Wayzata coach Bobby DeWitt wasn't sure. He knew Griffin Schneider had hit the ball well, but was looking at a Lakeville North outfielder to get a solid read on the ball.
Schneider, on the other hand, knew it was out. The senior clubbed a two-strike pitch over the left field wall at CHS Field in the bottom of the eighth inning for a two-run, walk-off homer, giving Wayzata a 4-2 victory over Lakeville North (21-5) in the Class 4A semifinals Friday. The Trojans (22-3) advanced to the Class 4A championship game for the first time.
"As soon as I hit it," Schneider said, "I started jogging."
While the rest of his team jumped and celebrated around him, the reserved Schneider said the blow was "probably the biggest hit I've ever had."
"Well, I hit a walk-off in the 10th inning when I was playing 14-under," he replied.
While Schneider's home run will go down as the most memorable in Wayzata baseball history, it wouldn't have been possible if not for senior shortstop Cody Goedderz.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, the Trojans' first two batters singled. Two outs later, Goedderz worked the count full, fouled off a couple of pitches, then lined a two-run single to center to tie the score.
"I was just trying to stay alive and put the ball in play," Goedderz said. "The last one was a fastball, pretty much down the middle, and I got a hold of it."
Goedderz said his hit lifted the Trojans' spirits, setting the stage for Schneider's game-ending heroics.
"After that, we felt like we had the momentum and we were going to win the game," he said.
After the game, DeWitt said he had no doubt the Trojans would mount a comeback.
"I know it sounds cliché, but these guys have stuck together all year," he said. "It's always a different hero. They never give up."
Champlin Park 2, Woodbury 1: Baseball, with its sabermetrics, advanced stats and hyper-analyzation, can be a complicated game.
Or, as in the case of Champlin Park's victory, it also can be remarkably simple: Take the lead. Throw strikes. Catch the ball. Win the game.
"Baseball is not really hard," Rebels coach Cory Davis said. "It can be a pretty easy game."
It helps to have a group of seniors like the ones at Champlin Park (24-3). Fourteen of the Rebels' varsity players are playing for their school for the last time, including Aaron Kloeppner, who was the picture of pitching efficiency.
Kloeppner pitched 6⅔ innings, scattering five hits and giving up one run. He struck out only two batters, but didn't issue a walk and threw only 77 pitches. He was relieved with two outs and two on in the top of the seventh by Drew Nelson, who picked up a three-pitch save.
"I was locating well, especially early on, and the defense made plays behind me," Kloeppner said. "I definitely wanted to close the game out, but we have Drew Nelson and he throws BBs. He can just shut guys down."
Starter Brady Mundahl was almost Kloeppner's equal for Woodbury (22-4). He settled down after allowing two runs in the first inning and gave up only one hit over the final five innings, but enough damage had been done.
"Their pitcher was really good. You have to tip your cap to him," Woodbury coach Kevin McDermott said. "Once Brady settled in, he was awesome. He did an excellent job, but we just came up a little bit short."