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Cloquet shows toughness in defeat

Advancing to the state championship best-of-three series last weekend, was tough for the 13-and-Under Cloquet intermediate baseball team, but perhaps their toughest spirit yet was on display Sunday.

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Cloquet carded back-to-back losses to Coon Rapids 3-2 last Saturday and 22-13 Sunday in Plymouth, Minn., to fall a pair of wins shy of the state title, but it wasn’t without a fight.

Following Saturday’s one-run loss behind eighth-grade ace pitcher Jon Baker, freshman Tim Pokornowski pitched Sunday before he gashed his eye open on the nearby fencing when going for a fly ball that he somehow managed to catch. Pokornowski soon went to the hospital to have his cut glued.

As Pokornowski left, seventh-grader Cole Ketola came in relief, quickly taking a line drive to the jaw which removed him from a game that eventually got out of hand in a hurry.

That determination, however, was noted by Coach John Benson, whose team is 17-5, has several games left, and nearly advanced to Central Regionals in Kalamazoo, Mich.

“Blood was all over, but the first thing Tim wondered was ‘I caught the ball, didn’t I?’” Benson said. “Coon Rapids is very good. We gave them our best shot, and didn’t give up.”