Archive for DEL Sports

CLASS A STATE SWIM AND DIVE: Delano takes second at Class A state meet, Lommel wins diving title

MINNEAPOLIS – All season long depth has been a huge key for the Delano girls swimming and diving team. A season filled with hard work and determination paid off in a big way as the Tigers delivered another outstanding performance as a team to finish in second place at the Class A state meet at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center Nov. 18.

“We’ve placed third a number of years so getting second is amazing,” Delano coach Karen Shallbetter said. “We knew it was going to be really close between us and Mound Westonka/Holy Family. We just kept telling them to move up and move up because that’s what we can do. When you move up a spot or two, those are big points.”

The second-place finish for Delano was highlighted by numerous impressive performances. One of the biggest ones was senior Avery Lommel claiming the state title in diving with a total score of 380.65 on 11 dives.

“I’m so happy right now,” Lommel said about wrapping up her career as the state champion. “This was the end goal and I can’t believe it really happened.”

Lommel came into the finals in third place but came through in her final dives for the Tigers.

“She earned it,” Shallbetter said. “She has been amazing all season. She’s broken records at almost every meet she’s at. She deserves it. She really does. She works really hard and her practices are near perfect. She just nailed it and had it down today. She knew with her advanced difficulty at the end it would give her a big boost and she nailed it.”

Heading into her final dive, Lommel began to feel the nerves. A quick meeting with her teammates Jennifer Coons and Amelia Nelson helped reassure her of what she needed to do.

“I was pretty nervous going into my last dive,” Lommel said. “ I just always go to them when I need encouragement.”

The quick meeting paid off as Lommel delivered in her final dive, claiming the state title in the process.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” Lommel said. “I’m really proud of myself. I’m so grateful for my coaches and my teammates. My family has been huge and I couldn’t do without them.”

Delano’s impressive showings went into the swimming portion of the event as well. The final event of the meet was the 400-yard freestyle relay in which the team of Kaia Georges, Strobl, Abby Gierke, and Hannah Wadholm took second place to secure their runner-up finish.

“We have a really good section so it’s really fun to go up against competition like that,” Josie Strobl said. “Even swimming against our own team all season, that helps our confidence a lot. Our team pushes each other really hard in practice which gets us to where we are right now. We all race against each other so much every day. It just pushes each other every single day. It’s super fun to have that.”

The tough schedule all year long along with the competition every day in practice has been huge for Delano. It’s a big reason they finished the year as the runner-up in Class A.

“They’re very competitive,” Shallbetter said. “They push each other really hard in practice. We talk a lot about how your teammate isn’t your competitor. They’re your supporters. They’re the ones pushing you to become better. It doesn’t matter if it’s a seventh grader or senior, they’re in the pool and they are all working hard.”

The Tigers also had strong showings in other events as well. The 200-yard medley relay team of Norah Seguin, Bella Kern, Abby Seguin, and Strobl took third place with a time of 1 minute and 49 seconds. In the 50-yard freestyle, Georges finished in a tie for fifth place while Norah Seguin took third in the 100-yard backstroke and Strobl finished fourth. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Hannah Wadholm, Lydia Jostock, Shelby Benker, and Georges took third place.

“They did amazing at sections and it’s usually either hit or miss if you can continue that momentum here,” Shallbetter said. “We tapered everybody for sections so we weren’t quite sure what we would get. They dug in today and did amazing. That’s all of them. They didn’t give up. This was important to them and everybody stepped up.”

 Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports 

SECTION 6AAA VOLLEYBALL: Delano rallies to upset top-seeded New Prague in five-set thriller

NEW PRAGUE – There are 14 players on the roster for the Delano volleyball team. Some played the entire match, some played a little, and some didn’t see the floor. The Tigers needed all 14 players though as they came together as a team and put together their best performance of the season in a thrilling 3-2 (25-16, 23-25, 27-25, 14-25, 15-8) comeback win over top-seeded New Prague in the Section 6AAA semifinals Friday night.

