Raiders Fall to Elimination Bracket, Bounce Back With Afternoon Victory

Spencer Mellgren high-fives assistant coach Nick Zobel heading back to the dugout. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

By AJ Reisetter

The Northfield Raiders lost, 3-1, to the Byron Bears in Red Wing on Saturday, June 3rd in the semifinal round of the Section 1AAA tournament. The Raiders were then pushed to the elimination bracket and defeated Winona in the semifinal round of the elimination bracket, 8-4, to advance to the section championship game. They will face Byron again on Wednesday for the section title but must beat them twice because it is a double-elimination tournament.

Raiders’ Austin Koep drives a pitch to right field to score Kaiser. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

Late Game Score Costs Raiders Against Byron

The Raiders opened up the scoring against Byron in the first inning. Kam Kaiser reached on a fielder’s choice and came around to score on an Austin Koep single to right field to give Northfield the 1-0 lead.

The pitchers kept the offenses quiet after that. Tyler Hughes went five innings without giving up a run and only allowed three hits with eight strikeouts. However, in the sixth inning, the Bear’s offense came alive stringing together five singles in a row to score two runs. Isaiah Stiner came in relief and walked in another run to give Byron the 3-1 lead.

Byron starter Quentin Holmes went all seven innings and held the Raiders to only five hits and struck out four to advance Byron to the championship round.

Six Run Inning Lifts Raiders Past Winona

In the semifinal round of the elimination bracket against Winona, the Raiders opened up the scoring in the first inning. Jake Geiger reached on a fly ball that was dropped by the left fielder, Ethan Merchelwitz, and Kam Kaiser reached on a single to center field. Both runners came around to score on an Austin Koep single to center field to give Northfield the 2-0 lead.

Raiders’ first baseman Jacob Eschen celebrates turning a double play. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

In the second inning, Winona answered with four runs of their own to take the lead. Jacob Larson walked to lead off the inning and his twin brother Boden Larson moved him over on a sacrifice bunt. Treven Viestenez drew a walk following an error that Carter Shields reached. With the bases loaded, Tyler Kelner drove in Jacob Larson to score Winona’s first run. Jonathan Heftman followed with a walk to score another run and Carson Jones drove in two more runs on a single to left field to give the Winhawks the 4-2 lead.

In the fourth inning, the Raider offense caught fire scoring six runs. Seth Thompson led off the inning with a walk, then five singles in a row scored four runs to give Northfield the lead, 6-4. Spencer Mellgren hit a sacrifice fly into right field which scored Oliver Hollerung and Kaiser followed with an RBI single to right field to score Geiger and give them an 8-4 lead.

Spencer Mellgren went five innings on the bump and gave up four runs, none of them earned, on four hits, and struck out three. His brother Tegan Mellgren came in relief and went the rest of the way without allowing a hit.

What’s Next?

The Raiders will play Byron on Wednesday at 5:00 pm for the section title in Red Wing. If they win that game they will force another game immediately following game one. The Raiders will need to win both games for the section title and a state tournament birth. Catch all the action and stay up to date with all Northfield activities by heading over to and following us on social media @northfieldlive.