New Prague – To say things went according to plan at Memorial Park Monday night wouldn’t be just a misrepresentation, it’d be a flat out lie.
On a night when New Prague and Chanhassen baseball stressed defense, three key errors were committed.
On a night when coaches stressed strong pitching, hurlers gave up 27 hits and 11 walks.
And finally, on a night that New Prague felt like they could turn around their “key hitting” woes, they went 9-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left the bases loaded twice.
That being said, the Trojans somehow manufactured four runs in the bottom of the seventh to steal a victory away from the Storm 10-9.
Chanhassen would get on the board first with a run in the top of the first off the bat of Trevor Patterson after Brandon Arnold led the game off with a double. Arnold looked like he would take control of the game with a two run double in the second, however his bat would cool off afterwards.
In the bottom of the first, probably one of the most bizarre sequence of events in recent history at Memorial Park took place. The New Prague offense walked off the field believing the inning was over only to be ushered back on after a blown infield fly call.
With one out and the bases loaded Jake Molitor hit a fly ball to the left side of the infield, infield fly was called for the second out. However, instead of catching the ball Ryan McGuire and Ty Denzer of Chanhassen let the ball hit the ground. Standing at third, Eric Wagner took off to home and Derrick Isaacson, on second, tried advancing to third. McGuire would pick the ball off the ground and in one motion stepped on third and threw home. Wagner was able to get under the tag safely but after apparent confusion on the field umpires ruled a third out and the end of the inning. The problem, no one on New Prague’s side knew where the third out came from, Chanhassen wasn’t about to argue and ran off the field.
Trojan Manager Tom Wetchska conferred with both umpires over what should be the correct ruling on the field.
In the event of an infield fly the only force play is the batter which is called out immediately, no runners are forced to advance. In fact, what Chanhassen did is the reason the rule is in place. To avoid a simple double play for the defense.
The New Prague defense took the field and starting pitcher Garret Palmstein even began a few warm up tosses before the home plate umpire announced a reset. We headed back to the bottom of the first.
Nathan Olson and Joe Heinz would get back to back RBI singles scoring Derek Isaacson and Brok Schwartzkopf respectively. Nathan Olson would score on a throwing error as Andy Kes steals second, replacing Heinz on the base paths. Mike Gillen lines out to end the inning, 4-1 in favor of New Prague.
New Prague however wouldn’t hold onto the lead for too long. Chanhassen scored four runs on two outs. Arnold’s 2-rbi double, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly. In fact, the Storm made a living on scoring late runs, six of nine coming with two outs.
The Trojans gave up a run in the fourth and fifth before scoring two in the top of the sixth before Derrick Isaacson took the mound. Derrick would throw one and two-thirds scoreless innings giving up only two hits.
Trailing by three in the bottom of the seventh, New Prague would need a big rally and that’s exactly what they got.
Nathan Olson drew a five pitch walk to lead things off, Cullen Smith followed with a single. After Joe Lehman flew out for the first out of the inning Andy Simon walked to load the bases. With two strikes Eric Wagner found some room in the left side of the infield and connected on an RBI single scoring Olson making it a 9-7 game.
Zach Elder replaced Calvin Lee on the mound for the Storm and would only get to face three batters.
Joe Morris only needed to see two pitches before beating out an infield single to second scoring Smith, 9-8. Derrick Isaacson would cap off his impressive performance on the mound with a full count walk bringing in Morris.
When Brok Schwartzkopf took to the plate with the game winning run 90 feet away he said he was just looking for a pitch to hit, it was the first one he saw. With the infield pulled in on the grass and the outfield in, Schwartzkopf sent the first pitch back where it came from, right up the middle.
Wagner crossed home plate to a mob of Trojan players to steal a 10-9 win away from Chanhassen.
“You know, they were down for a little bit but they kept coming back,” Coach Tom Wetschka says about his Trojan team, “They’re kind of gelling right now and that’s a positive thing for us. Huge win for us.”