“It was a crazy fight,” Delano coach Becca Rue said. “It was definitely a team effort. It was just unreal. We needed everybody out there. Tonight, I thought they all brought it. We have the best bench around. They are definitely the seventh player giving us energy out there. I love these girls. They work so hard in practice. It takes everybody. Everybody accepts their role and they want to do what’s best for the team. They want it for each other and not for themselves.”

Delano set the tone early on that they wouldn’t be an easy out. A convincing 25-16 win in the opening set gave them a 1-0 lead, but the match was just getting started. New Prague would rally in set two for a 25-23 win to tie things up only to see Delano come through with big play after big play late in set three for a 27-25 victory.

“We just had so much energy going into it,” Tool said. “That was it. We just put it all out there and brought our best. Everyone is so capable of doing so much. When we can use everyone, it makes things so much tougher for the other team when they don’t know who we’re going to go to.”

Up 2-1 and looking to wrap things up, the Trojans showed why they were the No. 1 seed in the fourth set An 8-0 early followed by a 6-0 run late kept the season alive for New Prague in convincing fashion. After dominating the fourth set, the Trojans kept that momentum rolling in the decisive fifth set jumping out to a 7-3 lead. As bad as things looked for Delano, they never let up.

“In the set before, we were down a ton,” Taylor Tool said. “We just said we need to get some momentum going. That last set started a little rough but we stayed with it. We just believed in ourselves and it worked out.”

After the Tiger rallied to tie the set at seven, Tool took over the match and gave her team a spark. After back-to-back kills followed by a block, Delano all of a sudden had a 12-7 lead and was looking to pull off the upset. The Tigers would finish the set on a 12-1 run, completing the upset in thrilling fashion on the road.

“What I love about this team is that they never give up,” Rue said. “Even in that fifth set, we were down big. We never lost our composure. They just believed. That’s huge in a game like this. Mental toughness is just a piece to success.”

“We’re almost kind of known for starting off slow but we find ways to crawl back into things and find ways to win,” senior libero Ashlynn Kley said. “We had to get everyone involved tonight to get this going. I’m so proud of everyone on our team because we played our hearts out. We played as a team. We knew we were going to play hard and have fun and leave absolutely everything out there. This could have been our last game tonight so we tried to play as hard as possible.”

Delano came into the matchup with a chip on their shoulder. The Trojans were responsible for ending their season last year in the semifinals but this year they knew it would be different.

“We wanted to flip the script a little bit,” Kley said with a smile. “This is where things ended last year for us. This win just feels amazing.”

“New Prague was that one team that we wanted because of last year’s result,” Corbyn Menz said. “This year was just redemption for us. This is the best team I’ve played on in my four years here. I’m so proud of the girls and it was everything we wanted. We still have more to give.”

The combination of talent and chemistry has the Tigers one win away from the state tournament. All season long they’ve been a tight-knit group and they’ve only gotten closer as they’ve been making their postseason push.

“These underclassmen are just special. They are the most supportive group of girls and that makes our team better. Our energy has doubled from what we had last year. We’re a family. We love each other and give each other everything we’ve got.”

Delano will take on second-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the Section 6AAA championship game Thursday, Nov. 3 at Waconia High School. One more win for the Tigers would have them back at the state tournament for the first time since 2013 when they finished as runner-ups in Class AAA.

“This has been my dream,” Kley said about playing for a section title. “I’m happy we’re going to be there but I’m not satisfied with just getting there. After playing how we did tonight, I think we can give them a run for their money. We want to make it to state.”

SECTION 6AAA VOLLEYBALL: Delano opens postseason play with sweep of Jordan

DELANO – There’s a cliche in sports that it’s hard to beat a team three times. The Delano volleyball team knew all about that.

Taking on the Jordan Jaguars in the first round of the Section 6AAA Tournament, the Tigers knew things wouldn’t come easily as they overcame a shaky start and responded in a big way to pick up a 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-19) win on their home floor Wednesday night.

