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Class AA baseball championship: Glencoe-Silver Lake races to crown

Posted: Friday, June 18, 2021 - 3:44 PM

It took the Glencoe-Silver Lake baseball team just nine pitches to grab the lead in the Class AA championship game on Friday, June 18 at Target Field. The Panthers used that as an offensive launching pad en route to a 10-0 victory over Belle Plaine in six innings to earn the program’s first state crown.

Shortstop Jacob Christianson, catcher Zachary Voelz and third baseman Beau Lepel, the top three batters in the Panthers’ order, recorded three hits apiece as part of a 12-hit attack. Christianson and Voelz also scored three runs each. That offensive output was more than enough for pitcher Drew Hedtke. He stifled Belle Plaine on just one hit, needing just 83 pitches, 58 that were strikes.

Glencoe-Silver Lake (26-3) outscored the opposition 36-3 in three state tournament games. The Panthers were runner-ups in 2007 and won the consolation finals in 1996 and 2014.

Christianson opened the game with a single and then Voelz was hit by a pitch. Lepel singled home Christianson and the Panthers were off and running. The score stayed that way until the fourth inning when Glencoe-Silver Lake, winners of 16 of its final 17 games, combined four hits, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two Belle Plaine errors for five runs to break the game open. Christianson doubled, scored a run and knocked in a run in the outburst.

Later, Voelz and Lepel had back-to-back run-scoring doubles in a two-run fifth inning.

Hedtke was dominant from the start. He allowed only one runner to reach base. After sophomore catcher Jake Brandenburg led off the second inning with a single to left field, he was the only Belle Plaine player to reach the outfield, the righthander retired the next 15 consecutive batters. He was on target all day, finishing with 11 strikeouts. Hedtke appeared in all three tournament games. He tossed a total of 12.1 innings, surrendering just five hits and no runs.

Sophomore pitcher Ethan Hoffman, the first of three Belle Plaine pitchers, worked the first 3 2/3 innings and took the loss. Belle Plaine, also the Class AA runner-up in 2016, finished the season 20-5.

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