Teammates mob pitcher Stillwater pitcher Gavin Zurn following the Ponies' 1-0 defeat of Mounds View Wednesday in a Suburban East Conference matchup. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
It’s safe to say following a year without prep spring sports in Minnesota is providing plenty of unfamiliarity as teams play through the early going in 2021.
This is true even for some of the state’s fiercest rivals, such as Stillwater and Mounds View.
“We didn’t have a scouting report on these guys,” Stillwater coach Michael Parker said of his team’s opponent Wednesday. “This year we have to rely on the kids because they play so much together.”
Thankfully for Parker, and the rest of the Ponies, starting pitcher Gavin Zurn had his own personal scouting report and it worked against Mounds View. The senior threw a complete-game shutout in Stillwater’s 1-0 defeat of the Mustangs at Mounds View High School to stay unbeaten this spring.
With both schools playing in the Suburban East Conference and separated by about 20 miles, players from the two programs tend to meet on a frequent basis and even play on some teams together. For Zurn, that meant he was familiar with who was coming to the plate for Mounds View (3-4, 3-4) Wednesday.
“I knew a lot of these guys,” Zurn said. “I’ve played against these guys. I know what pitches they like. I know what pitches they don’t like. That helped a lot.”
Mounds View's Brendan Goldman safely slides under the tag from Stillwater second baseman Gavin Madison for a stolen base Wednesday. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
After Stillwater and Mounds View matched scoreless frame for scoreless frame for six innings Wednesday, the Ponies scratched across the game’s first run in the top of the seventh and held on to defeat the Mustangs 1-0 at Mounds View High School.
Stillwater (8-0, 8-0) got a shutout from senior pitcher Gavin Zurn. The North Dakota State commit went the full seven innings, picking up the win and keeping his earned run average in Wednesday’s win a sparkling 0.00 after 12 total innings thrown this spring. He allowed five hits and struck out seven hitters.
Senior Ben Rosin, the starter for the Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in the Class 4A coaches’ poll from April 15, went toe-for-toe with Zurn through the game’s first six innings. He also threw a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out seven for Mounds View (3-4, 3-4).
Batting against Rosin in the Ponies’ No. 3 spot, Zurn finished the day 1-for-3 with a single.
In the seventh inning, it was the bottom third of the No. 2-4A Stillwater lineup, along with some help from the bench, that broke the scoreless deadlock. Casey Venske, the No. 7 hitter, walked to open the seventh. After advancing to second base on a sacrifice bunt, Venske came around to score on a single by pinch hitter Tanner Voight.
Leading 1-0 with three outs to go, Zurn went out for the bottom of the seventh. Mounds View got the tying run aboard when senior second baseman Cooper Kleppe laced a single to right field. He was stranded, however, as Zurn struck out Mason Dean, the Mustangs’ senior shortstop and leadoff hitter, to end the game.
Mounds View righthander Ben Rosin delivers a pitch during the second inning Wednesday afternoon at Mounds View High School. The Mustangs lost to the rival Ponies 1-0. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
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