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Three-hit shutout carries Stillwater to 4A championship

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 06/18/18, 3:15PM CDT


The Ponies defeated Minnetonka 4-0 behind the masterful complete-game pitching of Drew Gilbert.

Stillwater pitcher Andrew Gilbert celebrated moments after his complete game in the Ponies' 4-0 victory over Minnetonka in the Class 4A championship game Monday at Target Field. Photo: JERRY HOLT • jerry.holt@startribune.com

Standing left field with little to do for much of the game, Stillwater senior Mason Schwerzler found himself working hard to maintain his focus.

With good reason. Ponies ace pitcher Drew Gilbert was masterful, shutting down Minnetonka on three hits while striking out 15, leading Stillwater to a 4-0 victory Monday in the Class 4A championship game at Target Field.

Gilbert was so good , his teammates had little to do.

“I was getting a little bored,” said Schwerzler, who perked up in time to spear a sinking line drive in the sixth inning, keeping Minnetonka off the scoreboard. 
“It was nice to be able to help out our pitcher because he’s been carrying us.”

That Gilbert, a hard-throwing left-handed junior, started Monday was a stroke of luck for Stillwater. He pitched in Thursday’s quarterfinals and would not have been available had the championship game taken place Saturday, when originally scheduled. The postponement worked in Stillwater’s favor.

“As long as his arm was healthy, Drew was going to pitch,” Stillwater coach Mike Parker said. “He took two days off and did a lot of arm care. He said his arm felt healthy.”

First report

A masterful pitching performance from Drew Gilbert lifted Stillwater to a 4-0 victory over Minnetonka in the Class 4A championship game.

Stillwater's victory Monday at Target Field was its 20th consecutive of the season.

Gilbert, a junior lefty, started for the Ponies (24-3) in the quarterfinals but was able to come back and take the mound after rain Saturday forced the championship game to Monday.

Gilbert set the tone by striking out the first six Minnetonka batters. He finished with 15 strikeouts, allowed three base hits and issued two walks.

For the first three innings, Gilbert was matched by Minnetonka starter Mason Nadolney, a a senior who had started just one game this season. Nadolney didn’t allow a hit through three innings.

Stillwater broke through in the bottom of the fourth. A single by Gilbert, Jonathan Koehn’s roller to short and Mason Schwerzler’s single loaded the bases.

Gilbert scored on a fielder’s choice and Koehn doubled the tally, coming home on an error on a pickoff play.

Stillwater added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth off Minnetonka reliever Christian Cote.

It’s the second baseball state championship for Stillwater, which won the Class 2A title in 1991.

Minnetonka, making its second championship game appearance, fell to 22-5.

Check back later for more on the game.

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