The #8 seed Cannon Falls Bombers Saturday traveled to top seed Caledonia in MSHSL Section 1AA Tournament action and won 4-2.  It was only the second loss of the season for the Warriors.

The Bombers are the defending Section champions and stay in the winner's bracket.

The first round is do or die.  The rest of the tournament is double elimination.  Hiawatha Valley League teams dominate the winner's bracket.

Cannon Falls will play Monday, 12:30 p.m. at Mayo Field in Rochester against #4 seed Pine Island.  The Panthers dominated #13 seed Randolph 9-0.

On the other side of the bracket #2 seed La Crescent edged #10 Plainview-Elgin-Millville 3-2,  #3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa got by #11 Rochester Lourdes 12-11.

You can see there were some upsets in the opening round of the tournament on Thursday.

Bombers Head Coach Bucky Lindow commented on the Cannon Falls Coaches Show Saturday before the long trip to Caledonia that he could not recall a more competitive section in terms of the quality of #1 pitchers.

Cannon Falls did not have their top pitcher start the Caledonia game but Ryan Hjellming, sophomore, performed like a #1 allowing 4 hits over 6 1/3 innings while throwing 114 pitches, 71 strikes.  Hjellming struck out 8 and walked 2 batters.

Classmate Abram Tennessen finished the game on the hill for the Bombers allowing 1 hit with 1 walk and a strikeout to end the game.

Caledonia had a first round bye so they could go with their top arm.  Their top two pitchers are very close in ability.  Landon O'Heron, sophomore, came into the game with the best record (5-0) while throwing two more innings than Garrett Konz, junior, who has been charged with both losses.

O'Heron's Earned Run Average (ERA) is now 0.378, Konz has a 2.40 ERA.  The junior has thrown 35 innings, O'Heron 37 innings.  Both have 46 strikeouts, O'Heron has allowed 11 walks, Konz 17 walks.  Both have given up 29 hits.

The glaring difference on the stat sheet came to play in the Bombers win.  Stolen bases.  Cannon Falls stole 6 bases in the game.  Jack Meyers, junior, had 3.

Caledonia finished the game with 1 stolen base.

Konz has been pitching when 17 bases have been stolen, O'Heron 5.

The Bombers started the game with a walk by Preston Schoenfelder, junior, on four pitches. Before a ground out by Dylan Banks, senior, Schoenfelder swiped second base.  The junior advanced to third base on the Bank ground out.

Meyers walked.  Aaron Melhouse, senior, stepped to the plate and during the at bat, Meyers stole second, advanced to third with Schoenfelder scoring on a wild pitch. Melhouse struck out.

Jackson Ekstrom, senior, hit a 2-2 count line drive to left for a single that scored Meyers.

Hjellming was probably a bit nervous to start the game.  In the ottom of the first inning after striking out the first batter, Konz singled, Hunter Goetzinger, senior, singled.  Those two runners advanced on a passed ball.

Hjellming struck out the batter and a ground out ended the threat.

In the bottom of the third inning the Warriors got two men on base by being hit by pitches.  There was one out.  Goetzinger hammered a 2-2 count double scoring a run before another hit batter.  The tying run scored on a ground out before Hjellming got back to back infield grounders to end the inning and keep the score tied at 2 runs each.

The score stayed that way until the top of the sixth inning when Meyers opened the inning with a single.  Melhouse following with a single.  Cannon Falls pulled off a double steal before Ekstrom  delivered a single to score Melhouse.

In the top of the seventh inning O'Heron came in to pitch for Caledonia and Ethan Deutsch, junior was hit by a pitch. Following a strikeout, Banks grounded into a fielder's choice and Deutsch was thrown out trying to score.  Meyers walked.  Then there was a strikeout.

After two outs were recorded in the bottom of the seventh, Konz walked,  Following a 1-0 count Tennessen came in to pitch due to the pitch count rule.  A single was struck by Goetzinger putting the tying and potential winning runs on base.

Following a passed ball advancing the runners to second and third base an intentional walk was issued to Ben Stemper, junior.

That put a force out at any base.  Tennessen struck out the next batter to end the nail biting for Bombers fans.

Cannon Falls now with a 11-10 record will play Pine Island (14-8) in a winner's bracket game on Monday, May 27, 2024 at Mayo Field in Rochester.

It was a slugfest between Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Rochester Lourdes in Zumbrota Saturday.

Preston Ohm, senior, led the Cougars with 4 hits and 4 RBI in the high scoring contest.

Z-M had 15 hits, the Eagles 12 hits.

Rochester Lourdes scored 10 runs in the first inning on 8 hits including 3 doubles.

Hudson Ohm, sophomore, started the game pitching for Zumbrota-Mazeppa.  When the score grew to 8-0, Hunter Streit, senior was brought in.  The Eagles got a single scoring a run before the 10th run scored on an error.

The Cougars bottom of the first was a sign of things to come.  Jack Krier opened by getting to second base on an error by an outfielder.  Benjamin Helfer, senior, also reached base on a error.  Preston Ohm produced a RBI single where a runner was out on the bases.  Following a fly out there was another error before a fly out ended the first inning.

Frank Flicek, junior, opened bottom of the second inning with a four pitch walk.  Oliver Liffrig smacked a 0-2 count single.  Two outs were recorded before Helfer was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Preston Ohm walked, scoring Flicek.  A strikeout ended the threat.

Bottom of the third inning started with back to back singles for Z-M by Dane Damson, junior, Hudson Ohm.  Following a fly out Liffrig smacked a run scoring double.  Following a strikeout, Krier hit a ground ball resulting in an error scoring Hudson Ohm.

Helfer walked, Preston Ohm hit a 2 RBI single and scored on a Streit triple that scored two runs

Eagles starting pitcher Brayden Kottschade, sophomore, was replaced by Patrick Streefland, senior.  He was greeted by a Damson double that scored Streit tying the game at 10.

Lourdes opened the fifth inning loading the bases on two singles and a walk.  Streit picked off Jonathan Bergmann, sophomore, at second base.  A walk loaded the bases before a passed ball scored the Eagles 11th run.  An intentional pass was given before a ground out scored another run making it 12 to 10.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa got back to back doubles by Preston Ohm and Streit to start the bottom of the 5th inning.  Jack McCabe, junior, was brought in to pitch.  Damson was safe thanks to an error.  Hudson Ohm advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt.

Flicek singled to knock in two runs and record the game winning hit.

Kaleb Lochner, senior, went to the mound for the Cougars to open the sixth inning and retired the side in order

Two outs were recorded in the top of the 7th inning before Lochner hit a batter putting the tying run on base but he coaxed a ground out to end the wild game

Zumbrota-Mazeppa (13-5) now plays LaCrescent (16-5) at 3:00 p.m. Monday, May 27, 2024 in Rochester at Mayo Field.

In the elimination bracket Caledonia faces Randolph at 4:00 p.m. and Plainview-Elgin-Millville collides with Lourdes at 6:30 p.m. in Rochester's Hudson FIeld.

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Gallery Credit: Elizabeth Jackson

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