The Magic baseball team entered the 2017 postseason with a ton of confidence, and plenty of momentum.
Then poof, Monti’s momentum vanished in the blink of an eye.
The Magic, the No. 3 seed in Section 5AAA, were upset 3-2 in extra innings by St. Cloud Apollo last Tuesday before falling 5-2 to Rocori in an elimination game on Thursday.
Coach Cole Deibele called the early elimination “disappointing.”
Adding to the disappointment was how well the Magic had been playing, and for how long. Monti had reeled off wins in 12 of 13 games shortly before postseason play started.
“Everything was just going well. Pitchers were pitching great, fielding was great, and bats were coming around,” said Deibele. “Then the bats went dead and we made too many mistakes in the field.”
In the first game of the postseason, Monti fell to St. Cloud Apollo in an eight-inning game at home.
The Magic fell behind 2-0 in the first inning of the contest, before coming back to score two in the third with RBIs going to Nick Zwack and Ethan Bosacker. But the Magic offense disappeared after that. Zwack, who totaled 13 strikeouts in the contest, kept Apollo off the board from the second through the seventh inning, but in the eighth the Eagles used a hit batsman and a couple of other Magic miscues to move a runner to third base, from where he came around to score on a single through a drawn in infield. Monti wouldn’t be able to find an answer in the bottom of the eighth, sending them straight to the elimination part of the section bracket.
Their reward was a matchup with second-seeded Rocori, who had blown a 7-0 lead Tuesday night against Willmar.
Monti had just three hits total in that game, resulting in two sixth-inning runs, as they fell 5-2.
After feeling like Monti hit the ball well but right at people against Apollo, Deibele said the Magic struggled at the plate on Thursday.
“We didn’t really square that much up,” he said. “We had a couple of times where we put some pressure on them but just weren’t able to get the clutch hit.”
On the other side of the ball, Monti was done in by one bad inning in the field. The Magic made four third-inning errors which led to three Rocori runs and a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Alex Otto got the start on the mound for Monti and went the distance. The sophomore scattered eight hits and four walks while striking out five batters.
“I thought Alex threw really well,” said Deibele. “They’re a really good lineup. He pitched really well against some really good hitters.”
All in all, Deibele said it was a successful spring season for the Magic. He credited the senior class for a ton of growth and improvement that led them from a three win VFW season two years ago to a 12-10 varsity record this year. Same goes to the underclassmen who stepped in from the start of the year and played great baseball. But there’s no question the early exit leaves a bitter final taste from this season.
“We felt so good going in,” said Deibele. “It was just tough. It was heartbreaking.”
Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]