Coon Rapids senior Logan Shore came within a bunt-single of his first no-hitter of the season as the top-seeded Cardinals blanked Maple Grove 5-0 in the Section 7AAA second round game played at Wintercrest Park in Coon Rapids, May 24.
Shore struck out nine, walked one and issued the lone hit in the fourth inning for the complete game shutout for the Northwest Suburban Conference champions and No. 2 ranked (Class AAA) Cardinals to improve to 14-3 overall after consecutive losses to Eden Prairie and Eastview, May 17 and May 20, respectively.
The only hit of the game for the Crimson came in the top of the fourth inning on what appeared to be a sacrafice bunt to move the base runner to second base. Maple Grove’s Jack Kuebelbeck knocked the ball down the third base line and confusion between the Cardinals bench and catcher Anthony Mrosla resulted in everyone reaching base safely.
“I picked up the bunt and was going to throw him about then I hear three and no one is covering the base,” Mrosla said.
Shore and Mrosla worked out of the jam by tagging out a baserunner trying to score from third base and Shore induced a flyball out to centerfield to end the inning.
“He probably should have had [the no-hitter] but we had to score that as a hit,” Coon Rapids coach Jerry Coe said. “But he’s in control, isn’t he?”
Mrosla, who has caught Shore this season said working with the caliber of pitcher like Shore has helped him improve as well. “I am where I am today from catching him,” Mrosla said. “And he’ll tell you the same thing.”
This year, Mrosla said, everything seems to be working for Shore.
“He aquired a slider in the off-season. He developed a slider he can control in the off-season. He pulled that out and it’s his out-pitch,” he said.
As a varsity hitter, trying to judge what pitch is coming and adjusting the bat to meet the ball is a tough task.
“You can’t look for a 93-mile-per-hour fastball and then hit his off-speed stuff,” Mrosla said.
Recording the first win of sections put the Cardinals in a strong position to break through to state once again.
“That win in the first game is big-time,” Mrosla said since the move away from first-round single elimination like in the past.
Coon Rapids left the bases loaded in the first inning, but managed to score a run to score first.
The Cardinal offense made solid contact at times Maple Grove pitcher Tyler Field mixed up his speeds and confused Coon Rapids at times.
Field, a left-handed senior, offered many breaking balls to the Cardinals.
Coe said it was the best showing against Field in four years. “He’s been a tough guy for us to figure out. He changes speeds well and is a command pitcher, doesn’t walk a lot. I thought our guys had a really good approach today, a couple looked alittle funny but most of them were battling.
Recognizing which pitches they could hit and fouling off to stay alive.
Aside from the warmer weather, Coe believes hitting is confidence which is contagious in the dugout.
“It is also two or three guys hitting in the line up and the rest of the guys come in,” he said.
Coon Rapids batters hit the ball hard at times but struggled to convert those hits into runs until the final three innings.
Shore’s two-out bloop single over the first baseman scored Tyler Kelm after he opened the inning with an infield base hit. Kelm moved up to second base on a fielder’s choice by Alex Bothwell and took third base on a ball in the dirt with Shore in the batter’s box.
Coon Rapids hit back-to-back-to-back doubles by Noah Fedje, Cory Page and Jace Hegg with one out in the sixth inning to push the lead to 5-0.
“It helps us to know we have double-elimination and they had to play yesterday. To get that one out of the way feels good,” Coe said.