PREP BASEBALL: No. 8 Mahnomen-Waubun eliminates top-seeded Green Wave
Mahnomen-Waubun had never won a playoff game in its previous seasons as a member of Section 8AA baseball. The Cougars were 0-2 against Section 8AA opponents this high school season. All that changed in stunning fashion Tuesday. The No. 8-seeded C...
Mahnomen-Waubun had never won a playoff game in its previous seasons as a member of Section 8AA baseball.
The Cougars were 0-2 against Section 8AA opponents this high school season.
All that changed in stunning fashion Tuesday. The No. 8-seeded Cougars handed North Subsection 8AA top seed East Grand Forks Senior High a 5-4 defeat in the first round of the section playoffs.
“We’ve played primarily a Class A schedule,’’ M-W coach Mark Gulseth said. “Then we get to the playoffs, our eyes seem to get big and it was like, ‘Wow, these are the big guys we’re playing now.’ But I think we’ve gotten over that.’’
For Senior High, the disappointment of elimination had nothing to do with a top seed losing to a No. 8 seed. “When you lose a game this early in the playoffs, it’s tough no matter what you’re seeded,’’ Green Wave coach Garret Hjelle said. “You want to put your best foot forward. We didn’t do that today.’’
Senior High entered the game averaging 9.8 runs a game. But Cougars right-hander Kody Lefebvre limited the Green Wave to eight hits, striking out three while walking five.
“Kody’s been our ace,’’ Gulseth said. “He’s been this good all year. We don’t play teams like this on our schedule. But when you throw hard, change speeds and hit your spots like Kody does, you can beat anybody. This was a typical game for him.’’
Mahnomen-Waubun broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the top of the sixth. The Cougars bunched together a walk and four hits, including run-scoring hits by Jordan Spaeth and Brian Schoenborn.
Senior High got its first three batters on base in the bottom of the seventh and scored a pair of runs, but a comeback bid ended when the final out was recorded in a rundown on the basepaths.
“We can’t win only scoring three or four runs,’’ Hjelle said. “I think we were just trying to do too much. Fly-ball outs are pretty easy outs and we had a lot of them. Their pitcher threw well. He got ahead in counts and kept us off balance.
“And we didn’t come up with big hits when we needed them (stranding five runners in scoring position). That was a problem early in the year, but we’ve done a good job in those situations in the second half of the season.’’
Senior High ended its season with a 13-6 record. Mahnomen-Waubun advances to Thursday’s next round of the playoffs with a 10-6 mark.