The momentum Forest Lake built in the first two rounds of the Third District tournament turned suddenly as the local American Legion squad lost twice over the weekend and saw its season come to an end.
Post 225 stood two games from a state tournament berth going into Friday’s action. Standing in the way, though, was Burnsville, the second seed in the 20-team event. Playing at its home field, Burnsville steamrolled Forest Lake 12-1.
Post 1700 found some early holes and built an early lead while their top pitcher cruised.
“We were down 7-0 and it seemed like it could’ve been 100-0 considering how they were hitting the ball,” coach Valdie Magstadt said.
Starter Kyle Parker made some good pitches but the loaded Burnsville lineup hit everything hard.
Forest Lake’s biggest chance to get back in the game came in the fourth. They had pushed one run across and had the bases loaded but failed to score again.
Trent Rabel drove in a run with one of the team’s eight hits.
Saturday’s elimination game against fourth-seeded Lakeville North featured a much different start but a similar finish. Forest Lake jumped out to a 5-0 lead. The wheels came off, though, as Lakeville North rallied to score the game’s final 13 runs.
Post 225, which seemed in control for most of the contest, had nine hits over the first three innings but missed some chances to pull ahead by more than five. Starter Noah Brown was perfect through four innings and Forest Lake still led 5-0 after five innings.
Lakeville got to Brown and reliever Phil Sauer to tie the game in the sixth and combined for seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings. They had one hit through five innings but finished with 15.
Meanwhile, Forest Lake’s bats went cold after chasing the starter in the second inning.
“They’re a good team and they hit the ball hard,” Magstadt said. “If we scored a couple more runs there at the beginning it might have been a different game.”
Post 225 started the tournament with wins over 14th-seeded Prior Lake and sixth-seeded Northfield.
Sauer went the distance on the hill in last Wednesday’s 7-4 opening win. Drew Svendsen keyed two rallies with hits while Matt Schmidt and Dylan Dresel had three hits apiece.
Forest Lake overcame a partisan Northfield crowd the next night in Dundas. Jack Schmidt pitched well, reaching the eighth inning, and the bullpen hung on in a wild 6-5 game that rain delayed until nearly 9 p.m. Dresel had four hits and Jack Schmidt drove in two runs with a double in a three-run eighth inning.
Brown pitched out of a jam in the eighth inning and earned the save.
Burnsville and Lakeville North went on to join tourney champion Eastview as state qualifiers.
Forest Lake ends the year at 18-8. The squad won the League F title. It lost Beau Fandel to injury mid-season and was down to 11 players during the second half of the summer.
“We were shorthanded but the kids we had everyday came and were pretty committed,” Magstadt said. “We have a really good VFW group [coming up] and we return all but Matt Schmidt, so there is a nice nucleus of kids there.”