Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial players celebrate their win over Tracy-Milroy-Balaton in the Class 1A semifinals. Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune
Even after a passed ball put runners on second and third with two outs, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial reliever Mitch Kelly felt confident.
“I always give our parents a little scare,” Kelly said. “I’ll load the bases and then get everyone to strike out or something.”
Kelly coaxed a grounder to end Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s sixth-inning threat, then set the Panthers down in order in the seventh inning to close out a semifinal victory.
Bat in hand, Kelly also did some damage in the first inning. His two-out hit with bases loaded was misplayed by the Panthers’ second baseman and ruled an error, which meant Kelly could not be credited for the resulting two runs scored.
Knights starting pitcher Spencer Yackel held the Panthers to two hits through 5u2153 innings. Consecutive singles ended his day in the sixth and he turned the game over to Kelly, who pitched all seven innings of Thursday’s quarterfinal victory.
Solid defense helped both Knights pitchers.
Starting catcher Brandon Gilman threw out a runner at second base. Center fielder Jake Dalton nailed the Panthers’ Dominic Dolan as he attempted to turn a double into a triple. And second baseman Evan Davis dived into right field to take away a hit in the bottom of the seventh.