“We played them early in the season so we knew they were going to have some improvements and do some different things because they knew what to expect from us,” Delano coach Becca Rue said. “We did a good job of serving tough. Our defense was really good and if we get in system, we’re really hard to stop.”

Delano found themselves trailing 11-5 early in the opening set of the night. Coming out of a timeout, the Tigers turned things around in a big way. They scored 20 of the final 27 points as they took control of the match and grabbed a 1-0 lead over the Jaguars.

“I think we just kind of needed to settle in,” Rue said “I feel like we were never in panic mode but just needed to get the jitters out. They knew it was their last home match. They just wanted to do their best and sometimes that makes you a little tight. I thought they did a really good job of relaxing after that and playing Delano volleyball.”

After rallying in set one, Delano kept the momentum rolling in set two. The Tigers jumped out to a 12-3 lead and never looked back to take a commanding 2-0 lead over Jordan.

“You could just see the confidence kept growing and growing,” Rue said. “Even though that third set was kind of back and forth, I just feel like the demeanor of the girls was they knew they were in control. I liked that they stayed calm and collected.”

With the win, the Tigers advance to the Section 6AAA semifinals. Delano will take on No.1 New Prague for a trip to the section title game Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at New Prague High School.

“We haven’t played them this year since they’re not in our conference anymore,” Rue said. “We knew they have something we’re not really used to, which is two lefty hitters. Tomorrow we’ll just make sure we work on a few things that they do. Hopefully, we bring our best game. I really think in this section the top four teams are really strong. On any given night, it can be anybody’s game. That’s what is kind of fun about it.”

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Football and Volleyball playoff brackets released

The brackets and matchups for the 2022 fall sports season have been released. The postseason for football will get underway Tuesday, Oct. 25 with volleyball getting underway next week as well.

The following is a look at the seeding for sections for area teams in football and volleyball.


1. Lester Prairie

2. Mayer Lutheran

3. GFW

4. Alden-Conger

5. United South Central

6. JWP

7. NU Cathedral

8. Cleveland


(8) Cleveland at (1) Lester Prairie

(5) USC at (4) Alden-Conger

(6) J-W-P at (3) G-F-W

(7) New Ulm Cathedral at (2) Mayer Lutheran



1. Minneapolis North

2. St. Agnes

3. Concordia Academy


5. Rush City

6. NYA

7. Maple Lake


(7) Maple Lake at (2) St. Agnes

(6) NYA at (3) Concordia Academy

(5) Rush City at (4) HLWW

(1) Minneapolis North – BYE



1. Dassel-Cokato

2. Watertown-Mayer

3. Providence Academy

4. Rockford

5. Litchfield

6. Glencoe-Silver Lake

7. Holy Family


(7) Holy Family at (2) W-M

(6) G-SL at (3) Providence Academy

(5) Litchfield at (4) Rockford

(1) Dassel-Cokato – BYE



1. Mound Westonka

2. Princeton

3. Orono

4. Zimmerman

5. Delano

6. Big Lake

FIRST ROUND MATCHUPS  – Tuesday, Oct. 25

(6) Big Lake at (3) Orono

(5) Delano at (4) Zimmerman

(2) Princeton – BYE

(1) Mound Westonka – BYE




1. Mayer Lutheran


3. New Ulm Cathedral

4. Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s

5. Sleepy Eye


7. GFW

8. Lester Prairie

9. Nicolet



1. Annandale

2. Watertown-Mayer


4. Kimball

5. Rockford

6. Providence Academy

7. Maple Lake

8. Blake

9. Breck

10. Spectrum

11. Maranatha

12. Columbia Heights

13. Patrick Henry

14. Dassel-Cokato

15. Brooklyn Center

16. Cristo Rey



1. New Prague

2. Benilde-St. Margaret’s

3. Holy Angels

4. Delano

5. Jordan

6. Mound Westonka

7. Orono

8. Bloomington Kennedy

FIRST ROUND MATCHUPS – Wednesday, Oct. 26

(8) Bloomington Kennedy at (1) New Prague

(7) Orono at (2) Benilde-St. Margaret’s

(6) Mound Westonka at (3) Holy Angels

(5) Jordan at (4) Delano

Follow Sports Editor Kip Kovar on Twitter to stay updated throughout the postseason for coverage of your favorite teams. – @Kovar_HJSports 


