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New York Mills Eagles earn spot in Minnesota Class 1A state baseball tournament title game

CHASKA, Minn. – For the second straight Minnesota Class 1A state baseball tournament game, a New York Mills hitter stepped to the batter’s box in the bottom of the seventh inning with a chance to win the game.

Thursday night it was right fielder Damon Tumberg. On Friday, third baseman Tucker Skoblik came to bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning against Chatfield, with the game tied at 5.

He didn’t even need to swing the bat.

Gophers pitcher Nate Skare walked Skoblik on five pitches. Eagles star Brandon Kupfer sprinted across the plate to clinch a 6-5 win and New York Mills’ second championship game appearance in program history – its first since 2004.

The Eagles played in the state tournament the past three years, but were unable to reach the title game.

They’re 25-0 this year, and will play New Life Academy (Woodbury, Minn.) on Monday at Target Field for the state championship.

“We’ve had a group of kids that have been here four years in a row now. That big game has kind of eluded us,” Eagles coach Chris Bushinger said. “To get there, it’s a great feeling.”

New York Mills jumped out to a five-run lead, thanks in part to center fielder AJ Wegscheld’s three-run triple past diving Chatfield center fielder Ethan Woltz in the third inning.

Eagles starting pitcher Tyler Patron surrendered an unearned run in the fourth inning. But he hadn’t allowed a hit through that point and New York Mills was rolling.

The Gophers figured Patron out in the fifth inning, though, and started to string together some hits.

Chatfield base runners tried to get something going by stealing on New York Mills catcher Adam Patron, who had a bum finger on his throwing hand.

After four Gophers runs, Adam Patron was pulled in favor of second baseman Dustin Gaudette. And with

Guadette behind the plate, Tyler Patron settled down and Chatfield stopped trying to steal bases.

“You’ve got to clear your mind, have a short memory to get away from those kinds of things.” Tyler Patron said. “I knew that we’d pull through [that inning].”

Brandon Kupfer keyed the Eagles rally on Thursday night with an RBI double and he led the seventh inning off with a single on Friday.

“All I wanted to do was get on base and win the game,” Kupfer said about scoring the game-winning run. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

C 000 140 0–5 8 1

NYM 014 000 1–6 11 1

Skare and Moechnig. T. Patron and A. Patron. W–T. Patron. L–Skare.