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Remembering 2004 Blue Earth - Raymond game
August 25, 2010 - Chuck Hunt
As of this writing, the Blue Earth Pirates have won their first game in the State Tournament, 15-1 over St. Peter, and are posed to play in the second round. They play on Saturday, Aug. 28 against Raymond, in Willmar at 11 a.m. Because the Register goes to press on Friday, details of the second round will have to wait until our next edition, although we will try and have an update here on our website. If they win on Saturday, they will play again on Sunday, also at 11 a.m., but this time in Bird Island. On Saturday they are set to play the team from Raymond, a small city near Willmar. Raymond was an 11-6 winner over Lake Henry last weekend. Blue Earth and Raymond have only met once before, but it was a memorable game, one Pirate Coach T.J. Schmidtke remembers vividly – even though it occurred six years ago, in 2004. It was the State Tournament. The two teams played in an early round game in Jordan. The Pirates were ahead 4-2, and it was the ninth inning. It was looking like a big W for the Blue Earth nine, and they would move on. But, the Pirate pitcher was tiring, and suddenly Raymond had two runners on base. However, there were also two outs. Coach Schmidtke was just contemplating taking out his pitcher and replacing him with a fresher arm, when it was suddenly too late. The Pirate hurler let the ball fly, and the Raymond batter connected with a solid smash. The ball was headed deep to the outfield, and Coach Schmidtke and the rest of the squad in the dugout leapt up and watched, figuring the game was lost. However, Aaron Wendt was playing center field, and he put on the after-burners and sped to the fence. There, he jumped up and flung his arm over the fence, caught the ball, and brought it back in to the field. And by doing so, robbing the Raymond player of a three-run homer, and preventing Raymond from winning the game 5-4. Instead, it was the final out of the game and the Pirates won it 4-2. And, advanced to the next round at State. One of the tournament officials called the Pirates a team of destiny, and said after a play like that, they were destined to win the whole tournament. They did just that, and were the State Champs that year. “It was one of the most dramatic plays in baseball I have ever seen,” Coach Schmidtke says. “And, I have seen a lot of them.” That was in 2004. I would suppose several of the players on both the Blue Earth and Raymond teams for that game are still on the squad today, six years later. What do you want to bet they will think about it on Saturday? I’d say the odds are good...
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