Central forces finale
LINDSTROM, Minn. -- Dean Bauers put a crimp in his fellow Duluth Central seniors' plans to celebrate at their all-night graduation party. But that's OK with the Trojans. "I think I'll take state over that," Bauers said. Bauers, working on about 2...
LINDSTROM, Minn. -- Dean Bauers put a crimp in his fellow Duluth Central seniors' plans to celebrate at their all-night graduation party.
But that's OK with the Trojans.
"I think I'll take state over that," Bauers said.
Bauers, working on about 20 hours' pitching rest, allowed just three hits in six innings to lead the Trojans to a 5-2 win over Duluth East and set up a rematch with their city rivals for the Section 7AAA high school baseball championship.
"He's a gamer," Trojans shortstop Noah Pauley said. "He's always the guy who comes through in the clutch."
Central (20-6) and East (16-8) play at2 p.m. today at Bulldog Park on the Minnesota Duluth campus with a berth to the Class AAA state tournament on the line. The Trojans are seeking their first state tournament bid since 1951. East last went in 2004.
"It wouldn't be right if we didn't [play again]. It's such a good rivalry between two Duluth teams," East coach John Rudolph said. "We've shown we're the dominant teams [in the section]. It's fitting that we have to go down to a winner-take-all. I wished we could have finished today, but that's what baseball is about."
Central had its graduation ceremony Tuesday night, less than four hours after the completion of its second game at Chisago Lakes High School. The Trojans eliminated Forest Lake 3-0 earlier in the day behind Adam Tullgren's three-hitter over 6 2/3 innings and a four-pitch save by Bauers.
Despite a 113-pitch performance in Monday's 3-2 win over Forest Lake, Central coach Dennis Walkowiak didn't hesitate to turn to his ace.
"We discussed how his arm felt and he said he was ready to go," Walkowiak said. "I'm going to take him on his word.
"At this point in the season, you have to ride your horse. Dean's done it for three years as a starter. He threw a heck of a game."
East coach John Rudolph understands that philosophy.
"I'd have thrown Bauers, too; they had to win," Rudolph said. "Even though we beat Dean 9-2 earlier [in the regular season], we beat him in sloppy weather. When we have luck against him, it's in crummy weather. You have to go with their top gun."
Tuesday's weather was perfect -- partly cloudy in the low 70s -- and Bauers said he felt no ill effects from the night before.
"I felt stronger than [Monday] for most of the game," he said. "I felt I was throwing faster and popping the [catcher's] glove."
Bauers struck out four and walked one as the Trojans defeated the Greyhounds for the first time in four tries this season.
"It's kind of numb, I'm not feeling that much right now," Bauers said of his right arm. "Give me six hours and I won't be able to move it."
Central's first three batters scored against East pitcher Matt Chruscielski to aid Bauers' quest. John Hanna tripled in a pair of runs and then scored on Bauers' sacrifice fly to left field for a 3-0 lead. Bauers doubled and scored on Tullgren's single in the fourth, while Hanna added a run in the fifth on another Tullgren hit.
That meant that Central's seniors, under coach's orders, would have to miss their graduation party.
"I was going to go all night," Pauley said. "But I'll take going to state over a few hours of fun."
Rudolph joked that he had a different idea: "I told them, 'Party hard tonight.'"
* Despite not registering a strikeout, Tullgren was solid in the 3-0 win over Forest Lake. The Rangers had just three hits and three walks off the senior. Tullgren drove in Pat Miller with a two-out single in the third inning and Miller, who said he nearly broke his wrist sliding into home, knocked in the other two runs with a two-out double in the fourth.
* Fans attending today's game are asked to park in Lot G on the UMD campus.
Forest Lake 000 000 0 -- 0 3 0
Duluth Central 001 200 x -- 3 7 3
At Lindstrom. WP: Adam Tullgren 6.2IP, 3H, 3BB; save: Dean Bauers. LP: Trip Schultz 6IP, 7H, 5K, 3BB. DC: Pat Miller 2x3 (2-RBI 2B in 4th); Noah Pauley 2x4.
Duluth Central 301 010 0 -- 5 9 2
Duluth East 100 001 0 -- 2 3 1
At Lindstrom. WP: Dean Bauers 6IP, 3H, 2R, 4K, 1BB; save: Derrick Reder 1IP, 0H, 1K. LP: Matt Chruscielski 7IP, 9H, 5R, 4K, 1BB. DC (20-6): John Hanna 2x4, 2RBI, 2R; Noah Pauley 2x4 Bauers 2x2, sac fly RBI, 1BB; Adam Tullgren 2x4, 2RBIs; DE (16-8): Sam Patnoe RBI double in 1st; Skyler Murray HR in 6th.