After getting rained out on Saturday, June 22, all the Sunday, June 23 games except for the championship were five innings. Playing for a trip to the title game, Breckenridge and Dodge Center, Minnesota, were evenly matched the entire battle. Both teams had a run after five innings, which brought the tournament’s overtime rule into play.
A coin toss determines who gets to bat and the inning started with a man on second. It was also sudden-death. The Cobras won the coin toss and the first batter drilled an RBI single over the center fielder’s head to win the game 2-1. Breckenridge Head Coach Kevin Hiedeman voiced his disagreement with the rule following the game.
“I’ve never played in a tournament where both teams didn’t get an opportunity (to hit) and I’m not going to play in another one if that’s the rule, because that’s not right,” Hiedeman said. “To not even get an opportunity to have an at-bat is not how it should be, but that was the rule and it ended up costing us the game.”
The game was a pitcher’s duel and Mitch Porter held his own for Breckenridge. He had a two-hitter leading up to the game-winning rip, only walking a pair of batters and to go along with 11 strikeouts in the shortened game.
“Mitch did a great job. He only gave up one walk and the other was intentional,” Hiedeman said. “You can’t really throw much better than that.”
The lone unintentional walk from Porter came in the third inning to end his perfect-game bid. His no-hitter was broken up by the next batter who plated the runner with a base knock to center. Prior to the RBI hit, Breck stranded multiple runners.
“The one opportunity they got, they took advantage. We didn’t take advantage of any of our opportunities,” Hiedeman said. “Every category on the deal except runs scored probably went in our favor, but runs are the only one that count. It goes to tell you, that’s a five-inning game and not a seven-inning game, so we have to take advantages of the opportunities we had and we didn’t.”
The lone time Post 53 capitalized came in the fifth and final inning of regulation. Max Johnson walked and stole second to get into scoring position. Hunter Feigum took the plate in his leadoff spot with two outs and lined one past the first baseman, plating Johnson for the tying run.
The Cobras nearly won the game in the bottom of the fifth, but Porter struck out two batters to leave three men stranded.
“We just got out of the inning before and played great to get out of it, then we had to turn around and go right back out to the field. So we had to get six outs,” Hiedeman said. “I’m disappointed in the way we lost the game and the way we lost it.”
Post 53 went on to face the Fargo Post 400 Comets in the third-place game. Breckenridge scored in all three of the innings they got to bat before the mercy rule kicked in during the fourth inning.
“Those guys (Post 400) had a tough deal. It was their third game of the day and they were running out of pitchers,” Hiedeman said.
The lack of pitchers led to a plethora of free bases for Breckenridge. Their 11 runs came off only four hits.
Post 53 goes back to work on Tuesday, June 25 and also play the next three days. Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, comes to town for a 6:30 p.m. game to start the tough stretch.