Wayzata shortstop Keegan Nickel (12) tried to tag out Blaine Bryce Nelson (3) as he slid safely into second. Photo: Alex Kormann, Star Tribune
In the 14 games before Thursday’s state tournament quarterfinal against Wazata, Blaine not only had won each one, but it also hadn’t trailed for a single inning.
After four innings at CHS Field, they found themselves down 1-0. Their staff ace, Seth Miller, who had built a marvelous season with pinpoint control, had walked six batters. The usually unflappable defense flapped. Runners in scoring position were left stranded.
What was going on here?
“It got a little weird out there,” Blaine coach Eric Feigum said after the Bengals prevailed for a 6-1 victory. “I think Seth had seven walks all year.”
Blaine recovered from the type of mistakes it hadn’t made throughout the 14-game winning streak the Bengals carried into the state tournament, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and tacking on four more in the bottom of the sixth to defeat Wayzata 6-1 in the Class 4A quarterfinals.
Starting pitcher Seth Miller uncharacteristically walked six batters and the Bengals' normally strong defense looked shaky in the early innings as Wayzata took a 1-0 lead Thursday at CHS Field.
But the Trojans squandered numerous opportunities to add to their lead.
Blaine (22-3) finally broke through in the fifth when Mikey Gottschalk and Jake Dorff, both of whom walked, came around to score.
The Bengals sealed the victory in the sixth with four runs, sparked by a three-run double by Connor Melton.
Check back later for more on the game.