It took 3 hours and 15 minutes, but Brady Krause delivered the final blow.
He sat on a 3-2 curveball, shooting it into left field on Monday at Cadwell Park. He thought he hit it too hard, but Cameron Deinert’s throw home was off the mark as Jonny Ash slid into home plate to send Milbank past the Mustangs, 6-5.
“I knew they were throwing me curveballs all night long,” Krause said. “I just sat on a 3-2 curveball and did what I had to do.”
The Firechiefs play Alexandria at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Class B amateur baseball quarterfinals. Mount Vernon finishes the season 17-6.
Krause’s heroics weren’t needed until Mount Vernon’s final batter of the game. After Chase Hetland’s bases-loaded, two-run single cut the deficit to 5-4, Eric Giblin hit a line drive into left field to tie the game with two outs. However, he was thrown out trying to reach second.
“I figured (Taylor Boerger) would try to get ahead because he was having problems finding the plate,” Giblin said. “I was looking for something out over the plate. I made contact and wrapped one inside the base.”
Then, Krause struck.
Travis Lester was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, followed by Lance Frogner being intentionally walked. With Ash standing on second in place of Lester, Krause lined Bradley Dean’s curveball into left field.
“It’s always fun getting a walk-off,” Krause said. “I wish we could have gotten it done in the top, but it was fun.”
Despite being held to two hits through eight innings by Dom and Taylor Boerger, Mount Vernon had its chances, though fell a couple of inches short at the plate.
In the ninth, Briggs Havlik was barely thrown out at home on Hetland’s two-run single. And Platte pick-up player Michael Buitenbos slipped running home in the fourth inning, which would have cut Milbank’s lead to one run.
In the sixth, the Mustangs had runners on first and second with one out, but Deinert was caught stealing third and Jay Thaler hit a hard line to third to end the frame.
“We played like that this year, where we got some speed, young guys and they try to take bases,” Giblin said. “It’s worked out for us in the year. It kind of bit us (Monday), but that’s how we played all season.”
The Mustangs dug themselves in an early hole as two errors sparked Milbank’s three-run first frame. Both teams committed four errors, leading to Luke Tiesler’s five runs on 11 hits to all be unearned in his 5.2-inning start. He also struck out six.
While Taylor Boerger earned the win, Dom Boerger’s slow pace on the mound paid dividends in a six-inning start. He fanned 11 batters, including eight of his first 10 outs. The Dakota Wesleyan University pitcher finished with 11 strikeouts as he allowed an earned run on Hetland’s third-inning RBI single.
“(Dom) Boerger is a really good pitcher,” Mount Vernon third baseman and manager Deric Denning said. “He definitely takes his time out there, but it really works for him.”
Hetland finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. For Milbank, Jesse Krause and Frogner each had three hits, while Jacob Jackson, Tristan Hall and Brady Krause all had two. The Firechiefs finished with 15 in the win.
“Credit to them because when you look at the scoreboard, they probably out-played us in every facet of the game,” Denning said. “They were (15-5) in hits and we didn’t field the ball very cleanly. You get beat when that happens. We were kind of lucky to be in the game at that point. It just didn’t come out our way.”