ST. CLOUD — Three innings into its quarterfinal, Kasson-Mantorville had done very little. The KoMets offense had been meek and pitcher Joey Hyde teetered on the edge of danger, having given up a run and five hits to Hermantown.
But a masterful job of escaping disaster and some simple offensive adjustments turned a potential setback into a success as the KoMets rallied to beat the Hawks 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A baseball state tournament at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.
“We talked about taking quality at-bats,” KoMets coach Broc Threinen said. “The first time through the order, I think we had one out of nine quality at-bats.”
Message received. After generating no offense the first time through the order and trailing 1-0, Kasson-Mantorville (23-6) touched Hermantown starter Kevin Folman for five hits, four runs and three walks.
Hyde, meanwhile, found a groove and shut down the previously potent offense of Hermantown (20-4). He wiggled free of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth without allowing a run and retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced.
“That was huge,” Hyde said. “After we got out of it, you could feel the momentum building.”
St. Cloud Cathedral 4, Luverne 1: Crusaders lefthander Jeff Fasching posted an 8-0 record this season with a 0.66 ERA before the Class 2A state tournament. In Thursday’s quarterfinals, Fasching was as good as advertised, throwing a one-hitter to lead No. 1-seeded Crusaders to a 4-1 victory over Luverne.
Fasching struck out five, walked two and hit one batter. He had a no-hitter until a two-out double by Luverne’s Gunnar Olson in the top of the seventh inning.
“It really didn’t matter,” Fasching said. “I had already given up a run, so it didn’t feel like a no-hitter. I didn’t even notice that it was a no-hitter until someone mentioned it in the fourth inning.”
Cathedral (24-2), which only managed two hits of its own, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to three walks. Luverne (20-5) tied the game in the top of the third with a textbook demonstration of small-ball, scoring on a walk, two sacrifices and a squeeze bunt.
Watertown-Mayer 1, Minnehaha Academy 0: The Royals (17-8) got more than enough pitching and just a little bit of luck to beat Minnehaha Academy and extend their surprising season.
Watertown-Mayer got a two-hit complete-game victory from starter Michael Herd and scored their only run without a hit. Leading off the fifth inning, Joe Reinert was safe on an error, moved to third on a pair of walks and scored on a catcher’s interference call.
Minnehaha Academy pitcher John Pryor had a superb effort. Pryor had a no-hitter through 6⅓ innings – it was broken up by a single to deep short by Watertown-Mayer’s Mark Sandquist — and finished with 15 strikeouts. The Redhawks fell to 17-6.
Herd has pitched 29⅔ consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the section playoffs. He said he felt pressure, but didn’t let it affect his game “This is probably the biggest game I’ll ever pitch,” he said. “It meant everything to me. We never thought we’d get this far and now we’re one of the best four teams in the state.”
Perham 3, Delano 1: For Delano, putting runners on base was no problem. The Tigers had eight hits and a walk but only managed a single run off Perham pitcher Eric Brauch, falling 3-1.
Delano starter Zack Muckenhirn walked four batters in the first two innings and two of them scored. He settled down and didn’t walk a batter over the final five innings, but the damage had been done. Perham (17-5) added an insurance run in the fifth inning.
Delano (17-3) put runners on base in five of seven innings.