On the Bench with Byron Higgin
It would be hard to imagine a more satisfying win than the 10-7 victory by the Minneota Mudhens Saturday over the Chokio Coyotes.
Chokio has been in the state tournament the last two years and made a little run last year behind pitcher Nick Hervin.
But Saturday the Mudhens rattled off 19 hits off Hervin and reliever Kyle Athey. They drove Hervin off the pitching mound with a 10-0 deficit.
Chokio is too good a team and they came roaring back with seven runs, but the Mudhens held on.
During the win, they had seven runs on seven hits in the fifth inning. It was one of those times when everything the Mudhens hit fell in safely.
It was hard to believe. Turned out they needed every one of them.
After taking a 10-0 lead I had visions of a shortened game due to the 10-run rule. But while I hoped it, I knew Chokio wasn’t quite done yet.
Although they traveled to Ortonville and lost a pitcher’s battle, 3-1, the win over Chokio was very important.
If the Mudhens can beat winless Appleton in their final conference game, it will assure them of a top-four finish in the Land O’Ducks League and that means they would avoid the first round of playoffs.
The top four are seeded for the Section Tournament. It appears Ortonville will be first and Dumont second.
Four teams are tied for third, but Minneota has beaten two of them — Rosen Express and Morris Eagles.
So the Mudhens and the Clinton Cards would be seeded.
After last Saturday, Adam Durfee leads the Mudhens with a .439 batting average.
He has four home runs, 16 runs and 14 runs batted in. Jake Leighton is hitting .381 and leads the team with 18 runs scored.
Other top averages are: Henry Pesch .324; Austin Buysse .317; Preston Nuy .265 and Beau Buysse .258.
On the mound, Danny Hennen is 3-0 with a 3.28 earned run average.
He’s struck out 47 batters. Zach Nuy is 4-1 at 3.36; Bryce Gorder 0-0 with a 1.18 ERA and has 21 strikeouts in just 15.2 innings of pitching.
ODDS & ENDS:
•In case you’re looking ahead, the Defending State Champion Minneota Vikings football team opens the season Thursday, Aug. 30 at Sleepy Eye, then travels to Dawson for the annual rivalry game with the Blackjacks.
They are home against Canby; at Granite Falls against Yellow Medicine East; host Ortonville and Springfield, travel to Lakeview and host Lac qui Parle Valley in the final regular season game. Minneota football players are lifting weights this summer in both Minneota and Ivanhoe.
Players from Ivanhoe normally use the weight room at the Ivanhoe Elementary School.
•The Minneota Volleyball Team, fresh off a state runner-up finish, will host their own scrimmage on Thursday, August 16 with Canby, Central MN Christian, Lakeview, Luverne, MACCRAY, Pipestone and Worthington attending — pretty much the same as last year.
They open the season in the State Volleyball Showcase on Saturday, August 25 against Rush City, MN.