KOVAR: A look back on the highlights from FDM 2022

When people look back on the 99th Minnesota Amateur State Baseball Tournament, there will be an endless amount of memories to relive. There were memorable moments that took place on the field. There were memorable stories that took place off the field.

It was a tournament to remember for a number of reasons. Despite the 2022 amateur baseball season being over, this sports writer can’t let go quite yet. That’s why I’m taking a look back on some of the most memorable moments that happened in Faribault, Dundas, and Miesville as part of the Class C and Class B state tournaments.

Bird Island outlasts Loretto in the longest state tournament game ever
This seems like a good one to start with. The title says it all.
As I was driving home from Waconia after covering the two games I saw that two of the other teams (Watertown and Loretto) were still playing. The Red Devils game ended just about when I got home, but when I got settled in, Loretto and Bird Island were still playing. I thought it worked out perfectly for me to catch a few innings before heading to bed. I was wrong.

I ended up watching 13 innings as it was the Bullfrogs who came through in the bottom of the 21st inning to finally get the win. The longest game in state tournament history was previously 20 innings. After we got to the 14th or 15th inning, I started to root for the record.

We got the record for the longest game in state tournament history and my amount of sleep took a big hit. The game ended just before 12:30 a.m. At 5 a.m., I was back at work at my part-time job on the golf course.

Chanhassen Red Birds go down in the opening round
There was a consensus on who was the favorite in Class B and for good reason. The Chanhassen Red Birds were the four-time defending Class B champions and looked poised to add another one. The Coon Rapids Red Birds had other plans.

Coon Rapids pulled the unthinkable knocking off the Class B powerhouse. The win by Coon Rapids opened the door for all other teams with the powerhouse out of the tournament early on.

With Chanhassen gone, Class B had a new feel to it as it was literally anyone’s tournament to win. I’m not the biggest Class B guy as all the teams I cover are Class C, but I found myself getting into it more and more as it turned out to be an exciting tournament with the Rochester Royals eventually claiming the state title.
Dumont takes the state by storm again
Last year at the state tournament, the Dumont Saints were one of the darlings of the tournament. After winning a game last year, the Saints became a fan favorite as people anxiously awaited to see what movie they would be watching on their way down to the state tournament.

In 2022, Dumont took the state by storm again but on a whole new level. Not only did they make it to Labor Day weekend, but the Saints were also part of what could be one of the best town ball stories of all time. Two members of the team were in a wedding on the North Dakota/Montana border the night before the game. Instead of driving back and trying to make the game on time, they used a different way to get back in time and it paid off in a big way as they not only won, but both players came through in big spots and had big games in the win for Dumont.

Webster Sox becomes a household name
Just five years ago, the Webster Sox had a 51-game losing streak. 2022 was a different story.
Not only did the Sox make their first region tournament appearance, but they also qualified for the state tournament for the first time in their organization’s history.

The run didn’t end there for Webster. The Sox rattled off a pair of wins to reach Labor Day in their first state tournament appearance.

One of the best parts of the state tournament is seeing new teams make runs. We all know the perennial powerhouses each year, but there’s something special and exciting when a team out of nowhere makes a run as Webster did.

Coming into the state tournament, all I knew was that they were one of the worst teams in the state a handful of years ago. Now they are a legitimate team that has shown what they could do on the state’s biggest stage. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Fergus Falls Hurricanes story
The 2022 state tournament was filled with awesome stories. One story that nobody is talking about is the Fergus Falls Hurricanes. It’s probably because they went 0-1 in the tournament and had their lone game moved to Waconia due to the weather.

