Monticello may have temporarily dropped out of first place following a Tuesday night loss to the St. Cloud Chutes, but a 1-1 week still has them in contention for a league championship as they enter the stretch run.
Tuesday night, the Chutes, the summer version of St. Cloud Cathedral (the defending Class AA State Champions) beat Monticello 11-1 in five innings.
It was just the third loss of the year for Monticello, who entered the game with a record of 8-2 overall, including a first place mark of 7-2 in league play.
“We didn’t play bad,” said Coach Ryan Nett after the game. “They just handed it to us.”
Tanner Eckhart took the loss on the mound, less than a week after helping Monticello to an impressive win.
Last Wednesday, playing at Sauk Rapids, Monticello came away with a 4-2 victory in extra innings.
Thanks to Eckhart, the game was tied at one all the way through eight innings.
Sauk Rapids touched Eckhart up for one in the first, but would get nothing after that as he allowed just two hits to go against a remarkable 15 strikeouts on the evening.
“They’re a good hitting team,” said Nett. “[Tanner] was just lights out. That’s the best I’ve see him throw, ever.”
He then helped himself in the ninth.
After Michael Revenig reached on an infield single, and Brayden Hanson joined him on base, Eckhart added a two-out infield single of his own to plate Revenig and give Monti their first lead of the game. Tyler Mros, the next batter, made sure it would stick. His double to the gap scored Hanson and Eckhart, making it 4-1 Monticello.
Devin Stein came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth for Monticello, allowing one run but effectively closing the door for the victory.
The Legion team is back home tonight, as they take on the St. Cloud 76ers at Monticello High School. This weekend, they head to Freeport for a tournament, where they’ll see the Chutes again.
“That will be a little bit of a test for us,” said Nett.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at email@example.com