BEMIDJI -- A year ago, Fosston was ranked No. 5 in Minnesota state Class A baseball and a favorite to capture the Minnesota Section 8A title.
But COVID wiped out the season.
Fosston may not have been a big favorite this season, but that didn’t matter to the Greyhounds, who upended East Grand Forks Sacred Heart 7-4 on Thursday in the Section 8A title game at Bemidji State University.
The win advances Fosston to next week’s Minnesota state Class A tournament in St. Cloud. The Greyhounds are scheduled to play Tuesday and will find out who they’ll face this weekend.
“Last year, we were picked to win the section at the beginning of the year,” said Fosston coach Ryan Hanlon. “We were ranked No. 5 and then COVID wiped out the season. That was a let down. To be able to go this year is really surprising.”
It wasn’t easy for Fosston. Sacred Heart, behind the pitching and hitting of Sam Gapp, beat the Greyhounds 5-0 in the first championship game of the double-elimination tournament. That set up the winner-take-all game.
Momentum was on Sacred Heart’s side after the first game.
“That was our fear going into the day,” said Hanlon. “If we lost the first game, Sacred Heart would have all the momentum. But you have to give credit to our kids. They just battled. They’ve done that all year. They have a lot of fun and they just don’t quit.”
After Sacred Heart’s win, the Eagles went up 1-0 on Gage Wavra’s RBI single in the first inning.
But Fosston rebounded, scoring four times in the second inning with the help of four Sacred Heart errors.
Carson Boushee knocked in a run with a single in Fosston’s second inning, followed by a two-run single later in the frame from Aaron Norland.
Fosston scored another run in the fifth and two more in the sixth, with the help of another Sacred Heart error.
The Eagles scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, one scoring on Gapp’s stand-up triple and another RBI single from Wavra.
Sacred Heart had the tying run at the plate with no outs.
However, Fosston pitcher Evan Chalich worked out of the jam, striking out the final two Sacred Heart batters to seal the win.
Keegan Senger was 3-for-4 for Fosston and drove in two runs, while Lance Balstad was 2-for-4.
Wavra was 2-for-3 for the Eagles. Gapp was 1-for-3. In the opening game, Gapp hit a two-homer for Sacred Heart
Fosston improved to 19-6 while Sacred Heart closed out at 18-6.