2023 Class AAA Baseball State Championship: New Prague 5, Mahtomedi 3
Posted: Friday, June 16, 2023 - 7:46 PM
Senior Nolan Eischens excelled at the plate and on the mound to in leading top-seeded New Prague to its first Minnesota State High School League Baseball Championship following a 5-3 victory over No. 3 victory over Mahtomedi in the Class AAA title game on Friday, June 16 at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. The Trojans captured their historic first crown by finishing the season with 15 consecutive victories.
But ending the season on that spree was not without its difficulties. Mahtomedi was knocking on the door by putting the tying run at the plate in each of the last two innings, but Eischens, a senior righthander, worked his way out of trouble both times.
New Prague came out swinging.
With one out, Kyle Carlberg walked and raced home when Eischens doubled to left field. The Zephrys responded just as quickly in the second. Joshua Danna, the starting pitcher, singled, moved up on a pair of wild pitches and came home when Carter Schmidtz singled to left field.
In the fourth, New Prague, the Class AAA favorite, regained the lead for good. With one out, Jake Lundquist, a senior catcher, singled. Danna walked the next two batters and was replaced by junior Max Strecker. The first batter he faced was Nick Giesen, who was the eventual winning pitcher. Giesen walked to force in a run and give New Prague a 2-1 advantage.
In the fifth, a walk, a hit batter and error loaded the bases for New Prague with one out. Eischens then singled sharply to left to score two runs. Lundquist’s single plated a third and the Trojans had a seemingly safe 5-1 lead.
But Mahtomedi had other ideas. With two out and two runners on in the sixth inning, right fielder Jacob Johnson doubled to deep right center to score a pair of runs and cut the lead to 5-3. At this point, Giesen gave way to Eischens, who induced Samuel Garry to tap to the pitcher to end the threat.
In the seventh, with one out, Mahtomedi second baseman Seth Nelson was safe on an error. Danna popped out to third for the second out. Strecker then set a grounder to the right side that leaked through but Nelson made contact with the fielder and was called out on interference to end the game.
It was just the third time the Trojans, who finished the season with a 23-3 won-loss mark, had appeared in the state tournament. In 2019, they finished second to East Ridge in the Class AAA title game. Mahtomedi, (19-7), which allowed just two runs in its first two wins, was appearing in its third championship game and eighth overall appearance in the last 10 years. The Zephyrs won the 2021 Class AA championship and placed second in 2016.