Young, old combo carries Patriots

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Owatonna infielder Jack Buswell catches Patriot Alex Brady trying to steal third base during the First District championship game on Monday.

AUSTIN — The Rochester Patriots couldn't have accomplished what they have without their young core. It's led by a couple of maestros at shortstop and third base. A couple of Jakes, actually — Jake Halverson and Jake Dravis.

Halverson and Dravis again played key roles — especially defensively — in the Patriots winning the First District American Legion baseball tournament championship on Monday at Marcusen Park. The top-seeded Patriots made easy work of No. 2 seed Owatonna, winning 12-0 in a game shorted to seven innings by the 10-run rule.

"It really helps to have a couple of guys as good as they are on the left side of our infield," Patriots pitcher Jack Kall said.

But as good as Halverson, Dravis and a bunch more young Patriots are, they likely wouldn't be bound for the state tournament again were it not for their two outgoing seniors, Kall and Alex Brady.

Both came up big for the Patriots on Monday, as they have all season. Kall, pitching on just two days rest, delivered another gem on the mound. The calm, steady right-hander tossed a complete-game two-hitter, striking out seven and walking just three along the way.


He also provided plenty with his bat. Kall finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. The Patriots had 10 hits overall.

"I really enjoy pitching in big games liked this," Kall said. "I like getting the chance to see what you can do."

Brady, the Patriots' rock-steady catcher, did his usual work behind the plate. But he was also perfect with a bat in his hands, getting on base all five of his at-bats. There were three hits, two walks, and also three runs scored by him.

"Jack and Alex, those guys provide great leadership," said Patriots coach Terry Heiderscheit, whose team is headed to the state tournament for the first time since 2009, but for the fourth time in the last seven years. "They are good guys who love to play baseball."

Monday, the Patriots weren't just very good, they also were fortunate. That's because Owatonna did them some immediate large favors.

Owatonna starting pitcher Colton Schock lasted just one-third of an inning. His removal had nothing to do with injury. The all-around standout athlete simply couldn't get the ball over the plate. He walked four of the six men he faced, and also allowed a single. Carter McCauley replaced him and promptly repeated the act. He walked his first two batters.

That made for a wonderful start for the Patriots, and a massive problem for weary Owatonna, which was coming through the losers-bracket. Rochester took those Owatonna early favors and turned them into a cozy 5-0 first-inning lead.

"That makes it easier to pitch, when you get a lead like that," said Kall, whose team improved to 20-11. "It allows me to relax; if they hit the ball a little bit, I don't have to worry about it."


Owatonna never recovered. In fact, McCauley continued the implosion one inning later, and was quickly replaced after issuing three straight walks to start the frame.

As for the sizzling and No. 1-seeded Patriots, they never let up. By the end of four innings, they led 9-0. Zach Schwieters had delivered some big blows, notching a pair of doubles and driving in three runs.

There was no way a team this hot was going to cough up a lead this large.

The Patriots, playing nearly flawless baseball throughout a tournament that they finished unbeaten (4-0), were at it again against Owatonna in the championship game. Once again, that was especially true defensively, where for the third straight game, they didn't commit an error. Owatonna couldn't say the same thing. It had three of them.

"We are playing great right now," Brady said. "This is the best baseball we've played all year."

The Patriots take that momentum into a state tournament which starts Friday at Edina.

Patriots 12, Owatonna 0




Owatonna:Riley Thompson 1-for-3, 1 2B; Owen Carlson 1-for-2, 1 2B. LP:Colton Schock 1/3 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K; Carter McCauley 2/3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 1 K; Ryan Steiskal 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K.

Patriots:Alex Brady 3-for-3, 3 R; Sam Broman 2-for-5, 1 RBI; Jack Kall 2-for-3, 3 RBI; Zach Schwieters 2-for-2, 2 2B, 3 RBI. WP:Jack Kall 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K.

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