by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Young America’s hopes of making the state amateur baseball tournament were dashed in a Region 7C playoff game loss to Green Isle on Friday in Glencoe, 3-1.
The Cardinals (13-9) hung around against Green Isle (19-6), but their late comeback against pitcher Cody Hallahan fell short and a couple of home runs by the Irish proved to be the difference.
Green Isle got on the board early with a solo home run to the trees in rightfield by Pat Moriarty off of Young America’s starter Andrew Frederickson, drafted from Hamburg.
The Cardinals had a few early chances to respond as Chet Maschke led off the first with a single and Jon Werner advanced him to third with a double, but both were left stranded.
Young America loaded the bases with a two-out rally in the second inning as well as Tanner Judd and Roch Whittaker reached on singles and Maschke got a walk but a groundout ended the threat.
“First couple innings we had really good chances,” said coach Eric Ernst. “We just couldn’t come up with a clutch hit. It was unfortunate.”
As Hallahan continued to limit Young America, Frederickson settled in matching him pitch for pitch and working out of several jams.
After Frederickson gave up a single and a one-out walk in the fifth inning, Adam Kostecka came in relief to face Green Isle’s top slugger in Moriarty. Working the count full, Kostecka got Moriarity out on a lineout double play to first base to end the inning.
An excellent throw by Judd to nail Zach Herd at home ended another Green Isle threat in the sixth, but the Irish put up two runs on a home run by Jeremy Ische and a run-scoring gift single by Moriarity.
“We hadn’t pitched Frederickson in a big game like this,” said Ernst. “Frederickson came in and pitched nice and then we gave it to Kostecka, who’s been our go-to guy every year for the last five, six years and he shut em down.”
The Cardinals plated their lone run in the eighth inning. Werner hit a one-out double and then scored on a double by Nik Franck, but that was their last threat.
Frederickson took the loss for Young America, pitching 4 1/3 innings and giving up one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out two. Kostecka threw 4 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks while striking out one.
Hallahan pitched a gem for Green Isle, going the distance and giving up seven hits and one walk and striking out six.
Offensively, Jon Werner went 2-for-4 with two doubles and Judd went 2-for-4 while Whittaker, Maschke and Franck had one hit apiece for the Cardinals, who played well in the playoffs and a ending the regular season on a down note.
“We were in first up until a week and half before the end of the year,” said Ernst. “We ended up in third because we went on a slide, lost four out of five and weren’t playing good ball. We came in here and played really good, good defense today and couldn’t come up with a W.”
Young America infielder Aaron Cook will continue with Green Isle in the state tournament while Franck will play for Plato and Frederickson, along with Norwood’s Bobby Zellmann, will play for Brownton.
Tanner Kohls led the Crow River Valley League in hitting in the regular season with a .415 batting average while Franck was second to Moriarity in home runs with four.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]