The Mound Westonka Varsity Baseball team saw its season come to an end in section play last week. The lost to defending state champion Waconia 4-3 on Wednesday and then to Robbinsdale Cooper the next day 2-1. Both games were well played and could have went either way.
The game vs. Waconia was continued from the day before when lightning and rain suspended the game in the bottom of the 1st inning. The White Hawks struck first when Michael Lindell walked with one out. Evan Dahl followed with a walk and then Jack Latour drilled a single to right field to score Lindell. The bottom of the 4th inning saw the home team add two runs but also leave the bases loaded, losing out on a great opportunity to put the game away. Hank Nagel singled to lead off the inning. The next play would have a significant impact on the remainder of the White Hawks season. Senior catcher Cole Broome bunted to the right side of the infield. The Wildcat first basemen bobbled the ball then went to tag Broome. Broome tried to evade the tag and in the process injure his ankle on the lip of the foul line. He would be lost for the remainder of the season. This loss would cause a ripple effect in the line up. After that play Marshall Boser walked and Jarek Witczek singled to load the bases. Lindell then singled in Nagel and pinch runner Calvin Mackell to make the score 3-0.
The Wildcats scored 2 runs in the top of the fifth inning. They added a run in the top of the 6th to tie the score 3-3. At this point starting pitcher Sam Dufault was taken out and replaced by Will Stein. Dufault had thrown over 90 pitches in the game over 2 days. Stein struck out the first batter and got the second batter to pop up to Jack Latour to end the threat.
Waconia would get back to back doubles in the top of the 7th to take a 4-3 lead. The second double came on a great off speed 0-2 pitch by Stein that the batter reached down and put in right center field.
The White Hawks continued to battle. Dufault walked to lead off the inning in a 8 pitch at bat. With one out Nagel singled. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. Runners were now on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Unfortunately two strikeouts, one swinging, one looking, ended the game 4-3 in favor of Waconia.
Thursday the White Hawks hosted Cooper. The visitors tried a suicide squeeze play in the top of the first that the White Hawks read and played perfectly getting the lead runner at home plate. Unfortunately the White Hawks got greedy trying to throw the trail runner at 3B and threw the ball into left field allowing the run to score.
The score would remain 1-0 until the top of the 4th inning when the Hawks put a hit, fielder’s choice and single together to plate a run. It proved to be the game winner.
The home team had their chances to tie or win the game in the 6th inning. With the bases loaded because of a Dahl single, Latour being hit by a pitch and Dufault walking, Andrew Fish’s ground ball slowed down enough because of the wet field conditions to allow the Hawks second basemen to field it and get Fish at first base, Dahl scoring on the play. Nagel was intentionally walked to reload the bases. Lindell’s ball to shortstop was then used to force Nagel out at second and end the threat.
The White Hawks ended their season with a 15-7 record, including 10-4 in the Wright County. It was the first conference championship in 25 years and culminated a great run by the 12 seniors on the squad. They will be greatly missed next season as only junior Sam Dufault returns from the starting lineup.