The Iowa State Champions, reigning from Manchester, IA and the Minnesota State Champions, from Baxter, MN, battled Sunday night at Chicago Field. Pitching and defense led the charge in this game as Minnesota was victorious 4-2.
Even though Iowa scored first, Minnesota’s pitchers were stellar and their defense backed them up. Starting pitcher, Cayden Brown, dominated on the mound. Through 2 1/3 innings, Brown allowed three hits, zero earned runs, and struck out six. Isaac Hanson came in to relieve Brown. Hanson continued right where Brown left off. Hanson pitched 2 1/3 innings and struck out three, allowed four hits, and one earned run. To close the game, Mitchell Brau came in to replace Hanson. Brau continued the domination on the mound. Through 1 1/3 innings, Brau allowed three hits and zero earned runs.
For Iowa, second baseman, Brent Yonkovic, contributed the lone runs. In the top of the first, Yonkovic put Iowa on the board early with an RBI single to right. In the fifth inning, Yonkovic smoked a double to right and batted in the final run for Iowa.
Going 2-3 with a double, single, and two RBI, Yonkovic was also named player of the game for Iowa.
On the offensive side for Minnesota, in the bottom of the first, Brown connected with a solo homerun to tie the game at 1-1. Minnesota tacked on two more runs from Isaac Hanson. Hanson smoked a fly ball to right center that ended up stuck in the ivy for a ground rule double. Hanson pushed Minnesota’s lead to 3-2. In the bottom of the fifth, Minnesota scored their final run of the game by Gavin Berg. Berg made solid contact with the ball and ripped a ground ball RBI single.
For Minnesota, Brown was named player of the game. To add to his great performance on the mound, Brown went 1-2 with a solo homerun, walk, and an RBI.
Iowa managed to out hit Minnesota ten to seven, but the great defensive play by Minnesota held Iowa to only two runs. Minnesota turned two ending-inning double plays which prevented runners to score. Ultimately, these double plays contributed significantly to Minnesota’s victory.
Minnesota begins bracket play Monday morning at 10:00 AM on Detroit Field against a very good Ohio Valley team. Iowa begins their consolation journey against a talented New Zealand team Monday afternoon at 12:30 PM on St. Louis Field. Minnesota seeks to keep their momentum going as Iowa looks to rebound and earn their first victory in the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series.