MARSHALL - Inclement weather ended the 2012 U.S. Bank Mid-Summer Classic prematurely Sunday morning.
The Marshall Mudcats, who went 2-1 in pool play, were scheduled to take on Coon Rapids (3-0 in pool play) in the championship game at 11 a.m. Sunday morning at Legion Field. The combination of an early storm and the threat of more thunderstorms to come forced tournament directors and teams to cancel the Marshall-Coon Rapids contest, which would have been a rematch of Saturday's night cap.
"It's a little disappointing," Mudcats coach Chace Pollock said. "We were going to throw Mason [Schnaible] today. Now he'll pitch Tuesday against Alexandria."
Coon Rapids was awarded the Mid-Summer Classic championship by virtue of their undefeated record in pool play and having defeated the Mudcats in pool play.
Elk River defeated Albany 8-2 in the rain-shortened third-place game, while Waterloo-Valley won 9-0 over Metro Fargo in the consolation game at Southwest Minnesota State's Alumni Field Sunday morning.
Marshall, which is 2-3 on the season so far, earned its place in the Sunday's championship despite splitting a pair of games Saturday.
In their first game on Saturday, the Mudcats used a three-run third inning to defeat Elk River 3-2. Marshall third baseman Matt Campion drove in Mason Schnaible for the first Mudcat run in the third. Aaron Mathiowetz followed Campion's RBI single with a two RBI single of his own, scoring Campion and pitcher Riley Carpenter.
Carpenter pitched all seven innings for the Mudcats, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out three batters. Mathiowetz was the primary offensive standout for the Mudcats, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Marshall pitchers were unable to solve the Coon Rapids bats Saturday night at Legion Field. Three Mudcats pitchers combined to allow eight runs on seven hits, five of which were for extra bases, in an 8-4 Marshall loss.
Starter Leo Zerr allowed five runs on one hit and five walks over 3 1/3 innings. He was credited with the loss. Michael Dannahar relieved Zerr in the fourth inning and allowed three runs on five hits, but walked none. Jared Holland relieved Dannahar for the last two outs in the seventh inning.
"We gave some guys a chance to work who maybe didn't get that chance during school ball," Pollock said. "It won't be that way all summer, but it was good experience."
The Mudcats also struggled to crack Coon Rapids pitcher Jake Bruner, scoring four runs while mustering just three hits.
"He's a good pitcher," Pollock said. "He was throwing strikes pretty much the whole game."
Singles from Riley Carpenter in the first and third innings scored Mason Schnaible for the first two Marshall runs. Carpenter finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Schnaible's single to lead off the first inning was the only other hit in the game for the Mudcats.
Trailing 8-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Mudcats attempted to mount a comeback when control issues appeared for Bruner. After Bruner walked the bases loaded, Mudcats left fielder Riley Roth earned another free pass, scoring Aaron Mathiowetz. A pinch-hit sacrifice fly from Alex Mathiowetz brought home Ben Geary for the fourth Marshall run. The rally was halted, however, when Carpenter hit into a fielder's choice for the game's last out.
A scary moment for both teams occurred in the top half of the seventh Saturday night, when a Jared Holland fastball got away from him and hit Coon Rapids first baseman Pete Anderson under the bill of his helmet and just above his left eye.
At first it seemed as though Anderson would walk down to first base, but after attempting to leave the batter's box, Anderson slowly slumped to the ground. He remained on the ground for several minutes as tournament support staff took every precaution in making sure Anderson was not severely injured. He was eventually helped off the field by teammates and escorted to Avera Marshall Medical Center as a precaution. As of Sunday morning, Anderson was out of the hospital with a small laceration above his eye. By all accounts, he appeared to be in good spirits despite being a little groggy.
Holland, who looked distraught on the mound immediately after hitting Anderson, managed to calm his nerves and get the last two outs for Marshall in the seventh.
The Mudcats return to action Tuesday when they host Alexandria at Legion Field and will prepare themselves for a tournament in Grand Rapids during the weekend.
ER001 100 0-2 7 2
M003 000 X-3 6 2
CR110 301 2-8 7 0
M101 000 2-4 3 2
CR- Bruner. M- Zerr, Dannahar (4), Holland (7). WP- Bruner. LP- Zerr. 3B: CR- Alex Aase, Alex Wojociechowski, Anthony Mrosla, Kent Sipola. 2B; CR- Sipola.