The Monticello Legion baseball season came to a close last week, but not before the local nine put a scare into the top-seed in Sub-State 11.
Monti, seeded eighth in the nine-team region, had to open with a play-in game to even get into the double-elimination bracket.
They took care of business in that one, dispatching Edina 2 with a 9-2 victory.
Ethan Bosacker got the start on the mound for Monticello and threw eight innings, allowing just the two unearned runs. Bosacker, a junior-to-be, led Monti during the season with a 1.80 ERA, and struck out 41 batters while walking just eight in 32.67 innings.
“He did a really nice job,” said coach Ryan Nett. “I feel like he kind of took the next step [this summer].”
Offensively Monti was led by Mitch Bjellos and Carsten Scherber, as they each picked up three hits in the contest.
Scherber turned in a strong summer season for Monticello, finishing second on the team with a .310 batting average.
Nett said he also was willing to play wherever Monti needed him. At various times this season, Scherber played left field, right field, and second base. One game Monti was desperate for a catcher, and Scherber volunteered – doing a solid job, according to Nett. Another day, playing their 18th inning of the day, Monti was hard up for pitching. Scherber volunteered, giving Monti three good innings.
“Carsten did a phenomenal job this year,” said Nett. “He’s just a great team kid, and the guys look up to him.”
The 9-2 victory set Monti up for a showdown with Maple Grove, the top seed in Monti’s region. Maple Grove entered the contest with a 19-3 record on the season and a University of Minnesota commit on the roster. Monti entered without much to lose.
“We were definitely the underdogs, but the guys didn’t play like it by any means,” said Nett. “I was definitely pleased with how the guys played.”
Monti fell behind early, but hung tough throughout. Trailing 4-0 into the sixth, Monti finally found some offense. The visitors scored twice in the sixth and once more in the seventh. Trailing 5-3 in the eighth they threatened once more but a Maple Grove defensive gem robbed Monti of a run scoring hit and extinguished Monti’s final threat.
Alex Otto got the start on the mound for Monti and completed seven and two thirds innings before hitting his pitch limit.
“Alex threw about as well as he could possibly throw,” said Nett. “He battled.”
Blackstone paced Monti’s offense with two hits in the contest. It was a similar story to all season, as Blackstone led the team with a .365 batting average during the regular season.
“Tommy had a really nice summer,” said Nett.
Following the loss to Maple Grove, Monti played an elimination game against Elk River, falling 6-2. Hunter Kisner got the start in the ballgame with Jace Pribyl throwing three scoreless innings of relief.
Nett said that Kisner was another kid who impressed him this summer.
“Hunter had a really nice summer pitching against some really quality teams,” said Nett. “He stepped up in some big spots and always gave us a chance to win.”
Bosacker had two hits in the contest for Monti.
Monti finished the year with a record of 6-10-1, but to Nett, that isn’t the biggest takeaway.
“Win or lose, we go out and compete and play pretty good baseball – you have to be proud of that,” said Nett, pointing out that almost every single one of the losses came down to the final couple of innings.
“You have to buy into ‘did we get better during the course of the year?’” Said Nett. “And I believe we did.”
Contact Clay Sawatzke at firstname.lastname@example.org