[The following report, w/photos, was submitted by guest columnist, and coach, Tom Anderson.]
I forgot all about the “Blog” until our article appeared in the “Echo/Press.” I’ve attached some photos and will send you some more.
The team had kids of Alex Baseball alumni Ryan Burgau (‘81), Rocky Burgau (‘82), Larry Novotny (‘77), and Tom Anderson (‘76).
~ Tom Anderson
Class of 2017 Claims First State Championship
The Alexandria Black 12U (Alexandria fields two teams at the 12U AA level – Red and Black) returned home from the 2011 State Championships in Owatonna with the Championship Trophy firmly in hand.
The local boys had to play 6 games in about 30 hours to claim the championship in the event which included 24 teams that had advanced to the event thru statewide qualifiers.
The Alexandria group entered the event with a 16-0 record and seeded 5th among the 24 teams. The four teams seeded above Alexandria where all Twin Cities teams. During the course of the season, Alexandria had won qualifiers in Hutchinson, Edina, and Morris to gain entry into the event.
After an opening round 7-3 win over Redwood Falls Alexandria lost their first game of the season to Hutchinson 9-6. The baby Cardinals had beaten Hutchinson earlier in the season 6-0. The 1-1 record in pool play did allow the Cards to advance to the Final 16, however.
The road to the championship game ran not only geographically thru Burnsville, but literally as well. Burnsville fields three teams at the 12U AA level and, by the luck of the draw, the Alex nine had to defeat them all to get to the Championship. Alex fell behind Burnsville White 5-0 in the opening bracket round. After scoring three runs to draw it closer, Chase McLaughlin unleashed a bases-loaded double into the left-centerfield gap to put Alexandria up 6-5 and into the lead for good. Jaran Roste came into the game in relief and shut the door on Burnsville for the final nine outs and Alexandria came away with a hard-fought 11-7 victory.
In the quarterfinals on Sunday morning Alexandria jumped out with 7 runs in the first inning and never trailed with a 16-0 victory. Jake Drew, Chase McLaughlin, and Brady Burgau combined to throw a shutout.
The semi-finals pitted Alex against Burnsville Silver and Alex chipped away getting up 5-0 as Jake Drew pitched three scoreless innings to get the Cards started. McLaughlin and Brock Anderson relieved and closer, Jaran Roste entered the game with one out in the 5th inning and the bases loaded. He struck out two to stop the threat and put the Silver down 1-2-3 in the 6th to close the game and give the Cardinals a berth in the Championship game.
The Championship game pitted Alex against Norwood Young America, a team that Alex had defeated 3-1 in the championship game of the Edina tournament five weeks earlier. According to Coach Tom Anderson, NYA had two very top-notch pitchers who had given the Cardinals trouble at the earlier event and he looked for a close, low scoring game in the finals.
In 12U baseball pitchers can pitch only three innings per game and generally only 8 per four bracketed games. In the Championship game, however, the 8 per tournament is waived. Jake Drew, the Card’s #1 starter had already started two games and went three innings each, but, being the competitor he is, wanted the ball for the Championship. He didn’t disappoint as he threw three shutout innings and the Cards jumped for five runs in the first inning as they went on to a 10-0 win in the State Championship game. McLaughlin bridged the middle innings and Roste had the honor of closing the game in the final inning giving the Cardinals the state title and season record of 21-1.
On the final day of the tournament Drew started all three games, going 9 innings, giving up only 5 hits, striking out 10, walking only one and did not allow an earned run. He earned three wins on the day and four for the tournament. In addition, as the team’s #3 hitter, he went 12 for 18 in the tournament.
Roste closed two games on the final day giving up no hits and striking out 3. He closed four games in the tournament including throwing the final three shutout innings in the come from behind game vs. Burnsville White. For the tournament he went 8 2/3 innings and allowed only three hits, two walks, and zero earned runs.
For the tournament First baseman Brock Anderson was also a terror at the plate as he went 11 for 17.
It was a terrific season for the Alexandria 12U team. As a team they hit a combined .439 with four hitters finishing above .500 – Jake Drew (.585), Brock Anderson (.544), leftfielder Mack Strong (.519), and catcher Tryg Burgau (.515).
The team scored 259 runs, an average of 11.7 per game and gave up 66, an average of 3 per game.
In pitching Jake Drew finished with a 7-0 record and left-hander Brock Anderson finished with a 6-0 record as the top two starters. Middle inning “bridge” pitchers Brady Burgau, Chase McLaughlin, and Tryg Burgau finished a combined 7-1, and closer Jaran Roste finished 1-0, and did not give up an earned run in 24 2/3 innings on the season finishing with an ERA of 0.00.
Starter Brock Anderson struck out 38 in 19 1/3 innings of pitching.
Leadoff hitter, centerfielder Josh Molden had 82 plate appearances and scored 39 runs.
The infield defense of 2B Toby Novotny, SS Conner Hammerback, and 3B Jack Anderson was solid all year. Anderson at one time went 19 consecutive games without an error at 3B and Hammerback had a string of 14 straight games without an error at SS.
The team was coached by Tom Anderson, Larry Novotny, Mitch Anderson, Rocky Burgau, and Ryan Burgau.
[Jake Drew delivers a pitch in the State Championship game while Jack Anderson readies himself at 3rd Base.]
[Shortstop Conner Hammerback throws out a runner from deep in the hole.]
[Coach Anderson with some of the troops shortly after receiving their Gold Medals!!]
[The inspiration? The Boys of Summer from some 50-plus years ago?]
It was a great ride with a great group of kids (and parents). When I started coaching them last season as 11-year olds I knew that they had talent and this was a possibility. However, I never dared dream it or mention it to them, and look what happened. I’ve played and coached baseball for 40 years and this was the sweetest moment. And to have a son on the team only made it better.
I’m a disciple of Russ Rolandson, Dale Serum, Bob Montbriand, Jim Ahlfors, Dennis Lorsung, Rusty Rolandson and more who gave me the love and respect for the game of baseball. My hope is that I am passing that heritage on to the next generation of Alexandria players.
~ Tom A.