Updated: June 18, 2021 11:21 PM
Created: June 18, 2021 07:43 PM
Mahtomedi, the No. 3 seed to open the Class AAA baseball state tournament, came out swinging in the season finale, jumping to an early lead and adding to it often in a record-setting performance. When the dizzying trips around the basepaths was complete, Mahtomedi had recorded a 20-3 victory over Grand Rapids in six innings in the title game on Friday, June 18 at Target Field.
Mixed in with the 13 walks and three hit-by-pitches, the Zephyrs pounded on 15 hits in compiling their 10th consecutive victory and the school’s second baseball state championship. The first came in 2018 with the Class AAA crown. Two years prior, Mahtomedi was the state runner-up to Metro East Conference rival, Henry Sibley.
In capping the season with a victory in the championship game, the Zephyrs set two offensive records. The 20 runs is the most scored in a state title game, topping the 16 runs that St. Agnes scored in the Class A title game in 2001. The 17-run margin is also a state record. Rochester Lourdes set the previous mark of 15 in the Class AA championship game in 2002.
The top five batters in the Mahtomedi batting order did most of the heavy lifting. Junior outfielder Ethan Loss, junior outfielder Jordan Hull, senior catcher Kyle Oswald, senior pitcher/first baseman Tony Neubeck and Luke Loughlin combined to go 12 for 19, scoring a dozen runs while driving in nine. Loughlin was 4 for 5 with four runs batted in. Neubeck chipped in three RBIs while Hull scored four runs and Loss crossed home plate three times.
Neubeck was the big hitter early, driving in three runs as Mahtomedi scored twice in the first and second innings. The Zephyrs tallied three runs in the fourth and fifth innings and sent 14 batters to the plate in a 10-run sixth inning to secure the second state baseball title in school history. Grand Rapids, which ends the season with a 19-8 record, scored all of its runs in the fifth inning. Junior pitcher Ren Morque, who had two hits in the game, doubled and scored on a two-run double by senior pitcher/infielder Kodi Miller. Later, three singles produced the other two Grand Rapids runs.
Johnny DeVore, a senior righthander, was the beneficiary of the Zephyrs’ offensive success. DeVore fought through control issues (six walks) to throw the first 4 1/3 innings to earn the victory. Wyatt Miller came on in relief for the final 1 2/3 innings. Morque, the first of five Grand Rapids pitchers, took the loss. It marked the third runner-up finish in school history. Grand Rapids also won state titles in 1978 and 1984.
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