Herald JournalHerald Journal, June 9, 2003

Lakers headed to state for first time ever in baseball

By Aaron Schultz

To do something for the first time in a school's history is a pretty big deal.

The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers baseball team did just that by advancing to the Class 1A state baseball tournament.

The Lakers advanced to the state tournament by defeating the St. Bernard's Bulldogs in two straight games, never trailing in the section tournament.

The Bulldogs and the Lakers hooked up in a best of three series for the Section 4A championship at Midway Stadium in St. Paul Tuesday and Thursday.

HLWW won the first game 5-0 Tuesday behind the pitching of senior Josiah Hagemann, who pitched a complete game shutout.

St. Bernard's was eliminated Thursday in the second game. The Lakers won that game 8-6 behind a six-run first inning, and a strong pitching performance by senior Steve Miller.

The Lakers now advance to the state tournament where they open tourney play Thursday, June 12 at 10 a.m. in Jordan against Section 3 champion Wabasso.

The second game of the tournament for the Lakers will also be Thursday at 3 p.m.

If the Lakers win the first game, their second game will be at Chaska. If the Lakers lose the first game, the second game would stay at Jordan.

HLWW 5, Bulldogs 0

In the opening game of the section tournament Tuesday, the Lakers cruised to a 5-0 win.

HLWW got on the board in the top of the first, scoring two runs on three hits.

Senior Derek Swedberg got things going with a one-out single, later stealing second base.

Swedberg came home to score the first run of the game on junior Luke Gagnon's double.

The Lakers added another run in the first with two outs when Hagemann tripled in Gagnon.

It could have been worse for the Bulldogs, as the throw to get Hagemann at third went to the fence.

Hagemann headed for home after the overthrow, but the ball bounced off the wall, and right back to the Bulldogs' fielder, who threw Hagemann out at home.

Two runs were more than enough for Hagemann, who kept the Bulldogs' bats in check the entire game.

The only trouble Hagemann got into throughout the game was in the fifth when, with one out, he walked the bases loaded.

But St. Bernard's was unable to get a run across, thanks to a very nice double play started by second baseman Swedberg, and shortstop Gagnon.

In the game, the Bulldogs managed just three hits off of Hagemann, all singles, and he only walked three batters.

The Lakers' offense made Hagemann's job a little easier by adding a run in the second, third, and fourth innings.

The most exciting run of the game came in the third inning, after Gagnon walked and stole second.

With one out, and Hagemann at the plate, the Bulldogs' pitcher threw ball four to the backstop.

Gagnon hustled around third, and saw that the catcher was not hustling after the ball, and that the pitcher was not covering home plate, so Gagnon kept going.

Beating the throw from the catcher, Gagnon scored all the way from second base on the wild pitch.

While the Lakers' offensive punch, and the strong pitching by Hagemann were major factors in the win, it was HLWW's defense that made sure the Bulldogs had no chance of winning the game.

The Lakers' defense did not commit one error in the game, and also turned two very nice double plays to kept the Bulldogs off the board.

Seven Lakers picked up hits in the game, with Swedberg, and freshman Matt Carlson each having two hits.

HLWW also got the job done on the basepaths with Swedberg and Carlson each collecting two stolen bases in the game.

HLWW 8, Bulldogs 6

The score makes the game sound much closer than it was, as the Lakers clinched their first ever state tournament appearance with an 8-6 win over St. Bernard's Thursday.

The Lakers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first inning and never looked back.

It was one of those innings coaches only dream about in a big game ­ the kind of inning that takes the pressure off your kids, and really deflates the other team.

It opened with Brad Koosman taking a lead-off walk, which was followed by singles from Swedberg and Gagnon.

All-in-all, the Lakers collected four singles, and double in the inning. An inning which saw 11 Lakers step to the plate.

With the big lead, Laker starting pitcher Miller kept the Bulldogs' bats quite through his five and two-thirds innings of pitching.

Miller gave up just three earned runs on the hill, and struck out six batters.

Gagnon came in to pitch relief for the Lakers, and would have had a quite inning and a third if not for HLWW's defense.

For the first time in a long time the Lakers defense was a little shaky in the seventh inning, which allowed the Bulldogs to pull with-in two runs, and bring the tying run to the plate.

HLWW's defense tightened up to get the final out, and the celebration was on.

Senior Tom Bobrowske, Jieles Erickson, freshman Steve Bobrowske, and Carlson all picked up two hits in the game to lead the offensive attack.

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