The Grand Rapids baseball team’s season came to an end in the Section 7AAA championship game as the Thunderhawks fell to Duluth Denfeld, 10-3, Thursday at Wade Stadium in Duluth.
Grand Rapids was able to force the decisive championship game by earning a spot in the finals with a 4-1 win over Chisago Lakes Wednesday. The Thunderhawks then defeated the Hunters 5-0 in the first game Thursday.
In the championship, Grand Rapids was plagued by costly errors which allowed the Hunters to score three unearned runs in the first inning, then Denfeld tacked on three more runs in the third and three in the fifth to build a 10-1 lead.
The first inning started with a walk from Eric Gibson, then a catcher’s interference call put another run on base. The next batter hit a ground ball to short, however an error on the throw led to two runs scoring. The following batter, Darren Shykes, connected on an RBI double to push the Hunters lead to 3-0.
Grand Rapids was able to get a run back in the second inning when Alex McBride laid down a sacrifice bunt which scored Wyatt Zuehlke.
Denfeld loaded the bases in the third inning. After a sacrifice fly RBI from Payton Budisalovich, another Thunderhawk error led to two more runs scoring, extending the Hunters lead to 6-1.
Denfeld added a run in the fourth inning on an RBI single from Dane Dzuck. Gibson and Logan Jasper drove in runs in the fifth inning, then the 10th run scored on another throwing error.
The Thunderhawks put together a threat in the sixth inning. McBride and Wyatt Holcomb each delivered RBI singles, but Denfeld was able to limit Grand Rapids to the two runs.
The Thunderhawks loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out, but Gibson picked up the next two outs for the Hunters on the mound to end the game.
In the first game Thursday, the Thunderhawks were led by a stellar performance on the mound from Gideon Beck who pitched six innings, allowing just one hit with 10 strikeouts.
Grand Rapids took an early 2-0 lead after the first inning on an RBI single from Owen Linder, followed by a sacrifice fly RBI from Zuehlke.
Jack Peart drove in a run in the third inning to extend the lead the to 3-0.
Beck continued to cruise on the mound, striking out the side in the bottom half of the inning.
In the fourth inning, Beck and Grant Anderson each had RBI singles to push the lead to 5-0.
Beck recorded his 10th strikeout in the sixth inning and Isaac Gustafson closed out the game in the seventh.
On Wednesday, Ty Karnes led the Thunderhawks on the mound, pitching out of a number of crucial situations with runners on base to pick up the win. He struck out seven batters, while Chisago Lakes stranded 12 runners on base for the game.
Grand Rapids grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Beck reached on an error to start the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Anderson. Linder followed with an RBI single.
After three scoreless innings, the Thunderhawks broke through with three runs in the fourth inning. Beck was hit by a pitch with one out. He stole second base, then came around to score the second run on a wild pitch. Dibb was hit by another pitch before Zuehlke blooped a single into the outfield which scored two more runs for a 4-0 lead.
Chisago Lakes scored its lone run in the sixth inning on an RBI single from Logan Bjorkman. With the Wildcats still threatening to score in the inning, Beck came into pitch and recorded a fly out to end the inning.
The Wildcats put a runner on in the seventh, but Beck was able to shut the door to close out the game.
Grand Rapids finished the season 14-11.