River Rats State Run Cut Short

River Rats gather at the mound as Spencer Mellgren enters the game against Foley. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

By AJ Reisetter

The Northfield River Rats advance to the state tournament after an incredible sub-state tournament victory but fell short of bracket play going 1-2 in pool play. Northfield dropped their first game, 9-2, against Manakto American. In game two the River Rats, behind a multi-homerun game from Jake Geiger, defeated Tri-City Red, 8-4. On Friday, however, Northfield lost in a nine-inning walk-off against Foley, 8-7. The Northfield legion squad ended with a 13-9 record in head coach Robert Garcia’s first season as head coach.

Ryan Cahoon tags out runner trying to score from third. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

Mankato’s Bats Drown Northfield Early

Mankato entered pool play on Thursday with the best record in pool A and proved why in the first two innings.

Northfield opened the scoring in the first after Spencer Mellgren was hit by a pitch. He then came around to score on a Kam Kaiser base hit to take a 1-0 lead.

The lead however did not last long as Mankato came back and drove in three runs to take a 3-1 lead. Nicholas Werk led off the bottom of the frame with a solo home run over the left-field fence. Kopesky followed with a double. He came around to score after a base hit from Metcalfe, who came around to score after Swalve singled to left.

The second inning was no better as Mankato put up six more runs on six singles and a wonky triple off the top of the left-field fence.

Northfield scored their second run in the sixth after Kaiser singled on a hard ground ball to center. Koep drove him in on a single of his own to center for the final score of 9-2.

Geiger’s Two-Homer Day Fuels River Rat Win

Jake Geiger welcomed back to dugout after scoring. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

After swallowing a tough defeat against Mankato, Northfield had to turn around and take on Tri-City Red in their second pool play game of the day. Grant Hutton was lights out on the mound through 3.2 innings before letting up the first run of the game. Northfield however answered in the home half with six runs, four of which came off the bat of Jake Geiger.

The inning led off with two singles and a walk to load the bases for Tegan Mellgren. Tegan walked to tie the game at one. Kyan Rauk then came to the plate and drove in the go-ahead run on a single to right field. Jake Geiger another batter later drove in four runs on his own with his first home run of the season and the team’s first grand slam of the season.

Tri-City responded with two runs to make it a 6-3 ball game in the sixth. Geiger retaliated with his second home run of the season, this time a two-run home run, to give Northfield an 8-3 lead.

Tri-City scored another run in the seventh but could not rally back as Northfield escaped Thursday 1-1 in pool play.

Foley Boots Northfield From State Tournament in Walk-Off Fashion

Tegan Mellgren legs out an infield single. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

It was an exciting back-and-forth affair between two teams fighting for a spot in bracket play, but it was Foley who came out on top after nine innings of baseball.

The River Rats opened the scoring in the fourth after two singles and a walk loaded the bases. Gavin Novotny delivered a bases-clearing double to give Northfield the early lead. Ryan Cahoon drove in Novotny on a sacrifice ground out to second base to extend the lead to four.

Foley answered back with a grand slam from Emmerich that sailed over the right-field wall to tie the game. Northfield re-took the lead an inning later. The red-hot Austin Koep drove in Spencer Mellgren from second on a double to right. Nolan Thompson followed with an RBI single to center that scored Kaiser.

Foley came right back again in the bottom half led off by Gapinski who shot a solo homerun over the right field fence. Molitor tied the game on a single that drove in Dahmen.

Spencer Mellgren (left) and Jake Geiger (right) celebrate after making a defensive play. Photo: Jim Wellbrock

Spencer Mellgren delivered another go-ahead run in the fourth on a sacrifice ground out to drive in Geiger.

Both offenses went silent after that until the bottom of the sixth when Foley tied the game, 7-7, after Emerich delivered a clutch RBI single to score Wirth. The bats went quiet again until the bottom of the ninth when Micholski put down a bunt back to Spencer on the mound and his throw got past first baseman Rauk which allowed Peterson to score and Foley to secure the win.

What’s Next

The River Rats finished their successful season with a 13-9 record and were crowned the sub-state region five champions. Many players will prepare for their fall sports seasons. Nolan Thompson will prepare for his first year at Montana State University. Tyler Hughes will get ready for his first baseball season with Gustavus. Spencer Mellgren will also get ready for his first baseball season at St. Johns University. Oliver Hollerung will prepare for his first semester at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Stay up to date with all Northfield activities by heading over to NorthfieldLive.com and by following us on social media @NorthfiedLive.

River Rats gather outside the dugout after their final game of the season. Photo: Jim Wellbrock