The story surrounding the Hurricanes is a great one. Back in June, the team almost folded as they were having trouble getting players to show up to games and sign with the team. The team stuck together through it all though and ended up winning the Region 16 title.

Fergus Falls showed up to their state tournament game with 10 guys and nearly pulled off an upset against the Waconia Lakers. Down 7-0 early and 9-3 later in the game, the Hurricanes refused to go away quietly.
In the bottom of the ninth, Fergus Falls nearly walked off the Lakers with a rally if it wasn’t for a tremendous scoop at first base by Waconia’s AJ Friedrich. Had that ball got past him, the tying and winning run for Fergus Falls would have scored easily and the Hurricanes would have been playing on Labor Day weekend.
I give a lot of credit to those guys for sticking out the season and the run they went on. They were a play or two away from knocking off a powerhouse in Waconia on their home field. Guys who play hard and love the game are what I love about amateur baseball and Fergus Falls was the epitome of that in this tournament.

Weekend No. 2
The second weekend of the tournament is my favorite one. After getting a look at some of the teams on opening weekend, it’s so much fun to see those teams take their shots at region champions on weekend two.
This weekend didn’t disappoint one bit. Of the 16 games in Class C, nine of them were decided by one run and five of them went into extra innings. You couldn’t have asked for better games or matchups all weekend long and the fans were treated to some incredible games. It seemed like almost every game came down to the final pitch and that makes everything that much more interesting.

It’s crazy to think that if you look at the teams that made the Sweet 16, more than half of them could be out of it wasn’t for a play or two late in the games. Nisswa, the eventual state champions, were down 5-1 in the eighth inning before rallying to win the game. Loretto and Bird Island played an instant classic that lasted 21 innings. Watkins and Red Wing treated fans to one of the best pitching duels in the past handful of years. Hutchinson and Bluffton proved that no game is ever over until the final out.

All that happened in one weekend and it was a pleasure to be able to take that all in and be a part of it.

Looking Ahead
As good as the 2022 state tournament was, I’m even more excited for what lies ahead in 2023. The 100th anniversary of the MBA amateur state baseball tournament is poised to be as good as ever and just so happens to be in my backyard with Delano, Dassel-Cokato, and Litchfield combining to host the tournament. Those are three of the top parks in the state with some of the best people in amateur baseball running those organizations. Fans will not be disappointed in what is coming next year.

The state of amateur baseball is so healthy right now and its popularity is at an all-time high. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead next year in 2023. There are some big things planned for it all and I can’t wait to be part of it once again.


Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports

DUNDAS AFTER DARK: A look inside and beyond the longest game in state tournament history

DUNDAS – Despite sitting through the longest state tournament game in history, Bird Island manager Mike Nagel couldn’t leave the field. He knew what he had just witnessed was something special.

The Minnesota state amateur baseball tournament is in its 99th year of existence. No game had gone longer than when the Bird Island Bullfrogs topped the Loretto Larks in the final game of weekend two by a score of 3-2 in a game that lasted 21 innings.

“After it was done, I just couldn’t leave the field,” Nagel said. “Everybody started to leave, and I just sat down on the bench. One of the guys that were there gave me two beers, and I just sat and sipped on them. Mike Ludwig was there, and they turned off all the lights, and I was the only one there. He asked me if I was OK. I said no. I’m amazing. It was the coolest thing.”

There have been three games that went 20 innings in the state tournament’s history. The most recent one came in 2017 when Brooklyn Park topped Elko 4-3. Hector and Stark in 1971 and Cyrus and Fairfax in 1976 played a 20-inning game as well.

“It was one of the more unique experiences that I’ve ever been a part of,” Bird Island’s Tyler Hebrink said. “I’m 30 years old and have been playing since I was 16. I’ve been playing for half my life. There was just something different about last night’s game.”

