Marshall VFW Blue was bounced from the VFW state tournament on Friday after an 11-3 loss to host Mankato.
A seven-run third inning for Mankato unsettled Marshall and blew open a tight game to that point.
For the third contest in a row Marshall opened up the game with one run in the top of the first. Following a Mankato run in the third, Marshall Blue struck for two runs in the top of the third. Errors and a barrage of Mankato base hits led to the seven-run third for Mankato.
With Marshall trailing 8-3, Mankato struck for three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to effectively end the game and Marshall's season.
Marshall Blue had played nearly error free in the tournament before Friday's matchup, but four errors in the game proved costly.
Conner Mesman, who started on the mound for Marshall, was only able to throw 2 2/3 innings before a change was made. Mesman allowed seven runs, three of which were earned. Adam Kovash allowed one run over his 2 1/3 innings, before being relieved by Nate Hoeft. In his one inning of duty, Hoeft allowed three runs.
Marshall also struggled from the plate on Friday, tallying just five hits. Four of those were split by Nolan Schaeffer and Drew Hmielewski. Schaeffer finished 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs. Hmielewski hit 2-for-3. Mesman had the remaining Marshall hit.
Although their season ended sooner than they may have wished, Marshall coach Matt Suby was impressed by the growth he witnessed in his team this year.
"You saw a lot of growth out of everybody, young kids and older kids," Suby said. "Early in the year and even towards the middle of the year, did we think we were a state tournament team? I don't think we were certain of that."
But after taking their lumps during the middle part of the season, the team bonded and began to play exceptional baseball.
"You like to see that no matter what happens throughout the summer, or who was in the lineup in any particular game, these guys always stuck together," Suby said. "That's the best attribute of this group."
With their season now over, the young men on this team can look back and be proud of their season. The state tournament is a privilege, and one that they earned.
"Regardless of losing today and having your season end, they certainly should walk out of there with their heads held high and be very proud of what they did," Suby said.
Marshall Blue102 000 0-3 5 4
Mankato017 003 X-11 12 2
MB-Conner Messman, Adam Kovash (3), Nate Hoeft (6); M-Sean Allan. WP-Allen. LP-Messman. 2B: MB-Nolan Schaeffer; M-Tyler Stoffel.