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Park of Cottage Grove caps successful regular season with narrow win over Hastings

By Blaze Fugina, SportsEngine, 05/26/21, 5:30PM CDT


Senior Ben Johnson's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning led the Wolfpack past the Raiders.

Park of Cottage Grove's Ben Johnson sprints toward first base after hitting the sacrifice fly that drove in the game-winning run at Hastings in the seventh inning. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

It has already been a season to remember for the Park of Cottage Grove baseball team.

The Wolfpack finished their regular season tied for second place in the Suburban East Conference with neighboring East Ridge and Woodbury. The trio of second place finishers, all at 12-6 in conference, trailed only a Stillwater team that finished 14-4 against Suburban East opponents and touts a No. 2 ranking in Class 4A in the coaches’ poll from May 20.

After a tight 3-2 victory on the road at Hastings on Wednesday, John McGowan recalled the team’s 14 wins are already the most in his 10-year tenure as coach. And the Wolfpack will have opportunities to add more with upcoming games in the section playoffs.

“We’ve got kids that love the game and work hard,” McGowan said after his team won in the regular-season finale. 

Park of Cottage Grove pitcher Conor Mestemacher (left) tags out Hastings baserunner Simon Hedin, who attempted to score the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

First Report

A sacrifice fly from senior Ben Johnson delivered visiting Park of Cottage Grove a 3-2 win over Hastings in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Senior Tucker Novotny started the seventh inning for the Wolfpack (14-6, 12-6) by driving a double to left-center field. After a balk was called, Johnson came through with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring pinch runner Blake Johnson. Hastings threatened the lead by loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs.

But Wolfpack reliever Conor Mestemacher wrapped the victory by applying the tag to Hastings’ runner Simon Hedin, who tried to score on a pitch that temporarily bounced away from Wolfpack catcher Jackson Weidner.

Jacob Sandquist, Eddie Peine and Nick Obinger all had two hits to lead Hastings in the loss.

The Wolfpack’s William Smoot and Jackson Tessman each delivered RBI doubles in the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead that the Raiders (11-9, 9-7) matched in the bottom of the inning.

Hastings baserunner Eddie Peine emerges from a cloud of dust after scoring the game-tying run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

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