There were headline moments coming into, during, and after the record-breaking game. The starting pitchers for Loretto and Bird Island happened to be the sons of former major leaguers. For the Larks, Caleb Koskie got the start on the mound, the son of former Twins player Corey Koskie. For the Bullfrogs, it was Josh Kingery getting the start, the son of Mike Kingery, who played 10 years in the big leagues with six different teams.
“It was almost like it was made for a movie,” Nagel said. “You’ve got two former major leaguers with their kids pitching against each other. Our bat boy got Mike Kingery and Corey Koskie’s autographs. He was beaming the whole night.”

Josh Kingery and Caleb Koskie put on a show on the mound, matching each other early on. Then, in the top of the seventh, Corey Koskie delivered in a big way to break a 1-1 tie. Corey Koskie belted a solo home run in the inning to put the Larks up 2-1, a humbling moment for Kingery on the mound.

“I told Josh that you tried to sneak a fastball past Corey Koskie, and he laughed and said, ‘yeah, that humbled me. An almost 50-year-old man turns around on my 90-mile-per-hour fastball and deposits it 50 feet over the fence.”

Following the solo shot by Koskie, Loretto was feeling good about themselves and was just nine outs away from advancing to Labor Day weekend.

“When Corey hit the home run in the top of the seventh to put us up 2-1, I thought that was going to be enough,” Loretto’s Kent Koch said. “I thought we could finish it. I was feeling pretty confident then. I guess we were just getting started, though.”

Bird Island would tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, setting up for what would become the longest game in state tournament history. Both teams had their chances to end things earlier, even the Larks, who didn’t record a single hit from the 10th through the 19th inning. After Kingery’s day ended after 12 innings and 151 pitches in which he allowed two runs with 13 strikeouts, the Bullfrogs kept Loretto at bay.

“I told him I know you think you’re fine, but you’re 20 years old,” Nagel said about taking out Kingery, “We’re not going to ruin your life in this game. You’ve done your job. We’ll take care of it from here. Our next three pitchers pitched nine innings of no-hit baseball. We had a no-hitter inside of this game.”

Bird Island’s Jared Dettman, Kolby Holtz, and Casey Lewandowski did just that. Dettman, the son-in-law of Nagel, also has professional baseball experience playing for the Atlanta Braves organization for four seasons.
The chances to end the game earlier were both there for the Larks and Bullfrogs throughout. In the bottom of the 13th, Bird Island had the leadoff man reach on an error putting the winning run at second with no outs. After electing not to bunt, Loretto worked out of the jam as Bird Island left the bases loaded. Loretto also left the bases loaded in the top of the 16th. After Bird Island recorded the first two outs of the inning, the Bullfrogs walked three straight batters before getting out of the inning and keeping the game tied.

The Larks would have another shot to win the game in the top of the 20th. Tyler Maher led off the inning with a single and moved up all the way to third with one, thanks to a pair of wild pitches. Maher had a chance to score on an infield single by Koch but elected to stay at third. Bird Island would get out of the inning with a pair of ground balls, keeping the game tied at two.

“They had so many chances, and we had so many chances,” Nagel said. “They had (a runner on third) with one out, and the ball was hit at our shortstop. The ball went off his glove, and I thought he was going to score, but he thought it was better to go back to third. There were so many of those types of plays. Baseball is such a funky game. It’s so mental. It’s so much about mental toughness. It’s the little things like that can make or break a game. In this game, there are probably 10 or more things that each team did that could have changed the outcome.”

With the number of missed chances on both sides, frustration settled in for both dugouts. With how late the game was being played, it was tough for players on both teams to stay focused on each pitch and play as the game dragged on and on.

“I moved over to first base towards the end and was talking to the first base umpire, and we were just trying to figure out what inning it was,” Koch said. “I told him I think it’s the 14th, but I’m not really sure. You lose track in a game like that pretty easily. It was basically a one-inning game at that point no matter what inning it was.”

