Brett Mogen pitched a three-hit shutout and Canova’s offense came alive in the fifth inning to spark a Class B state amateur baseball quarterfinal victory over the Dell Rapids Mudcats at Cadwell Park.
The Gang blanked their Cornbelt League foe 7-0 on Friday and will now play Garretson at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Class B state amateur baseball semifinals.
Mogen -- a Dell Rapids PBR pick-up player -- mowed down 10 batters, gave up three hits and issued five walks to help propel the Gang into the semifinals.
“We knew he could do that,” Canova manager Dave Gassman said. “He’s got a pretty good repertoire about him. We’ve seen him pitch before. We know he can do that. He’s a big strong kid and he throws well and he throws strikes.”
Mogen -- a South Dakota State University pitcher -- said he was relishing the moment in front of a packed Cadwell Park, which was littered with Canova Gang fans.
“I was really happy to get picked up by this team and they didn’t use me the first two games because our first two pitchers did incredible, as well,” Mogen said. “So I knew tonight was my night and I was ready for it.”
After Mogen gave up a Josh Roemen single in the first inning, he didn’t allow another one until Grant Olson’s lead-off double in the eighth inning.
“We started hitting the ball late in the game,” Dell Rapids Mudcats manager Jim Wilber said. “But those guys were hauling in everything. Justin Miller in center made tremendous catches on some balls that were really hammered.”
Mogen’s counterpart and Hartford/Humboldt Wood Duck pick-up player Blake Svoboda kept Canova’s bats at check. Svoboda gave up just one hit through the first four innings.
But Canova finally broke through in the fifth inning. Justin Miller hit a lead-off single, Trey Krier reached on a perfectly played bunt and Jared Miller reached on an error by second baseman Josh Roemen to load the bases.
Garrett Gassman took advantage and smacked a two-run single for the game’s first two runs. Canova wasn’t finished. Jason Miller’s two-run single and Cole Gassman’s RBI single made it 5-0.
“They have just a fearsome lineup there -- top to bottom,” Wilber said. “Honestly I was very happy with the way we played them, but we couldn’t get out of that doggone inning and give them credit. They got the big hit after big hit and the seven runs was a pretty big mountain for us to climb.”
Gassman’s hit forced a pitching change for the Mudcats. After reliever John Spaeth briefly stopped the bleeding for the second out, Justin Miller cracked a two-run single and the lead swelled up to 7-0.
“We only scored in one inning and it’s important for me to stay strong throughout the game and Blake pitched a great game up until that inning he got taken out,” Mogen said. “That’s how quickly it can turnaround.”
It was the second meeting this season between the teams. Canova won both meetings this season by 15-3 and 16-6 scores.
But the Mudcats have come on strong to end the season, while also scoring 10 runs and 16 runs through the first two games of the state tournament.
“They are all capable of putting runs up,” Gassman said. “So credit to them and credit to Brett for shutting them down. He pitched a great game.”
Up next, Canova will face Garretson in the second Class B semifinal of the day. Gassman said the Gang will throw Derek Miller against the BlueJays and if they get to Sunday?
“We will throw the kitchen sink,” Gassman said.