After 12 Innings, and Two Baseball Fields, Patriots Edge Owatonna
Monday's weather was nice enough to play baseball all night long. Owatonna Post 77 and the Rochester Patriots Post 92 did just that. After starting the game at John Adams Middle School at 6 pm, the game ended at Rochester Community and Technical College nearly four hours later with the Patriots winning 3-2 in 12 innings.
Rochester was the host team as the number three seed in Sub-State 1, but Alumni Field doesn't have lights. With daylight fading the coaches and umpires assembled after nine innings with the score tied at 2-2. A field was found at Rochester Community and Technical College. Players, fans and umps weaved their way out to RCTC and the game resumed after a 35-minute delay.
Owatonna led 1-0 and 2-1 but Rochester quickly answered each time. Post 77 opened the scoring in the fourth. Ethan Rohman doubled, moved to third on a single and scored on a balk. The Patriots tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Braden Black walked and scored on a single by Mathew Cwikla.
Post 77 went up 2-1 in the seventh as Ethan Walter walked, stole second and third on consecutive pitches and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Isaac Gefre. Again Rochester evened the game in their next at bat. A walk to Chase Rubado opened the inning. The Patriots Aiden Brown bunted. While Owatonna got the out at first, third base was left uncovered. Rochester's runner dashed to third and Owatonna overthrew a defender also running to third, allowing Rochester to tie the game and send it to extra innings. Post 92 left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings.
Each team threatened to score in the next few innings but good pitching and defense kept the teams trading scoreless frames. Post 77 put two on with none out in the ninth. A runner was thrown out at home trying to score from third on a ball hit to the third baseman. Post 77 also got a runner to second with one out in the 11th.
Rochester repeatedly had scoring chances in extra innings. In the eighth, a lead off walk was erased by an Owatonna double play on a line drive to shortstop Walter. Post 92 had two on in the ninth, a lead off walk in the 10th, two aboard in the 11th and finally broke through for the win after loading the bases in the 12th. Brant Dickison walked to open the inning and would come around to score the winning run on the single by Drew Lingen.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the fifth, Owatonna had a runner thrown out at home on a controversial play. Walter was at third. Post 77 attempted a squeeze play and Walter ended up in a hot box. He slid home headfirst while being tagged by the catcher, who appeared to lose control of the ball and bobble it, but both umps were screened from the play. It happened right in front of me and I saw the ball come loose, but the out stood.
Owatonna used four pitchers, three of them were lefties. Willie VonRuden started. He left with arm pain in the sixth. Logan Gauthier and Sam Henson followed. Walter also pitched in the 12th. Post 77 stranded ten base runners. Rochester left 19 runners on the base paths. Post 92 used Sam Boysen, Lingen and Cwikla on the mound.
The loss puts Owatonna in the elimination bracket of the Legion playoffs. They will play Thursday afternoon at John Adams Middle School in Rochester, which is the host site for the Sub-State 1. Check the bracket here.