“I was telling people that it was like that Field of Dreams scene where they don’t keep score, and they just wanted to play,” Hebrink added. “It honestly felt like that. There were so many opportunities for both sides. Whenever somebody got one of those, nobody could do it. It just seemed like we would just keep playing forever. It was a really unique situation.”

Koch also mentioned how tough it is to be ready defensively in a game that saw both teams strike out 24 times.

“In a game like that with a lot of strikeouts, it does get tough to play in the field,” he said. “You’re rarely getting some action, and then all of a sudden you do, and it turns out to be a big play. It was one of those games where you just have to keep each other up and go make something happen with the next chance you get.”
Staying focused got harder and harder throughout the game the later it got. As the game went on, so did the pressure each chance a team had the opportunity to deliver in a big spot.

“It’s so difficult to try and stay in the moment at that time of the night,” Hebrink added. “We’ve been playing for almost six hours. How many times did we have our best hitter up, or they have their best hitter up with a chance to win it? It was almost like you were a completely different hitter with that pressure. That added pressure was so much because we’ve been playing for so long that we’re just begging for somebody to end it. It just took forever to get that hit. We were all just gassed. We have been there since 3 o’clock that day. How do you anticipate playing 21 innings? You just can’t. We’d come into the dugout, and there would be a two or three-inning stretch where we had to build up some energy. Every three innings or so, you’d get a runner. It just took a couple of innings each time to get that energy and momentum back after not being able to capitalize on any situation over and over again. We just got completely drained.”

In the bottom of the 21st inning, closing in on six hours of game time, the Bullfrogs broke through at last. Trent Athmann led off the inning by reaching on an error and moved up to second on a single by Shawn Dollerschell on a perfect hit-and-run call.

“In the inning, we scored, we had a guy on first and with a 1-0 count,” Nagel said. “I thought let’s put a hit and run on.”

With the winning run just 90 feet away, Nagel elected to go small ball and manufacture the run in. There was just one problem. Hebrink had other plans.

“Tyler comes up and won’t even look at me,” Nagel said. “I thought it was unbelievable because he knew I was going to do it. He didn’t look purposely because he knew he was going to get a hit, and he did. I really wanted to go small ball.”

Before the inning began, Hebrink knew Bird Island was going to end the game here if he got a chance. He got his chance, and he delivered.

“We got into the dugout in the last inning, and we’re all fed up at this point,” Hebrink said. “I was up to bat fourth that inning, and I told the guys half joking and half serious that if I get up, we will win this game.”

A base hit up the middle  from Hebrink scored Athmann giving Bird Island a thrilling 3-2 walk-off win in the bottom of the 21st.

“He (Nagel) told me after the game he was thinking of doing a squeeze,” Hebrink said. “When I went up to the plate, I didn’t even think about that. Looking back, I absolutely should have thought about that. I was just ready to go. They had the infield in, and he was going to put it over the plate, and I was just going to try to get something to the outfield. In hindsight, I probably should have taken a step out and seen what he wanted to do, but it all worked out.”

At 12:14 a.m., the longest game in state tournament history ended. The time of the game was 5 hours and 36 minutes. There were more than 650 pitches thrown. There were 38 runners left on base. There were nine straight innings of the no-hit ball by the Bullfrogs. There was a major league pedigree on the field and in the stands. There was a little bit of everything.

“When you’ve been in baseball this long, you just respect a moment like this,” Nagel said. “It’s something that might never happen again. This might be my last state tournament. You never know. You just relish the time you’re there. That’s why I just sat there and was so content.”

Bird Island advances to play Red Win on Labor Day weekend following the marathon. Despite playing more than two games worth in one game, the Bullfrogs and the Larks left it all on the field and set a new state tournament record.

“When you play in this tournament, you need some kind of a moment that solidifies you and brings your team together,” Nagel said. “It’s all about that chemistry. This was our game. Whether we win anymore or not, and if we do, I think it’s because of what we had to go through. Almost every team that wins the state tournament has one game they were on the ropes at one point and very likely should have lost. I thought Loretto outplayed us.”

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports