Loretto’s amateur baseball team fell a win shy of advancing to the state Class C tournament by losing to Maple Lake 17-1 last week in the Region 12 playoffs.

The tourney started when No. 8 Loretto upset No. 1 Delano (19-1) 5-3 in 10 innings. Next came a 11-1 loss to Cokato, meaning Loretto had to beat Maple Lake to advance to state.

Maple Lake jumped to a 9-0 lead after two innings and scored five more in the fourth. The Larks were out-hit 21-9 and were hampered by making five errors.

“We were short-handed, missing two starters,” said player/coach Kent Koch. “Bradley Koskie (first base) was out of town and Keenan Hodgkin did not get cleared from his concussion.”

Pitching was also thin. After starter Donny Schroeder left in the third inning, Loretto turned to Jacob Mathiason, who was added late in the season after playing mostly for the Rockford Sr. Legion team this summer. He will be a senior at Rockford.

“It was a tough game to end on when it got out of hand early,” adds Koch. “Maple Lake did a good job getting guys on base and pounded out 20 hits. He had too many errors to overcome.”

Loretto had eight different players get hits, with only Hunter Petron getting two. Other hits were by JJ Strumbel, Nate and Tyler Maher, Koch, William Reschenberg, Drew Van dehey and Tyler Gearin.

“The season overall was up and down,” said Koch. “We started out slow and then picked it up towards the end of the year. It was fun making a run to get into the playoffs and then knocking off the No. 1 seed.”

Tyler Maher led the team in hitting with a .398 average. Brother Nate Maher was close behind at .360. Koch batted .300 and William Reschenberg .300.

Teams advancing to state from Region 12C are Hutchinson, Cokato, Howard Lake and Maple Lake. Hutchinson beat Cokato 10-2 in the title game.

It was Koskie’s first year on the team. The son of former Twin Cory Koskie will attend St. John’s University this fall.

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