The Triton Cobras had a terrific season this spring.  Winners of the Blue Division of the Hiawatha Valley League and West Subsection Champions of Section 1AA but it all abruptly ended with two games Saturday at Mayo Field in Rochester.  The Cobras fell 1-0 to a very talented Caledonia Warrior team and lost 17-3 in five innings to the Rochester Lourdes Eagles.  It was the same Eagles team Triton defeated on Memorial Day for the subsection title 3-1.

Cobra Head Coach Mike Ellingson told us during the Boe Auto Center of West Concord keys to the game it would be hard for his team to come back after the tough 1-0 loss.  Rochester Lourdes rolled to an 11-0 five inning win over Plainview-Elgin-Millville in an elimination bracket game earlier in the day.

In the Caledonia game the Warriors lone run was scored by cleanup hitter senior Mason Staggemeyer when he led the inning off getting on base by an error.  Following a pop out Head Coach Brad Augedahl had junior Eric Augedahl with Staggemeyer execute a hit and run to perfection on a 2-2 count.  Triton second baseman Isaak Knutson was moving toward second base with Staggemeyer on the move and Augedahl hit the ball in the gaping hole left between first and second base to put runners at the corners with one out.

Caledonia third baseman junior Even Densted  worked the count even and on the seventh pitch of his at bat stroked a single to left field scoring the only run of the game.

Triton senior pitcher Levi Smith pitched under duress the entire game with Warriors on  the bases every inning.  Caledonia started the game with back to back singles by junior second baseman Payton Schott and junior pitcher Casey Storlie.  After the first out was recorded Staggemeyer was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  The Cobras turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

The Warriors had the first batter in the first five innings reach base with just the one run scored thanks to another double play turned in the third inning and timely strikeouts and defensive plays for the Cobras.

Meanwhile left handed starting pitcher Storlie stymied the Triton hitters allowing just one hit in the six innings he pitched.  Senior catcher Drew Kelly had a solid single to right field off him with two outs in the third inning.  Kelly was also robbed of a hit by Caledonia second baseman Schott to lead off the sixth inning.  The ball was hit hard and Schott scrambled to his right to collect it and throw Kelly out at first base.

Coach Augedahl pulled Storlie after six because he had thrown 73 pitches and 75 is the magic number chosen to require three days rest for a pitcher.  45 of the pitches were strikes.  Storlie fanned 7 batters and walked two including a lead walk in the second inning to Triton cleanup hitter sophomore Derek Lilledahl.

Coach Ellingson tried to get him over to second with a sacrifice but the Cobras couldn't execute the bunt needed and Storlie struck out the next three batters while Lilledahl was anchored to the first base bag.

Storlie was replaced in the seventh by right handed thrower Tate Meiners and the move nearly backfired.  After a fly out to start the bottom of the seventh for Triton, senior first baseman Jacob Monson was hit in the helmet by a pitch on a 1-2 count.  That was followed by a four pitch walk to senior left fielder Calvin Johnson and the Cobras were set up for the possible walk-off win.

Coach Augedahl came out to talk to his pitcher when the count was 3-0 to Johnson and I'm guessing he told him to go ahead and walk him to force an out at any base and concentrate on retiring the eight and nine batters in the Triton order.  The fourth pitch was clearly high.

Following the hit batsman and four pitch walk Meiners struck out the designated hitter in three pitches.  The third pitch did look to be inside but he watched it go by and was rung up by the umpire.

The next batter popped out to the second baseman and the Warriors advanced to the title game Tuesday and have to be defeated twice by Rochester Lourdes for the Section 1AA  crown.

Coach Ellingson told us before the Lourdes game the Eagles would be out to avenge their West Subsection loss in Stewartville and they clearly were locked in for the game.

Sophomore Lilledahl started the game on the mound and probably had a few butterflies in the stomach.  Lourdes won the flip and were the home team and after retiring the Cobras in up and down fashion the first Eagle junior Ben Limburg was walked on six pitches.

Following a line out to left field there was a hit and an error allowing LImburg to advance to third and senior catcher Matt Raymond to second before cleanup hitter, junior pitcher Hayden Brown stroked an RBI single.

The bags were full when the Cobras turned their third double play of the day to get out of the jam.

Rochester Lourdes  got another lead walk to start the third inning and then the next five batters reached base to knock Lilledahl out of the game.  Brown had a single, junior Caden Bruns a two RBI double, junior Pat Leary an RBI single, junior Matthew Sather an RBI single and junior Dalton Krahn cracked a grounder that resulted in an error.

Lilledahl was replaced by junior Colt Kelly and he was greeted by the number nine batter senior Noah Bergeson hitting a 2-2 count single, followed by a sacrifice fly RBI for Limburg, RBI double by Matthew Hayford then a hit batter. Brown collected a sacrifice fly RBI and the inning ended with a fly out to right field.

Give Triton credit, at that point they could have rolled over down 8-0 but they battled to score three runs in the top of the fourth inning and could have scored more.

Following a strike out looking (Triton had six of those in the two games, six of 14 strikeouts on the day),  number three hitter in the order senior Levi Smith stroked a single to left field, Lilledahl singled on a 2-0 count and Monson collected a RBI double.  Lourdes Head Coach Dan Herold paid a visit to the mound.  That was followed by a ground out for the second out.  Then designated hitter senior Cole Rollins had an RBI single.  There was an error on a senior Nick Roussopoulos hit ball followed by a walk of number nine batter in the order junior Isaak Knutson.

The bases were loaded with one out and three runs in but Drew Kelly hammered the ball right to the shortstop and the next batter struck out looking and the threat was over.

The Eagles would have all nine batters score in the bottom of the fourth and three different Cobra pitchers would try to stop it.  In addition to Kelly, senor Brady Essig and freshman Mason Barker would take their turn on the hill.

Rochester Lourdes pulled the left handed starter Brown with 55 pitches thrown in the four innings of work and junior right handed pitcher Hayford finished the game with a 20 pitch fifth inning.

Essig led the top of the fifth with a single for Triton and that was followed by a error on a Smith hit ball but the next three batters were struck out to end the game in the fifth inning.  The first strikeout was looking.

The Cobras finished their season with a 14-7 record and the Eagles now fly up against the Caledonia Warriors (20-1) on Tuesday.  Rochester Lourdes is 21-3.

Triton Warm Up Before Second Game in Rochester. Notice the Apartment Buildings Behind the Right Field Fence. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld