Cannon Falls forces one-game showdown with Zumbrota for Section 1-2A baseball title before rain comes down

Jun. 4—ROCHESTER — Defending Section 1 champion Cannon Falls did not go quietly into the dark and stormy night.

The Bombers, the No. 8 seed, kept their hopes of repeating as the Section 1, Class 2A baseball champions alive with a 7-4 win in eight innings over No. 3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa in the section finals on Tuesday at Mayo Field. Z-M needed to win just one game while the Bombers needed two straight wins in the double-elimination tournament to advance to state.

The deciding game was supposed to be played later on Tuesday night, but rained postponed the game until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

"It feels good that we took care of the first one," Cannon Falls junior Jack Meyers said. "We obviously wanted to play this (second) one tonight, but we don't mind playing (Wednesday). We'll come back and win another one."

Meyers, a right-hander, pitched all eight innings for the win. He allowed just one run after the first inning, and that came in the seventh as Z-M rallied to tie the game.

Cannon Falls was one out away from the win when Kaleb Lochner slapped a 3-2 pitch to left field for an RBI single to tie the game at 4-4. Z-M had a chance to win on the play as Jack Krier made a bid to race home on an errant throw. But the Bombers threw him out at home, with Meyers making the tag, to force extra innings.

"That was the key down the stretch, making plays," Cannon Falls coach Bucky Lindow said. "Making catches in the outfield or plays in the infield or hustling with some backup plays. Defense was the difference in the end."

Ryan Hjelling hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the eighth for the Bombers with the weather turning threatening. That started a three-run inning.

"Ryan's really stepped up," Meyers said. "He jump-started that inning and that was huge."

Hjellming hadn't hit a home run all season, but he has now hit one in each of the past two games. He had homered as Cannon Falls defeated La Crescent-Hokah 6-1 last Saturday at Mayo Field in the elimination bracket final.

"He picked a good time to hit them," Lindow said.

Cannon Falls junior Preston Schoenfelder, who drove in a run in the top of the eighth with a sacrifice fly, hit his first homer of the year earlier in section play.

"Guys are getting hot at the right time," Lindow said.

The Bombers finished with 12 hits on Tuesday. Dylan Banks went 3-for-4 while Meyers was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

On the mound, Meyers said his high fastball was working well. He limited the Cougars to eight hits over eight innings, and just three after the second inning.

"He did a great job because they have a great-hitting lineup," Lindow said. "He hit spots and mixed up his pitches."

The Cougars also had several strong fielding plays. Krier went back from his shortstop position and made a diving grab of a short fly into left center in the third inning. Z-M threw out a pair of runners and home and turned a line drive to center field into a double play as well.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa starting pitcher Preston Ohm had to depart after just one inning with elbow issues. The senior left-hander is bound for Division I University of St. Thomas. Lochner, another lefty, pitched the rest of the way for Z-M.

A positive for Z-M about the second game getting rained out was Hudson Ohm, Preston's younger brother, can now pitch on Wednesday as he has had enough time off between outings. Hudson Ohm, a right-handed sophomore, has won the Cougars' last two section games.

Meyers said the Bombers are confident heading into the game.

"The momentum's on our side for sure," he said. "We just have to come out and play the same way we did today."

The winner of Wednesday's game will advance to the Class 2A state tournament which begins June 13 in St. Cloud.

Cannon Falls 7, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 4

Cannon Falls#220#000#03#—#7#12#0


No. 8 Cannon Falls: Jack Meyers 2-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R; Dylan Banks 3-for-4, 1 R; Ryan Hjellming 1-for-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R; Preston Schoenfelder 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 R; Abram Tennessen 1-for-3, 1 RBI; Ethan Deutsch 1-for-3, 1 R; Aaron Melhouse 2-for-3; Caiden Huebsch 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 R. Pitchers: Jack Meyers (WP) 8 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.

No. 3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa: Dane Damson 1-for-4, 1 R; Wilson Nordquist 2-for-3, 1 R; Hudson Ohm 1-for-2; Oliver Liffrig 1-for-3, 1 RBI; Kaleb Lochner 1-for-4, 1 RBI; Preston Ohm 1-for-4, 1 RBI; Jack Krier 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 R; Grady Streit 1 R. Pitchers: Preston Ohm 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Kaleb Lochner (LP) 7 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.