GRANITE FALLS - With the season ending in a 10-4 loss to Springfield in the Section 3A elimination game Saturday in Granite Falls, Canby head baseball coach Ryan Arndt summed up the Lancers' loss in the simplest terms.
"Too many errors," Arndt said.
The final tally for Canby was five errors, all in the second inning, which resulted in five runs as the Tigers stay alive in the section tournament.
Photo by Joe Brown
Canby shortstop Tate Citrowske (5) tries to corral the ball as Springfield’s Jacob Menage steals second base in the first inning of Saturday’s Section 3A elimination game at Granite Falls.
Springfield looks to clinch a spot in the 3A finals on Tuesday when the Tigers play Windom at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Marshall. The Eagles dropped to the loser's bracket after falling 5-0 to Lac qui Parle Valley on Saturday. Tuesday's winner will face LQPV in the section final Thursday in Granite Falls.
The No. 1 seed in the North sub-section, Canby's season ends at 15-3 overall.
"Those are plays we make day after day and game after game," Arndt said. "We just didn't make them this time, and that's what baseball is about sometimes."
Springfield (14-10) opened the game with a four-run first inning, capped off with a two-run single by designated hitter Carter Erickson. Cole Milbrath and Cooper Scheffler also drove in runs for the Tigers in the opening frame off of Lancers' starting pitcher Jordan Holmlund.
With two outs in the bottom of the first, Holmlund was able to help his cause on the mound with a timely single. Holmlund dropped the ball into shallow center field, scoring Michael Slaba and Tate Citrowske to put two runs on the board, keeping Canby in striking distance.
Then in the seconds, the errors made the scorebook look more like a bingo card, putting the Lancers in a 9-2 deficit.
"I give our kids some credit that it's one thing where a team commits an error, but it's another thing to do something with it," said Tigers head coach Brady Schwab. "We were able to capitalize on it and get some runs in there."
Although his team was trailing by seven runs, Arndt reminded his team they weren't out of it yet. Coming into Saturday's game, the Lancers averaged over nine runs a game.
"At that point, we just had to crawl back into it run by run, steal runs here and there," Arndt said. "We know we can come back from that at that point. We got a high-powered offense."
In the second and third innings, Canby was able to get the leadoff batter on board. But with a curveball that he seemed to throw for strikes on demand, Springfield junior pitcher Isaac Kirschstein prevented the Lancers from getting anything tangible going at the plate.
"I just had to establish (the curveball) early because I didn't have my best fastball early in the game," said Kirschstein, who threw six strikeouts and walked four in a complete-game victory.
Schwab added, "We told him that we were going to need him to be like (San Francisco Giants' pitcher) Barry Zito a little bit today and throw a lot more curveballs than fastballs once we realized his curveball was on."
Thanks to Chris Kaddatz, who stayed alive in a rundown long enough for Stephen Huber to score, Canby got one run across in the bottom of the third. The Lancers got one more run in the fifth when Citrowske scored on a Kaddatz grounder.
But with Kirschstein throwing knee-buckling curves and a solid Tigers defense on the field, Canby left 10 runners on base.
"We just didn't get as many opportunities as we could," Arndt said.
Springfield450 000 1-10 7 2
Canby201 010 0-4 7 5
S-Isaac Kirschstein; C-Jordan Holmlund, Bryce Gorder (3). WP-Kirschstein. LP-Holmlund. 2B: S-Zach Mickelson; C-Chris Kaddatz. LOB: S-5; C-10.