-5, R), Carrier (2-4, 2B, R), Drew Schindler (1-3, RBI, R), Jack Dornack (1-3, RBI, R), and Daniels (1-4, 2 RBI) did work. Carrier (1 1/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) took the loss in relief of Nolte (5 2/3, IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). PI’s first three hitters, Matt Horkey (1-2, 2 RBI, 3 R), N-Bauer (1-4, 3B, 3 RBI, R), and J-Bauer (1-2, 2B, 4 RBI) had all nine Panther RBIs. Horkey (2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) took the win. The teams combined to leave 22 men on base (11 each). They combined for 13 walks. Five Panther runners to score started as free passes. Chatfield also hit four batters. The Gophers averaged 2.6 walks and HBP’s per game coming in, but had 11 combined in the game. Chatfield’s excellent season ends at 20-3 as TRC West and 1AA-East champs. Nolte and Jax are the only two seniors.
About Paul Trende