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Bob Williams / Forum Communications Co., Published June 15 2012

New York Mills captures 1A consolation baseball title

JORDAN, Minn. – New York Mills won 25 of 26 games this season with great pitching and timely hitting.

Both proved to be key in a last-inning comeback from two runs down to defeat Ely 3-2 and capture the Minnesota Class 1A state baseball tournament consolation title on Friday.

All three of the Eagles games at state were pitchers’ duels.

In the consolation final, New York Mills’ Tyler Patron battled Ely’s Will Gustafson for six innings before either team got on the board.

“The first six innings Tyler Patron pitched a heck of a ballgame,” New York Mills head coach Chris Bushinger said.

Until the Eagles’ last at-bats, Gustafson held New York Mills to three hits.

The Eagles doubled that number, getting three hits in the seventh to win the ballgame.

“All year long we’ve been talking about timely hitting, and timely hitting is what has put runs up on the board in a lot of our ballgames,” Bushinger said.

Senior Maison Roberts singled in his last career at-bat to start the rally. Tyler Patron followed with another single and senior Adam Snelgrove doubled to score Roberts and cut Ely’s lead to 2-1.

Nick Kupfer came in to pinch run for Patron and scored from third on a passed ball. Snelgrove moved to third to put the winning run 90 feet away with no outs.

Sophomore Daniel Kraft lifted a lazy fly ball to right field to score Snelgrove easily on the sacrifice fly to complete the comeback.

The Eagles were sent to the consolation bracket after a 1-0 loss to St. Agnes in a game that did not start until after 10 p.m. Thursday due to heavy rainfall in the Chaska area.

The game ended at midnight amidst some controversy.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Eagles starter Snelgrove struck out Joe McDonald.

However, the ball got away from catcher Adam Patron and trickled to his right, coming to rest quietly near the Aggies on-deck circle.

McDonald scampered to second base on the play while Patron tried to find the ball.

Nick Turch’s sacrifice bunt moved McDonald to third base.

Jake Gutzmann stepped to the plate and Snelgrove prepared to pitch from the stretch when McDonald took off attempting a steal of home plate.

Snelgrove fired to Patron and McDonald was out easily for what appeared to be the third out of the inning.

Home-plate umpire Scott Seaton, however, saw the play differently, calling a balk on Snelgrove and awarding the run to McDonald, which proved to be the game-winner.

A lengthy discussion was had between Bushinger and the three members of the umpiring crew – Seaton, Paul Ringo and David Gunderson – but to no avail to the Eagles’ plight.

“Disappointing … the way that they got it,” Bushinger said. “Kind of a questionable balk call. I disagree with it, but three guys are going to overrule me.”

New York Mills rebounded strong in the opening game of the consolation bracket Friday thanks to the pitching and hitting efforts of Kupfer.

Kupfer pitched a complete-game three-hitter and connected on a third-inning grand slam to help himself out in the Eagles’

5-1 victory over BOLD.

New York Mills finishes its season with a 25-1 record and a fifth-place finish in the state tournament.

NYM 004 100 0– 5 4 4

BOLD 000 000 1– 1 3 1

Kupfer and A. Patron. Sandgren, Kramer (4) and T. Athman. W–Kupfer. L–Sandgren. HR-Kupfer

ELY 000 000 2– 2 5 0

NYM 000 000 3– 3 5 4

T. Patron and A. Patron. Gustafson, Snyder (6) and Helget. W–T. Patron. L–Gustafson.

NYM 000 000 0– 0 3 1

SA 000 100 x– 1 3 1

Snelgrove and A. Patron. Fossand and Knippenberg. W–Fossand. L–Snelgrove.

Williams writes for the East Otter Tail Focus