JORDAN, Minn. — In the early going of a Class A state baseball quarterfinal Thursday afternoon, New York Mills was simply trying to stay afloat against South Ridge.
The second-seeded Eagles trailed 1-0 after two innings, but it could have been so much worse. That’s because the unseeded Panthers left five men on base through the first two frames when they battered New York Mills starter Caden Roberts.
But the Eagles settled down — then turned things around. They scored twice in the bottom of the third, then blew this one open with a crooked number in the sixth, hanging eight runs on three South Ridge pitchers to win 10-1 at the nostalgia-laced Mini Met ballpark, with its wooden grandstands, manual scoreboard and natural grass.
“The margin for error down here is very small,” Panthers coach Tyler Olin said after his club dropped into the consolation round.
South Ridge (20-7), which finished fourth at state in 2018, plays Hayfield at 12:30 p.m. Friday in Chaska. New York Mills (20-4) advances to the semifinals.
Logan Young singled in the first inning, then stole his way into scoring position. What happened next would come back to haunt the Panthers. Joey Janke drilled a towering fly ball deep to left field with one out, which looked gone all the way. Instead, it bounced high off the wall for a double, and Young, who held up at second base, had to stop at third.
“I thought it was way out of here,” Roberts said of Janke’s drive.
Added Janke, a senior catcher: “I think it was just too high.”
The next two South Ridge batters struck out as Roberts escaped trouble.
An inning later, the Panthers took a 1-0 lead on Elias Tuominen’s RBI single, but they left the bases full.
Missed opportunities are always deflating, doubly so come playoff time.
“It’s tough, especially against some of the top teams in the state,” Janke said.
Roberts retired 13 in a row at one point. His offense ensured he’d leave a winner.
New York Mills pulled in front for good in the third, Corey Roberts’ sun-aided RBI double to right field making it 2-1.
The Eagles then crossed home plate eight times in the sixth as the wheels fell off for the Panthers. New York Mills only banged out four hits, but it took advantage of two errors, three walks and two hit batsmen.
Conversely, the Eagles played error-free defense. Shortstop Derin Gaudette, especially, was flawless, recording five putouts.
“They played a very clean game, and that’s what you have to do at the state tournament,” Olin said.
Dylan Fischer had three hits, including a double, and two RBIs for New York Mills.