CENTRAL PLAINS REGIONAL: 6-run 9th inning lifts Eden Prairie past OmahaEden Prairie’s Cameron Mingo and Omaha PI Midwest’s Jeff Albrecht were locked into a pitcher’s duel for the first six innings.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Eden Prairie’s Cameron Mingo and Omaha PI Midwest’s Jeff Albrecht were locked into a pitcher’s duel for the first six innings.
That was until Albrecht and Mingo were replaced by relief pitchers and the show was taken over by an Eden Prairie bench player.
Then the ninth inning happened.
Eden Prairie, the 2011 American Legion World Series champions and two-time defending Central Plains Regional champions from Minnesota, used a six-run, two-out rally in the ninth inning to defeat Omaha 9-7 on Friday during the second round of the Central Plains Regional baseball tournament on Astoria Field at Southside Ballpark.
“It was definitely really special to get those runs, because they are a really good team,” Eden Prairie left fielder Kent Curran said. “We knew we needed those runs to give us some insurance.”
Curran, who had his first plate appearance of the tournament in the seventh inning made it worthwhile. He connected on a 2-2 pitch for a two-run single to center that scored Derek Soderberg and Logan Borg. Curran tried to stretch the single to a double and was thrown out by Notre Dame recruit Kevin Connelly.
that scored Derek Soderberg and Logan Borg. Curran tried to stretch the single to a double and was thrown out by Notre Dame recruit Kevin Connelly.
“Kent (Curran) had two huge at-bats for us,” Eden Prairie head coach Scott Hackett said. “He’s a pretty good hitter for us.”
Omaha answered with a Zach Garrett’s RBI single in the eighth. The first baseman drove in Taylor Elman, who reached third base on a throwing error by relief pitcher Cody Wetmore.
Curran wasn’t done.
The left fielder stepped up with a RBI double that ultimately led to the six-run ninth, which included three errors by Omaha. Eden Prairie finished with nine hits as Curran led the offense going 2-for-2 with three RBIs and scored a run.
“I was definitely a little nervous and my hands were shaking,” Curran said. “I got that curveball, I timed it really well and hit it out there.”
Omaha responded with a four-run ninth inning, but Wetmore closed the door for the final out.
“I wish we would have made it a little easier on ourselves, but we got the outs when we needed to,” Hackett said.
Albrecht and Mingo each worked in and out of jams. Both had excellent defensive efforts to squeak out with no runs in the inning.
Albrecht got out of a jam in the top of the sixth after he gave up a single and walk, which eventually lead to a bases-loaded situation with one out. He tallied a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning. The Omaha lefty threw six innings, allowed one run on three hits and struck out 10.
“We did a nice job,” Omaha head coach Pat Mooney said. “He just threw too many pitches. He got behind some batters and battled his tail off.”
Mingo’s jam was in the seventh inning when he gave up a single, an infield hit and a walk with one out. The Eden Prairie pitcher got a fielder’s choice to Brett Guba, the diving second baseman. Mingo pitched seven innings, allowing three runs and struck out four.
Eden Prairie scored the first run of the game on a Logan Borg RBI infield single scoring Guba. The Eden Prairie second baseman pestered Albrecht the entire time he was on base. Albrecht collected two balks, while Guba was on base.
Omaha answered with the next two runs — one in the third and another in the fifth.
Blue Jays shortstop Jon Hechtner drove in the first run in the third inning on a RBI sacrifice fly. Garrett scored on a wild pitch by Mingo in the fifth inning.
Eden Prairie, the Minnesota state runner-up, plays Minnesota state champion Edina at 7 p.m. today, while Omaha plays Brookings at 4 p.m.
The teams played for the state title on Monday.
“This will be our sixth time this year playing Edina, counting the high school season,” Hackett said with a laugh. “We know each other pretty well and there won’t be too many surprises between the two of us.”
EP 001 000 206 — 9 9 3
Omaha 001 010 014 — 7 7 4
Cameron Mingo, Cody Wetmore (8) and Danny Halloran. Jeff Albrecht, McLaine Jonas (6), Cale Dineen (9) and Billy Lipari. W–Wetmore. L–McLaine. HR–None.
Highlights: EP, Logan Borg 2-for-5, 2 RBI; Jordan Smith 1-for-2, run; Brett Guba 2 runs; Michael Blauert 1-for-5; Cody Wetmore 1-for-5, run; Kent Curran 2-for-2, 3 RBIs, run; Danny Halloran 1-for-4, 2 RBIs, run; Derek Soderberg 1-for-4, run, RBI. O, Dineen 1-for-3, run; Jon Hechtner RBI; Wood 1-for-3; Taylor Elman 2-for-4, 2 RBI; run; Adam Wilson 2-for-3, run; Zach Garrett RBI, run; Evan Ryan 1-for-5, RBI, run.
Records: Omaha 45-8, EP 32-11