The Rochester Roadrunners won the Region 5C Championship game 5-4 over Cannon Falls today at John Burch Park in Cannon Falls.  The game started Friday night and was tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the 4th inning.

That's where the game started today with both teams making pitching changes.  Bears ace Keith Meyers took the hill for the hometown team.  Kolton Mullenbach was the pitcher for the Roadrunners.

In the bottom of the 4th inning Meyers led the inning with a strikeout looking.  The pitch appeared to be outside but the umpire was somewhat consistent on giving a generous outside corner during the game.  Pete Haggerty moved from the designated hitter role to playing right field,  He ended the inning with a strikeout swinging.

In the top of the 5th Meyers was also successful in getting three outs on 11 pitches with a strikeout.

In the bottom of the 5th inning the Bears took a 2-1 lead when #8 hitter Alex Tauer was hit by a pitch with a 2-2 count.  Jake Christianson followed with a perfectly executed bunt and beat the throw to remain at first base.  On the play Tauer never hesitated rounding second and sliding safely into third base.  Cannon Falls had runners at the corners with no outs.

During the Braxton Lindow at bat Christianson was thrown out attempting to steal second base.  Lindow was walked.  Brock Peterson then connected for an RBI single to score Tauer and give the Bears a very brief lead.  Carlton Lindow grounded out leaving runners at second and third. Richie Burr hit the ball well but it was chased down by Rochester centerfielder Pat Leary for the final out.

In the top of the 6th inning #3 hitter in the order for the Roadrunners Bryan McCauley worked the count full and fouled off a couple of very good Meyers pitches before getting ahold of one and lining it into the right field corner.  McCauley had a triple.

Cleanup hitter Taylor Field laced a 0-1 count single to tie the game.  Mullenbach put down a bunt that Meyers pounced on. He threw Field out at second base for the first out.  Designated hitter Jake Ihrke jumped on the first pitch for a single.  Dave Jensen hit a 2-2 pitch for a single to load the bases.

Meyers struck out Matthew Hayford after the count was full before #9 hitter O'Leary jumped on the first pitch for a 2 run single.  8 Rochester players went to the plate with 5 recording hits and 3 runs scored to give them a 4-2 lead.

The Bears did score with two outs in the bottom of the 6th off Alex Ferguson who took the mound for the Roadrunners.  Haggerty cracked a 2-0 count double.  Tauer hammered a single to score Haggerty and was called out trying to gain second base on the throw home.

Tauer appeared to be safe on the play.  The throw was high and Haggerty appeared to get his foot on the bag before the tag could be applied.  However he was called out to end the inning.  Rochester had a 4-3 lead.

Meyers continued to pitch retiring the 2 through 4 hitters in order in the top of the 7th inning.

With one out, Braxton Lindow was walked for the third time in the 7th inning (by a different pitcher each time).  Peterson stroked a single to get the tying run in scoring position.  Carlton Lindow flied out to right field before Burr hit the ball up the middle.  Rochester shortstop Hayford slid behind second base to knock the ball down and flipped to the second baseman to get Peterson and end the inning.

Both teams had a baserunner in the 8th inning but didn't score before a very exciting 9th inning.

The Roadrunners Leary hit a 1-0 pitch delivered by Meyers for a double to start the inning.  Aaron Stanek tattooed a ball right to Burr who tried to get Leary because he was well off second base.  Leary barely beat the throw to the bag.

Rochester brought in a pinch hitter, Robert Schmitt who smacked a 1-1 count pitch to left field.  Meyers came out of the game.  Nick Drinken went to the hill.  I remember saying at the time maybe he was brought in because he was a ground ball pitcher but the first batter he faced, McCauley had a single to load the bases before Field recorded a sacrifice fly RBI to get the Roadrunners a very important insurance run to make it 5-3.

A new pitcher entered the game for Rochester in the ninth inning and the Bears nearly got a walk off win.

Jake Christianson led the inning off with a 2-1 count home run over the right center field fence.  Braxton Lindow followed with a single.  Peterson executed a sacrifice bunt to get Lindow to scoring position.

Carlton Lindow hit a sharp grounder to short.  Braxton evidently thought the ball was going to get through and got in a rundown between second and third but was thrown out too quickly for Carlton to gain second base.

Jaeger Sunderlund went in to run for Carlton Lindow.  Richie Burr hit a double down the left field line to place the tying run at third and winning run at second.  Hayden Strain went to second to run for Burr.

AJ Weidner came to the plate with two outs and runners at second and third base. With a 0-2 count he hit the ball well but Leary was able to track it down to secure the win for Rochester.

Meyers took the loss.  His second of the shortened season.  Coming into the game the veteran lefty allowed 28 hits in 43 and 2/3 innings with a 1.24 ERA.  In 4 and 1/3 innings today, Rochester collected 8 hits and 4 earned runs.  Meyers had allowed 6 earned runs all season.  He ended the game with 4 strikeouts, 0 walks on 72 pitches, 49 for strikes.

Rochester gets a first weekend Class C State Tournament bye with the Region 5C Championship.

Cannon Falls will play 5:00 p.m. Saturday, August 22 in Springfield.  The game will be on KDHL Radio, 920 AM and the KDHL app.  The Bears opponent is the #3 seed out of Region 7 Waconia.


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