Breckenridge wins sub-state slugfest, 18-17

Jayce Werner (pictured) helped Post 53 advance in the Northwest Sub-State tournament with four RBIs vs. Roseau and a six-inning complete game on the mound vs. Fosston. 

RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. — Breckenridge Post 53 faced fellow No. 1 seed Roseau Post 24 on Friday, July 23, in a clash of Northwest Sub-State titans. Roseau no-hit Post 53 in a 2-0 loss, snapping an 18-game district win streak. Breckenridge bounced back on Saturday, defeating Fosston 11-1 and evening the score with Roseau in an 18-17 victory to force a championship rematch.

“It was a war of attrition,” Post 53 Head Coach Kevin Hiedeman said. “The Roseau coach approached me after the game and told me what he said to his players before the game. He told them to be prepared because Breckenridge will never quit, it doesn’t matter the score.”

With 16 hits apiece, Roseau and Breckenridge matched up like true heavyweight contenders. When Post 53 scored five runs in the sixth inning, Post 24 fired back with six in the seventh. Neither team would go down without a fight. 

Christian Nieto continued his dominant postseason at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four runs batted in. Jayce Werner also had four RBIs, as all nine Breckenridge batters recorded at least one hit. Brayden Wahl scored four times and Connor Twidwell was hit-by-pitch twice as the team feasted on all four of Roseau’s pitchers.

“It isn’t just one guy, it’s every single one of them contributing in a huge way — that’s what a team is,” Hiedeman said. “Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I’ll never forget how these guys had their backs up against the wall and needed to win two games today — they did. It’s just insane how they continued to battle. I feel honored and privileged to be a part of it.”

Jared Aamold has been amping up his activity levels coming off a knee injury. He caught both games on Saturday, leading by example and exhibiting toughness behind the plate.

“Not long ago Jared could barely walk. Today it was so hot out, but he wanted to catch both games and even threw up after the game from the heat.” Hiedeman said.

Breckenridge led 12-11 entering the sixth inning. Twidwell wore a full-count fastball with the bases loaded and two outs to score Wahl. Werner belted a bases-clearing double the next at-bat and Emmit Vig singled him in to cap off a six-run surge.

Roseau rocked the boat in the bottom of inning seven with two booming doubles. Breckenridge hit two batters, walked one and threw a wild pitch. Ultimately, Minnesota Lakes Conference MVP Cooper Yaggie recorded the final two outs on ground balls to shortstop, as Breckenridge earned its rubber match in a 12 p.m. title tilt scheduled for Sunday, July 25.

“It’s a game between the two best teams in the district. Maybe two of the best teams in the state of Minnesota,” Hiedeman said. “The sad part about it is that we’re in the same district. Only one of us can come out of here.”

Breckenridge had to defeat Fosston first, and did so in dominant fashion with an 11-1 win. Werner was called upon to pitch with Post 53’s thoroughbreds stabled for the remainder of the tournament due to pitch count restrictions. He didn’t disappoint, throwing a six-inning complete game, allowing five hits without surrendering an earned run.

“Talk about Jayce in that first game, oh my gosh,” Hiedeman said. “He was unbelievable. I’ve never seen him throw that hard, he was lights out. The wind’s blowing, he’s hot and he’s tired, but I couldn’t take the ball out of his hand. He wanted the ball.”

Yaggie jacked his second home run of the tournament and Collin Roberts went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Cameron Nieto also recorded three hits in the leadoff spot. Post 53 tallied 13 hits, a worthy warmup for the upcoming Roseau showdown where they needed all 18 runs.

“We’ve had great teams in the past. We’ve been in this game maybe six times in my 12 years,” Hiedeman said. “This team is special, not because of what they’ve won, but because of how they battle. I’ve never had a group quite like this.”

Following Saturday’s 35-run slugfest, Hiedeman was humbled to receive congratulatory messages from a handful of area coaches including Stacy Marts (Barnesville), Beau Lofgren (Hawley) and Chris Kappes (Wahpeton).

“The coaches we’ve competed against all sent me some great texts after the game. That’s a testimony to our program,” Hiedeman said. “What this group has accomplished is great for our program. They have gained the respect of our opponents and put themselves in a winner-take-all game, bouncing back from a heartbreaker.”

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