The Lyle/Pacelli Athletics baseball team, the No. 3 seed and making their first-ever appearance in the State Class A tournament as the Lyle/Pacelli cooperative traveled to CHS Field in St. Paul Friday morning for the championship game versus the fifth-seeded Fosston Greyhounds, the champions of Section 8. Both teams were making their first-ever appearances in the championship game, and in a game that saw the Athletics put up a furious rally in the top of the 7th, the rally fell just short as the Greyhounds, making their fourth appearance in the state tournament were able to hang on for a 3-2 win and a State Class A championship.
The game started on a decided high note for the Athletics when leadoff hitter Landon Meyer hit a fly ball to center on the first pitch of the game, but it was dropped for a two-base error. Meyer wound up going to third on a wild pitch, but in a harbinger of things to come, Greyhounds junior starting pitcher Hudson Boushee was able to work out of the jam via two caught-looking strikeouts and a liner to left to keep the game scoreless. Fosston then scored the first run of the game off LP starter Mac Nelson in the bottom of the second when centerfielder Brecken Levin made up for his error to start the game by hitting a ground ball single into left field. Third baseman Aaron Norland followed with a single to put runners on first and second with no one out, and leftfielder Zach Thies then reached on an error at third that scored Levin to put the Greyhounds ahead, 1-0. Nelson then struck out rightfielder Thatcher Paulibicki for the second out, No. 9 hitter Aiden Wolfe reached with a single, but Nelson got leadoff hitter Cullen Norland to fly out to rightfielder Isaac Nelsen to keep the Fosston lead at 1-0.
Carson Boushee held Lyle/Pacelli without a hit until the top of the fourth inning when centerfielder Hunter Vadeer hit a grounder to deep short that was fielded by shortstop Cullen Norland, but his throw was nowhere close to getting VaDeer at first for an infield single. After a strikeout for the first out, Isaac Nelsen then drew a walk, and with two out, catcher Logyn Brooks reached via an infield single, but Boushee worked out of the jam when he induced a popout to second for the third out.
Fosston then took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Levin reached again, this time with a double to right center. Third baseman Aaron Norland then bunted Levin over to third base, and Paulibicki followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Levin just ahead of the relay throw to put the Greyhounds ahead 2-0. The Athletics then got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth when VaDeer and Jake Truckenmiller started the inning with singles. With VaDeer advancing to third base, Isaac Nelsen then lofted a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score VaDeer to halve the Greyhounds lead at 2-1.
Fosston answered the Athletics run in the bottom half of the inning when, with one out, first baseman Carsen Boushee reached via a walk. Pinch runner Ryne Duppong then stole second base and, with two outs, Aaron Norland belted his second hit of the game, a double to right center that scoreed Duppong to give the Greyhounds their two-run lead back at 3-1.
Fosston then went to their bullpen for the top of the 7th as first baseman Carson Boushee came in to try to nail down the save, but he was greeted rudely by the bottom of the Lyle/Pacelli batting order as Jack Klingfus reached on an infield hit, and No. 9 hitter Trey Anderson then drew a walk to put runners on first and second with no one out. Landon Meyer then laced a line drive into center field to load the bases, but Boushee then picked up a strikeout for the first out. Hunter VaDeer then had a faboulous at-bat for LP, as he was able to take two close pitches that helped him work out a walk to score Klingfus to cut the Greyhounds lead to 3-2. But, again the Greyhounds had an answer as Boushee was able to come back and pick up a strikeout, and a grounder to first to end the game and give Fosston their first-ever state title.
Offensively for Lyle/Pacelli, Hunter VaDeer wound up going 2 for 3 with a run scored an an RBI, Landon Meyer and Jake Truckenmiller both went 1 for 4, Logyn Brooks was 1 for 2, Jack Klingfus wound up going 1 for 3 with a run scored, and Isaac Nelsen registered an RBI with his sacrifice fly. Mac Nelson took the tough-luck loss on the mound as he pitched all six innings and gave up the three Fosston runs, two earned, on five hits, striking out three and walking two. Hudson Boushee earned the win by going six innings and giving up one run, which was earned, on four hits, striking out six and walking three. Carson Boushee picked up the save in the seventh despite giving up the one earned run on two hits, striking out two and walking two.
An unbelievable season for Lyle/Pacelli comes to a tough end with a record of 24-2, but congratulations to the Athletics on a season that saw them claim the Southeast Conference title for the second year in a row, with a Section 1A title and advance all the way to the State Class A championship game in their first-ever appearance at state as the Lyle/Pacelli cooperative.