Baseball: Pirate 18U team splits dramatic double-header with Kittson County Central
After all that had taken place over the last five-plus months, the Crookston 18U baseball team had the chance for one last moment of glory on Tuesday night.
They didn't waste it.
The Pirates rallied from an 8-2 deficit in the first game of their doubleheader against Kittson County Central, walking off, 9-8, on Carter Bruggeman's double, and nearly came all the way back in the nightcap, their four-run ninth-inning rally only squashed by a throw out at home plate.
Over the past two weeks, Crookston had played a handful of teams from around the region in pickup-type settings, most recently hosting a team from Thief River Falls on Monday night. Tuesday, though, was the last hurrah, as many of the Pirates' 11 seniors are headed off for college and the new school year approaches.
So in between the two contests, as the Pirates celebrated their walk-off win with ice cream, they honored their seniors on the field — at least those that were present: Brady Butt, Joey Doda Joseph Ramirez, Gavin Salem-Boman, Leyton Salentine and Jade Selzler.
It was Bruggeman, a junior, who had the night's biggest highlight, though.
The Hornets scored six runs in the first two innings and eventually stretched their lead to 8-2 after four innings. Crookston started chipping away right then, as Gunner Gunderson doubled in a run and Doda drove in another run after a KCC fielder couldn't corral his grounder.
The comeback really started to take shape in the sixth inning, though, as the Pirates put three runs on the board. Butt singled home Selzler and Bruggeman, and Jacob Hesby then drew a bases-loaded walk, but Crookston had to wait one more inning to finish the rally off.
It appeared at first that it wouldn't, as Kittson County retired the first two Pirates in order. But Brooks Butt and Cade Deleon ripped line drives into center field, setting up Bruggeman, who crushed a ball over the left fielder's head for a no-doubt double.
The night's second game, which only took five innings, featured considerably less excitement for most of it. Crookston gave up one run apiece in the second and third innings and three in the fourth, but once again surged to the finish.
Down to their last out, trailing 5-0 with no runners aboard, Brady Butt singled, as did Gunderson. Salentine put the Pirates on the board with a double to right-center, and Doda singled home Gunderson the next at-bat. The next two runs were Hornet errors: Salentine came home on a balk, and a KCC fielder couldn't handle Salem-Boman's grounder, allowing the Pirates to come within 5-4.
Hesby looked like he might have his own moment of glory when he smashed a hopper up the middle, but Salem-Boman was thrown down at the plate trying to score from second.
While the game had no bearing on any league or championship, plenty of fans came out to enjoy the game and their last chance for the foreseeable future to catch the Pirates in action.
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