(Glenwood) — For second-straight year and third year in the last four, the St. Albert baseball team is going to the state tournament.
The Falcons (32-8) held off a furious comeback and needed extra innings, but in the end prevailed for an 8-5 win in eight innings over CAM.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said St. Albert Head Coach Duncan Patterson. “This year has been tough, there’s a lot of pressure on us and a lot of expectations for this team. They were supposed to be there. We battled and kept this game close and ended up on the right side.”
St. Albert appeared like they would punch their ticket in regulation, leading 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh. But, an error allowed a runner to reach base and Lane Spieker followed with a towering home run to center to cut the lead to 5-4. On the second pitch of the next at-bat, Colby Rich followed with a solo shot to left field, knotting things at five and forcing extras.
The Falcons responded with three runs of their own in the top of the eighth to get the win. Jaxson Lehnen walked to leadoff the frame. Following a pop out, Jeff Miller blooped a single into right to put two runners on. Following a sacrifice bunt, Isaac Sherrill ripped a two-RBI double to put his team back in front. Following an intentional walk to Cy Patterson — his third intentional free pass of the night — Brendan Monahan singled to plate Sherrill.
Miller got one out in the bottom half of the inning, before giving way to Patterson, who struck out the final two batters of the ballgame.
“That’s how it’s been all year,” said Patterson. “Every single game has been a battle. These guys don’t give up. They expect to win. That’s something we preach. They’re going to do whatever they can to get that W.”
CAM struck first in the second inning off St. Albert starter Eric Matthai. Cade Ticknor led off the inning with a double, moved to third on an error and scored on an infield single by Seth Hensley.
The lead was short-lived, as the Falcons struck right back in the third. Sherrill was hit by a pitch with one out and then Patterson and Monahan followed with walks to load the bases. Following a pitching change, Sherrill scored on a wild pitch and Brett Klusman sent a single up the middle to plate two more runs and give St. Albert a 3-1 lead.
CAM got one back in the bottom of the third. Spieker reached on an error and would come around to score on a Ticknor single and an error to cut it to a one-run game.
In the fifth, the Falcons tacked on some insurance. Sherrill was once again the catalyst, starting with a double. Following an intentional walk to Patterson and a walk to Monahan, St. Albert loaded the bases. After a strikeout, Carter White executed a suicide squeeze with Sherrill to perfection and Lehnen followed with an RBI single.
The win propels the Falcons into the school’s 12th trip to the state tournament, which will be played in Carroll this year.
Sherrill led the Falcons offense, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Sherrill. “Just being able to do this with my boys for the second year in a row is an amazing feeling.”
Monahan and Lehnen each had two hits and an RBI, while Klusman drove in two.
Miller picked up the win, going five innings in relief with no earned runs and four strikeouts.
“It’s awesome,” said Miller. “I can’t imagine winning this way. That was a crazy game. I’m so happy we came out on top. This team never gives up. We keep battling to the final out and I’m so proud of these guys for it.”
Patterson picked up the save with two Ks in 2/3 inning.
After the game, KMA Sports talked with Miller, Sherrill and Coach Patterson in a video you can view below.
Ticknor had two hits for CAM, while Spieker and Rich had the late homers.