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Sauk Rapids ousted by Foley

Post 298 gives up 3 early runs, rally falls short

By TOM FENTON| Staff writer

Two teams that experienced different kinds of success during the high school season met July 21 in a loser-goes-home situation.
In what was a well-played game, it was Foley which advanced with a 4-2 victory at Sartell High School in Sartell. Sauk Rapids saw its season end.
Foley, which went undefeated during the regular season in high school, advanced to play Little Falls in a final four game July 22. The championship game was scheduled for July 23 and, if necessary, Saturday, July 24, at St. Cloud Orthopedic Field in Sartell.
Foley started quickly in the elimination game, scoring three times in the first inning, but not without some controversy. Ryan Chmielewski attempted to score from third and on a close play. Chmielewski was awarded a run as the umpire called Sauk Rapids catcher Jeff Solorz with obstruction.
Coach Paul Wippler tried pleading his case to the umpires, who did not change the call. Foley added two more runs to take a 3-0 lead.
The call was not the only thing that bothered Wippler.
“That umpire used to coach the Legion team in Foley, so he never should’ve been doing the game in the first place,” Wippler said. “He made the same call against us in a regular-season game against Foley.”
Wippler said the obstruction rule states the player without the ball cannot obstruct the base runner, but if that player is attempting to catch the ball, he has a right to do so. Adding to the frustration was the fact there was not a sub-state 12 representative at the game because it was played at the alternate site.
Had there been a representative, the call could have been discussed further by looking at the rule book. Though upset with the call and situation, Wippler said it did not determine the outcome.
“My concern here is for the kids,” Wippler said. “They’re the ones who get shorted with all this, and it’s unfortunate that’s the way the season ended. The message I gave them after the game was that life isn’t always fair. It shouldn’t be hard to come back from a situation like that, but our bats just fell asleep. You can’t expect to win with two hits.”
Sauk Rapids pulled within one run on Brandon Bokelman’s two-run home run off Foley pitcher Michael Moulzolf in the top of the third.
Sauk Rapids pitcher Owen Arndt settled down after the first inning, giving up only one run the rest of the way to take the loss. Arndt gave up six hits and struck out five, but the offense only managed two more hits the rest of the way.
“Owen pitched great,” said Wippler, whose team finished 7-10. “He really kept us in the game.”
Sauk Rapids opened the tournament with a 1-0 win in eight innings over the St. Cloud 76ers July 18 at St. Cloud Orthopedic Field. Post 254 was sent to the loser’s bracket a day later with a 5-2 loss to second-seeded Little Falls, which is one of only two teams this season to beat Foley.
Pitcher Landon Lunser, a key role in helping the Storm to the Class AAA state high school tournament, tossed a gem. The recent Sauk Rapids-Rice graduate gave up five hits and struck out three to earn the shutout.
Solorz drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth for third-seeded Sauk Rapids, which got a triple from Andrew Harren, a double from Bokelman and a single from Dom Mathies.
In the second-round loss to Little Falls, Sauk Rapids got two hits from Bokelman and a triple from Arndt. Noah Jensen was 1 for3 and pitched the first 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. Keegan Patterson drove in a run.