The Stillwater Legion baseball team finished the season with a second-place finish in the Sub-State 8 Tournament, held from July 20 to 23 in Irondale.
Stillwater posted a 20-10 record in a season that began the same night (June 15), the Stillwater Ponies lost to Minnetonka in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA State Tournament.
“I thought it went pretty well,” Stillwater coach Derrick Schmidt said. “We had a younger crew with only three seniors coming back. Other than that, our list was full of juniors, so it was a pretty successful season based on the age limit we had to deduct. ”
In the state game, Stillwater was stopped by Tri-City Red 8-2 in the final on Friday 23. July. Tri-City Red, which consists of players from Mounds View High School, advanced to the Division I State Tournament, which takes place July 29-August. 1 in St. Cloud.
Stillwater previously lost to Tri-City Red 7-6 in the winners’ bracket final on July 22, which meant it would have needed to defeat Tri-City twice to win a seven-team double elimination tournament.
“It’s always nice to win the first game, especially with double elimination,” Schmidt said. “They won the first game and had the upper hand until game 2.”
Tri-City Red moved ahead 7-5 in the first meeting before Kade Peloquin hit the top of the seventh to pull during a race before finally falling short.
“We ran out of outs,” Schmidt said. “It was back and forth, but it was mistakes that hurt us and did not score with runners in scoring position,”
Josh Wallace drove on the mound with a 2-0 lead for Stillwater against Tri-City Red in the final, but drove together in fifth and sixth to take control. Stillwater lacked more players, forcing players to unknown positions on the infield. Tri-City Red used their ability to concentrate their attacks in the middle of the pitch, rather than on the wings.
“They bunted three or four times in a row to have players out of position hurt us,” Schmidt said. “We played pretty good basic baseball, it just came down to pitching and having players in the right position.”
After earning a round in the first round as the best seed, Stillwater opened the sub-state playoffs with a 5-3 win over Forest Lake on Wednesday, July 21st. After losing to Tri-City Red in the final for the winning console on July 22, Stillwater fought back with a 17-4 victory over Lino Lakes in five innings on July 23.
Brayden Hellum, who was the team’s top pitcher and hit over .500 this season, was a one-hit in the victory over Lino Lakes. The only hit came from the glove of an outfielder who tried to take a tough catch with two outs at the bottom of the fifth inning. Hellum also launched home races and finished with two doubles in the match.
Schmidt said that there is a promising group of players who are expected to return next season for the ponies as they try to build on a series of three live appearances.
“We have a good core group of boys, and the juniors have some studs that are going to help fill in the blanks,” Schmidt said. “It’s not an excellent player, they all play as one team. They work hard and they are leaders one to fifteen. ”
Stillwater Sub-State 8 results
Stillwater 5, Forest Lake 3
Tri-City Red 7, Stillwater 6
Stillwater 17, Lino Lakes 4 (5 in.)
Tri-City Red 8, Stillwater 2