Breckenridge has been a comeback team all season. Whether it’s because it lights a fire under them or they have a strange amount of luck on their side, they were bound to fall short at one point. They likely hoped it wouldn’t be in the first round of the state tournament, but it was as they fell to Plato, Minnesota, by a score of 4-3 on Friday, Aug. 2 in Ely, Minnesota.
“I’m really happy with the way we played. Not so happy with the way the results turned out, but that’s the game of baseball,” Breckenridge coach Kevin Hiedeman said. “We’ve won more than our fair share of close ones and today we came up on the other end of it. You can’t hand your head. You just have to give them credit and tip your hat to them. That’s about as good as we can play.”
Trailing by a pair of runs in the top of the seventh, Jake Wendorff, Emmit Vig and Hunter Feigum each had singles to load the bases. Wendorff scored on a wild pitch, cutting the lead to a run. With two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs both on base, Jeremy Stack stepped up to the plate. If Breck could choose which batter to have come up in this situation, he’d be their choice. The speedy outfielder hit a hard grounder to the shortstop, who lasered it to first to end the game.
“With guys on second and third and Jeremy up to bat, that’s a pretty good situation to be in. A base hit there and not only do we tie the game, we probably take the go-ahead run,” Hiedeman said. “The shortstop made a nice play on the last ball and we ended up coming up a run short.”
Judging by the beginning of the state tournament battle, Plato was going to run away with the game in a hurry. The team on the home portion of the scoreboard steadily built their lead with a run in four of the first five games.
“They hit the ball with men in scoring position early and scored some runs, but they earned it. We didn’t give them anything,” Hiedeman said.
Breckenridge didn’t answer until the fourth inning when they were down 2-0. Stack roped a single to left to lead off the inning and Mitch Porter plated him by drilling a single to center. Wendorff pinpointed his hit a few inches to the right of third base to bring in the tying run.
“Jake’s been hitting the ball. For the last three weeks he’s been getting better and better. Nobody wants to win more than Jake and he’s not going down easy,” Hiedeman said. “That’s generally how we score our runs; we get them in bunches. We had an opportunity that inning to get a few more, too, and I kind of thought we were going to just the way we score runs and play.”
It was the final game on the hill for Porter. Connor Twidwell and Carter Haugen came in to pitch the rest of the way and are eligible for later games in the tourney.
Breck plays Bird Island-Olivia-Lake Lillian, Minnesota, at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3. For a full recap, make sure to read the Daily News website after the game or in Tuesday’s print edition.
“We showed that we can play with anybody here. We’re as good as that team and that’s a flip-a-coin game,” Hiedeman said. “The bottom line is we came up short. You can’t hang your head. I’m super proud of the way we played. We did a lot of things right today. We just came up one run short.”
Hunter Feigum- 1-4
Jeremy Stack- 1-4 R
Mitch Porter- 1-2 BB, RBI, R
Andrew Kram- 1-3
Brayden Wahl- 0-3
Jake Wendorff- 2-3 RBI, R
Max Johnson- 0-2 2 K
Emmit Vig- 2-3
Hayden Schuler- 0-2
Jack Aigner- 0-1 K
Carter Haugen- 0-1 K
Mitch Porter- 4 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 K
Connor Twidwell- 1 and 1/3 IP, H, 2 BB, 1 R, 2 K
Carter Haugen- 2/3 IP, 1 BB, 1 K