June 7, 2022 at 2:42 p.m.

Season is year of growth for Dutchmen baseball

Season is year of growth for Dutchmen baseball
Season is year of growth for Dutchmen baseball

By Herman [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Melrose Area eliminated from Section 6AA playoffs

The Melrose Area Dutchmen baseball season concluded June 2 with a 9-5 loss to Kimball Area in the Section 6AA playoffs at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.

Melrose Area finished 10-10 with the assurance it could field a competitive team. That was an unknown when the season started.

“There were a bunch of 10th graders and lot of 11th graders that had their first varsity innings,” said Kyle Shaughnessy, head coach. “We had question marks for nine of the nine positions in the lineup. They worked hard, they won a playoff game and played at the MAC (St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex) for the first time in a long time.”

The Dutchmen were young. Its graduating senior is Tyler Rademacher, who did not play until the playoffs. Shaughnessy was not kidding when he said he did not know what the team make-up would be. He knew who would be on the team.

“We knew we had (Devin) Orbeck. We knew he was good, and he finished as conference pitcher of the year,” said Shaughnessy. 

The youngsters learned the game and generally played competitively. The pitching and offense gained respect. The team was inconsistent on defense, but, overall, Melrose Area was a team few wanted to face in key games. The fact that the team graduates only one player already had coaches looking to the future.

“We made mistakes, but these guys competed,” Shaughnessy said. “I am looking forward to a great summer with them, and I am looking forward to next year.”

Kimball 9, Melrose Area 5

Melrose Area scored first, but Kimball Area had a 7-1 lead after two innings. The Cubs used doubles, home runs and Melrose Area errors to build that lead. 

The Dutchmen rallied for runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings but never caught Kimball Area. Rademacher had three hits in his final game as a Dutchman, one of them a double. Orbeck, Westin Middendorf, Conner Anderson, Hunter Goihl and Anthony Berscheit all singled. 

Ryan Herdering started and took the loss, pitching into the sixth inning. Anderson was the closer.

Pierz 10, Melrose Area 9

Unusual plays highlighted the June 1 10-9 Dutchmen playoff loss to the Pierz Pioneers at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.

Berscheit’s inside-the-park home run highlighted a 10-hit Dutchmen offensive day. Goihl’s three-run double and Anderson’s double in the second helped Melrose Area take a 5-4 lead. In the fourth, Middendorf doubled and Anderson, Rademacher and Isaac Rosenberger, who had two hits, had RBI singles to give Melrose Area an 8-5 lead. 

Middendorf scored when he collided with the catcher’s glove and the ball was knocked loose. Orbeck add two hits to the Dutchmen’s total. 

Melrose Area’s defense committed errors, allowing Pierz to tie the score in the fifth inning. It stayed tied until Berscheit’s home run. As he approached third, Shaughnessy waving him home was not expected.

 “I was surprised,” Berscheit said. “I’m glad he sent me. It was exciting. Everybody was out there cheering.”

Melrose Area took a one-run lead on the play, but it could not hold it. An infield error and misplayed fly ball allowed Pierz to score the winning runs.

Max Wehlage took the loss, with Herdering pitching to the final two batters.

Melrose Area 7,

Sauk Centre 2

The Dutchmen looked poised and confident in a 7-2 win over the Sauk Centre Mainstreeters May 31 in the first round of Section 6AA playoffs at Sauk Centre High School in Sauk Centre. 

“Looks can be deceiving,” said Orbeck, the winning pitcher. “I was pretty nervous. It’s a rival and playoff time. You have to have your best performance.”

Melrose Area had good performances, especially on defense. Third baseman Rademacher, who participated in two of three Dutchmen double plays. It was his first competition of any kind since being injured in football.

“I tried not to let the emotions come too much,” he said. “I’ve been practicing for a while. It felt good to finally be out there. Once the game got going, it was another game.”

The Dutchmen struck again in the fifth inning, scoring three runs. The Mainstreeters benefitted from Melrose Area errors to score twice in the bottom of the fifth.

The game was pretty much decided in the sixth inning. Rademacher and Funk singled and moved up on a passed ball. With two outs, Sauk Centre issued Orbeck his second intentional walk of the game. Breydon Dobmeier spoiled that strategy with a three-run double.

“We all connect so well and cheer for each other and hold each other accountable,” Rademacher said. “That’s my favorite part.”

Orbeck did not finish the game, leaving the mound with two on and one out in the seventh inning. Wehlage used three pitches, the last resulting in a Sauk Centre double play.

“Our defense made the plays when it counted and helped me settle in a lot,” Orbeck said.

Berscheit led Melrose with two hits, while Orbeck and Goihl added singles.


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