COLD SPRING – To beat the impressive Sobieski Skis, the Spring Hill Chargers knew they had to be nearly perfect.
• No errors (Well, maybe one).
• No mental mistakes (check).
• Outstanding defense (check).
• Outstanding pitching (check).
• Timely hitting (check).
Give the Chargers an A. Under threatening skies and a bit of rain, Spring Hill beat Sobieski 1-0 Saturday at Cold Spring Ballpark.
“The adrenalin was definitely flowing,” said Atwater Chuckers draftee JaColby Anderson, who got the final two outs with two runners on base for the save. “They’re supposed to be the best team in the state.
“But this is why we play the games.”
Sobieski, the defending state Class C champion, was eliminated in a classic, high-level game played before a large, overflow crowd.
“That’s the most exciting game I’ve ever played,” said St. Martin draftee Ben Schroeder, who got the hold with 31/3 innings of relief. “That was a really fun game to be a part of.”
Austin Schoenberg got the pitching win. The 19-year-old right-hander tossed five no-hit innings, then surrendered a leadoff single to Scott Litchy and gave way to Schroeder.
“Austin threw two great games in the region (15C tournament),” Spring Hill co-manager Randy Schoenberg said. “He deserved the chance.”
The timely hitting was supplied by Chris Spanier.
The 36-year-old first baseman had an RBI single with one out in the fourth.
“It was a curveball,” said Spanier, who agreed it was probably the biggest hit of his career. “Probably not in a bigger game.”
The Chargers committed one error in the first inning. After that, they played some outstanding defense, turning a spiffy 5-4-3 double play in the seventh. Third baseman Eric Schoenberg made a nice pick and made a quick throw to second baseman Eric Terres, who then turned and tossed it to Spanier at first base to get Spring Hill out of trouble.
“I think the attitude was: “Somebody’s got to beat ’em. Why not us?’ ” Spanier said. “There was less pressure on us.”
Sobieski started ace right-hander Tyler Jendro. He was the 2014 state Class C tournament MVP, winning all six games for the Skis in the tournament in Belle Plaine and Jordan. He also threw the 19th no-hitter in state tournament history.
“We knew they won last year and that he was the state tournament MVP, but not much else,” Spanier said.
The Skis (20-6), a veteran team filled with current and former college players, were missing manager Brad Czech and assistant coaches Simon Waltman and Nate Olson. Czech and Waltman are varsity football assistant coaches at Little Falls. Olson is a referee and his crew worked in Brainerd.
“It one of those games were someone had to win and someone had to lose,” said veteran Skis designated hitter Jon Czech, Brad’s brother. “Unfortunately, we came out on the bottom half of that. ...
“They (the Chargers) came out and played very well. I give a lot of credit to them. At the same time, we had a wonderful season and a wonderful run. We feel like we come from one of the top regions in the state and sometimes the game doesn’t always go the way you want it to. I definitely wish the best for the rest of Region 8C (Fort Ripley, Nisswa and Lastrup).”
Spring Hill qualified for last year’s tournament, but lost 2-1 in 13 innings to Fort Ripley in the first round. The Chargers last won a state tournament game in 2007, beating Waterville.
“Everyone knows the Victory League is really tough,” Randy Schoenberg said. “We always play good defense and we did today.”
Spring Hill (15-9) plays Pelican Rapids at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30 in Cold Spring. The ESox are 22-11 and the Region 16C champion.
SPRING HILL –– Eric Terres 3-5 SB, Eric Schoenberg 2-4, Louie Opatz 2-3 SAC, Chris Spanier 1-3 RBI; WP-Austin Schoenberg IP-5 H-1 R-0 ER-0 BB-3 SO-1, Ben Schroeder IP-31/3 H-4 R-0 ER-0 BB-1 SO-1, SV-JaColby Anderson IP-2/3 H-0 R-0 ER-0 BB-0 SO-0.
SOBIESKI –– Beau Hanowski 1-4 SAC, Scott Litchy 1-4, Jon Czech 1-3 BB, Andrew Grubada 1-4, Josh Wenzel 1-2 BB SAC, Collin Eckman 0-1 BB-2 SAC; LP-Tyler Jendro IP-9 H-8 R-1 ER-1 BB-4 SO-3.
(St. Cloud Times)