CANBY - Earlier in Saturday's Section 3A-North tournament, the No. 1 seed Canby baseball team avenged one upset by beating Dawson-Boyd, the team that beat the top-seeded Lancers in last year's section tournament.
But in the final game on Saturday against MACCRAY, Canby had its hands full in trying to avoid another upset.
Trailing 10-6 in the top of the seventh inning, the Wolverines got its first three runners on base, and brought home a run on a sacrifice fly by Alex Reed. Cody Boonstra got on base with a bunt single, and MACCRAY cut the gap to two after a throwing error by the Lancers.
Photo by Joe Brown
Canby’s Chris Kaddatz (27) is greeted at home plate by teammate Stephen Huber (6), Jordan Holmlund (10) and the rest of his Lancer teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of Saturday’s Section 3A-North game against MACCRAY?in Canby. The Lancers move to the Section 3A final four after defeating the Wolverines 10-8, and will face Windom on Wednesday in Granite Falls.
"Not pretty," Canby head coach Ryan Arndt said of the top of the seventh. "They had some hard balls hit to some hard spots. We just couldn't get to them, and they got a lot of speed out there and that just hampers things even more."
With runners on second and third, Canby's Bryce Gorder had the tough task of trying to force the Wolverines' No. 1 hitter, Dylan Abraham, who was 2-fo-4 at that point, into a out.
But Gorder struck out Abraham, and the celebration was on for the Lancers, who advance to the Section 3A final four with a 10-8 victory on Saturday in Canby.
"Bryce Gorder, he's amazing," said Canby's Stephen Huber. "He's a sophomore, no varsity experience coming in this year, and he's been Captain Clutch for us. He pitches great."
After the strikeout, the Lancers could breathe a little bit easier.
"That final inning was a big stress inducer, I'll tell you what," said Canby pitcher/third baseman Chris Kaddatz.
Huber added, "It got sketchy there in the last few innings. ... I'm just glad that we won."
After knocking out MACCRAY (7-11 overall), the Lancers get set to take on Windom at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Granite Falls. The Eagles (8-13) enter the final four after defeating Wabasso 5-2 and Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin 15-0.
"We're happy to be there, but the goal is state and it has been since the beginning of the season," Kaddatz said. "That's what we're pushing for."
Early on against the Wolverines, it was Huber and Kaddatz leading the way. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Huber belted an RBI double to bring home Michael Slaba. Then, Kaddatz followed with a deep home run to right-center for Canby's first home run of the season.
"I was just thinking I was just going to hit a line drive for an RBI, then I hit it pretty hard," Kaddatz said. "I saw it go straight up and thought it would be a routine pop fly close to the fence. Then I heard everyone cheering and didn't know if that was for him catching it or the ball going over. It was a nice surprise."
Up 3-1 in the bottom of the second, Huber padded the lead to 5-1 with a single that brought home a pair of runs as the senior finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
The Wolverines tacked on three runs in the top of the third after a two-run hit by Carter Asche brought home Caleb Melin and Corey Abbas to bring the score to 5-4.
Then, the Lancers looked to cement the game with a five-run bottom of the third. Canby brought in its first two runs on MACCRAY mistakes, with Jared Holmlund scoring on an error and Matt Gallegos reaching home plate on a balk. Cole Morris, Tate Citrowske and Huber each brought home a run apiece on base hits.
"That's been how we've played all year. We hit the ball and we get line drives," Arndt said. "We only had one home run all year, and that was Kaddatz' (on Saturday)."
Going to its pen in the third, Asche was able to settle things down for the Wolverines, holding Canby to two hits for the rest of the game.
"We got going right away, then we kind of died in the middle innings," Arndt said. "Give MACCRAY some credit, they battled all the way to the seventh inning."
With the game winding down, Reed and Boonstra led the top of the sixth off for the Wolverines with consecutive base hits. Reed scored on a groundout by Abraham, and Melin belted an RBI single to bring the score to 10-6.
"They're a better team than their record showed, and they've very well-coached and they come to play hard," Huber said of MACCRAY.
The Lancers (15-1) did themselves no favors in the bottom of the seventh, committing two errors, finishing with four gaffes in total.
"When the ball would bounce off the grass, as soon as it got to your glove, it was slippery," Kaddatz said. "That's the reason a lot of those throws got botched."
But the Lancers were able to hold on and will now enter the double-elimination portion of the section tournament.
With the late-inning drama against MACCRAY, plus the redeeming win over Dawson-Boyd, moving on to Granite Falls felt just a little bit more special to the Lancers.
"Combine all that with the rain delays, the mist all day and the sun didn't come out," Arndt said, "these guys were great in hanging in there and going with the flow. Whatever was thrown at them, they just went with it."
MACCRAY103 002 2-8 10 2
Canby325 000 X-10 8 4
M-Corey Abbas, Tyler Donner (3), Carter Asche (3); C-Chris Kaddatz, Bryce Gorder (4). WP-Kaddatz. LP-Abbas. HR: C-Kaddatz. 2B: M-Dylan Abraham; C-Stephen Huber, Cole Brusven. LOB: M-9; C-8.