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Bruins remain alive for state tournament spot

Four outs away from clinching a trip to state, the Brownton Bruins still have some work to do to fulfill dreams of making an appearance in the Class C tournament.
Brownton was delivered a hard dose of heartache in the second round of the Region 7C Tournament on Sunday, Aug. 3, at Lions Park in Waconia. The seventh-seeded Bruins, fresh off a 6-0 triumph over No. 2 seed Watertown one day earlier, were clinging to a 1-0 eighth-inning lead on third-seeded Young America.
Deryk Randt’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly had driven in Seth Schuette with the lone run of a tightly-contested contest. Now, two innings later, black-and-gold faithful were allowing themselves to think about achieving a state berth.
The Cardinals led off the bottom of the eighth with a double, but Brownton starter Bryant Nordby coaxed a pair of flyballs to give the Bruins two outs in paw.
Then, the roof caved in.
An error, a passed ball, a walk and a single later, Young America seized a 2-1 lead before Ryan Grams relieved Nordby and got the Cardinals to ground into an inning-ending grounder. The lead became the eventual final score of the game.
Brownton nearly tied the game in the top of the ninth, as Grant Baumetz singled with two outs and reached as far as third base on a follow-up single by Spencer Glaeser. However, the Bruins were unable to push Baumetz home before a third and final out ended the game.
The loss shrouded an otherwise superb game for Nordby, who tossed 7-2/3 innings of five-hit, two-walk ball with no earned runs and nine strikeouts. Offensively, Nordby went 3-for-4 at the plate with a stolen base. Rosenau and Glaeser also had two-hit games as part of Brownton’s 11-hit contest.
A tough loss to take, but far from a season finisher.
The Bruins remain alive for one of Region 7C’s four state berths due to the events of Saturday, Aug 2. Brownton thoroughly dominated Crow River Valley League North Division champion Watertown, coming away with a shutout victory over a team that defeated it 9-5 in the league opener back on May 6.
Bruins starting pitcher Ryan Grams continued his late season supremacy, throwing a complete-game four-hitter at the Red Devils, allowing one walk and striking out six batters. Watertown put a runner as far as third base only once in the game, but was unable to solve Grams and Brownton for the entirety of the afternoon.
Seth Schuette got Brownton on the board in the first inning with the only run his team ended up needing in the entire contest. Schuette hit a one-out single and went to third on a follow-up double by Mason Goettl, before crossing the plate on a two-out single by Grams to make the score 1-0.
That’s where the count remained until the fifth inning. The Bruins all-but iced the game by hanging a three-spot on the board, with two of those runs coming home with two out.
Glaeser led off the frame with a single and moved to second base on a passed ball. After Schuette moved Glaeser to third on a grounder, Goettl brought him home on a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0.
With two out and the bases empty, Nordby almost innocuously reached first base on a passed ball after he had struck out. Grams made the Red Devil miscue hurt by promptly smacking an RBI double to bring a hustling Nordby all the way around the bags and give Brownton a 3-0 edge.
Two more Watertown mistakes, a passed ball and an error, and Grams himself came in to stake the Bruins to a 4-0 lead that proved to be Mount Everest to the Red Devils.
Both teams moved runners as far as second and third through the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but the score remained 4-0 until Brownton shoved two more runs across home plate via Grams and Randt in the ninth to bring the count to the eventual 6-0 final.
Watertown went with a whimper in the ninth, going down in order to bring Grams’ masterwork on the mound to a close. Offensively, Grams also led the Bruins by going 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Grams figures to get the call to the mound once again as Brownton fights for its postseason life against Carver at 7:30 Friday night in Waconia.
‘In the next “biggest game of the season” for the Bruins, the winner earns a berth in the state tournament, with the loser’s season coming to a close.
Brownton, now 9-11 on the season, also remains alive to win the Region 7C Tournament. A Friday win advances the Bruins to play at 3 p.m. Saturday against either Waconia or Green Isle; a win there puts Brownton up against either Plato or Young America in the one-loss bracket finale at 6 p.m. Saturday.
If the Bruins are able to advance to the regional final, two wins would be required to win the 7C crown. Game 1 is slated for 11 a.m. Sunday morning, and a win there forces Game 2 at approximately 2 p.m.