The Blaine Fusion and Coon Rapids Redbirds met for the first time this season in Blaine June 7, writing a new chapter in the storied rivalry. The game was filled with clutch hits, costly errors and timely pitching, ultimately ending with a bottom of the ninth rally by the Fusion to win 4-3.
Brooks Maner started for the Fusion and gave up three runs (two earned), striking out seven in six innings of work, while Redbirds starter Andrew Driessen gave up two runs, one unearned, in 5.2 innings.
Blaine’s offense got going early when lead-off hitter Dan Mossey scored on a two-out single by Sam Alt.
Coon Rapids got on the board in the fifth inning with a two-run home run by Kyle Moody to make the score 2-1. Moody would finish four for five with three RBIs.
The Fusion tied the game 2-2 in the sixth inning, when Erik Scott drew a two-out walk and stole second. Ryan Anderson then walked, prompting the Redbirds to make a pitching change.
Scott was eager to attempt a steal and left before the pitch. New pitcher Kyle O’Shea’s throw to third was wild, allowing Scott to score, but Anderson was thrown out trying to advance to third to end the inning.
Coon Rapids answered when Moody singled up the middle to drive in Adam Wedwick for a 3-2 Redbirds lead.
It came down to the bottom of the ninth for the Fusion. Ryan Anderson reached safely by an error and was advanced to second by a sacrifice bunt by Joe Tupy. Ball four to Dan Powell was wild, allowing Anderson to advance to third.
Tanner Schumacher relieved O’Shea, retiring Chris Anderson on a sacrifice bunt.
Powell advanced, but Ryan Anderson was unable to score. That brought up Dan Mossey for the Fusion, with two on and two out. A wild pitch by Schumacher allowed Anderson to tie the score at 3-3 and Powell to move to second base.
Dan Mossey hit what looked like an inning-ending grounder to third, but the throw sailed past the glove of Redbirds first baseman Aaron Lindstrom allowing Powell to score the winning run.
Matt Mossey pitched three innings in relief for Blaine, striking out five and allowing one hit to pick up the win in relief. O’Shea took the tough loss for the Redbirds.
Weekly wrap-up (June 6-10)
Anoka, 0-1 in last week’s action, took a 10-0 loss to defending Class C champion Isanti Redbirds and were rained out against the Forest Lake Brewers Sunday evening.
The Fusion went 4-0 on the week with victories over Hamel, Coon Rapids, Champlin and the Rochester Royals. Shane Bushland continued his dominant season with a complete game shutout against the Royals, striking out seven. Bushland is now 6-0 in seven starts, with a 0.36 ERA.
Coon Rapids Redbirds
Coon Rapids started the week with wins against Forest Lake and Class A Minneapolis Cobras before the loss to Blaine to go 2-1 on the week. Adam Wedwick went seven for 12, leading the way for the Redbirds offense.
East Bethel Bandits
The Bandits were 0-3 on the week, losing to Isanti, Forest Lake and a close game to rival St. Francis 3-2.
St. Francis Saints
The Saints started with a loss to Forest Lake, before beating the Rum River Bandits 11-2 on Killebrew Root Beer Night, led by Jeff Strom’s five for five night at the plate. They finished the week 2-1.
Chris Walden is at [email protected]