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Prep baseball: Northern Freeze wins Section 8A title

THIEF RIVER FALLS -- The Northern Freeze ended the regular season with a record barely better than the .500 mark. That didn't diminish the optimism entering the Section 8A baseball tournament.

THIEF RIVER FALLS -- The Northern Freeze ended the regular season with a record barely better than the .500 mark. That didn't diminish the optimism entering the Section 8A baseball tournament.

"We knew we were a good team,'' senior Jared Jacobson said. "Teams probably thought we'd be a walk-over, being a No. 5 seed from our subsection. But we knew we were capable of this.''

"This'' is the Section 8A championship. The Freeze whipped Cass Lake-Bena 17-0 in a section championship game ending after five innings by the 10-run rule here Thursday.

That earns the Freeze their first berth in the Minnesota state high school tournament, which begins next Thursday in the Twin Cities.

The Freeze take a 14-9 record to state. They'll also be coming off their biggest scoring outburst of the season.

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"I thought we were good enough to win this,'' Freeze coach Kent Benson said of the section tournament. "I thought it could happen. Did I expect it? No. We had to beat the two No. 1 subsection seeds (Fosston and Norman County) to get this far. That's over-achieving.

"When we hit the ball, we've been tough to beat. It's been different spots in the batting order doing it on different nights. Today, it was everybody. That's unusual.''

How balanced was that lineup?

In the nine spots in the batting order, the Freeze got hits in eight of them, runs batted in from eight of them and runs from all nine of them.

The Freeze took control early. They sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, building a 9-0 lead before the second out in the inning was recorded. Six more runs in the second gave the Freeze a 15-0 advantage.

"This is the best we've played all year,'' Jacobson said. "One through nine in the lineup, everyone hit the ball.''

Jacobson finished with two hits, as did Jamison St. Germain, Josh Sundby, Alex Borowicz and Garrett Anderson. Jacobson and winning pitcher Matt Borowicz each drove in three runs, while St. Germain scored three.

The game was almost the exact opposite of the 8A final of a year ago.

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The Freeze also played in that game. But they lost 10-0 to Red Lake County in a game called after five innings. Red Lake County, like the Freeze, used a big inning -- five runs in the first -- to take command early. And the Freeze didn't manage to get a hit in that game, while Cass Lake-Bena was held to three here Thursday. Nolan Goss had two of the Panthers' three hits.

"It's a lot better being on this end of things,'' Jacobson said.

Related Topics: BASEBALLPREP SPORTS
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