BOYCEVILLE — Commander Peter Quincy Taggart would have been proud.
The oft-parroted movie line of the fictional captain of the Protector, played by Tim “Tool Time” Allen, in the 1999 cult science fiction spoof “Galaxy Quest”, “Never give up. Never Surrender.”, oddly and aptly summed up Boyceville’s effort in its final regular baseball contest of the season.
The Bulldogs refused to do either and instead rallied twice before they were finally able to edge Cornell-Lake Holcombe, 8 to 7, in an eight-inning, non-conference duel on Evenson Field last Thursday, May 28.
“This was a big win for us going into the playoffs,” said Michael Roemhild, Boyceville’s first-year head coach. “We needed a win to get our confidence up.”
The Bulldogs, losers of six straight heading into the regular season finale, found themselves trailing 6-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning after the Chieftains plated three runs in the top half of the inning.
Boyceville, some how, found its way and scored a trio of runs in that half inning, all without the aid of a single hit. Three Cornell-Lake Holcombe fielding errors and a hit batter allowed Boyceville to knot the game at six runs aside.
A scoreless seventh meant extra innings.
Boyceville and Roemhild used their fourth pitcher of the game – Brett Boda – to open the eighth. It was the senior’s first action since he had been sidelined May 7 with a broken right index finger suffered in a physical education class.
Although Boda surrendered a lead-off single and eventual go-ahead run to the Chieftains, he was able to work out of a bases loaded jam without any further damage.
Boda’s effort provide a spark for his teammates in the bottom half of the inning.
Trailing by one run with two outs and no one on base, the Bulldogs pulled off their third and final rally.
Micadin Kahl drew a two out walk. Then Tyler Stroo, James Palmer and Luke Knudtson hit three consecutive singles to bring in a pair of runs for the win. Palmer’s singled brought Kahl to home plate to tie the game and Knudtson’s hit brought Stroo home from second with the game winner.
“I wanted to see all of my pitchers throw tonight since our game (with Cadott) got canceled Tuesday,” said Roemhild.
“It was nice to see Brett come back and pitch for us. He was the boost that we all kind of needed,” added the coach. “James had a great day batting and came up with huge hits! Micadin Kahl had a huge walk for us.”
“Being down one with two outs and nobody on is tough, but I am really proud of all of these guys for never giving up,” said Reomhild.
Palmer had four singles in five plate appearances to lead the Boyceville offense which was out hit 11 to nine by Cornell-Lake Holcombe. Stroo and Knudtson also had a pair of hits in four at bats.
Besides Brett Boda, who gave up a hit and earned run in the final inning, three other Bulldogs worked the mound against the Chieftains. Tyler Stroo started and went three innings and surrendered three hits and two walks and recorded three strikeouts. Palmer came on in the fourth and gave up four runs on four hits before being relieved in the sixth by Hunter Anderson, who walked and struck out a pair in two scoreless innings of work.
Boyceville took an early 2-0 advantage with single runs in the first and second innings.
Micadin Kahl walked in the first and scored on the first of James Palmer’s four hits. In the second, Cooper Boesl walked and the scored on a Bryce Boda single.
Cornell-Lake Holcombe tied the game in the third with one swing of the bat. Jeremiah Reedy parked a Stroo pitch over the fence for a two-run shot.
Stroo would help get the run back in the bottom half of that same inning as he, Palmer, and Knudtson strung three hits together for a run. Knudtson’s single scored Stroo for a 3-2 Boyceville lead.
Again Cornell-Lake Holcombe tied the game with a fifth-inning run and then took its first lead, 6 to 3, with three runs on a pair of singles, a double and a Bulldogs’ error.
That set the stage for the Bulldogs’ late-inning heroics and the victory.
Boyceville finished the regular season 6-14 with the win and were 4-9 in the final Large Dunn-St. Croix standings. St. Croix Central won the conference crown with a game in hand over runner-up Elk Mound.
The Bulldogs hosted the rival Hilltoppers in the opening round of the WIAA Division 3 baseball playoffs yesterday (June 2). The winner between fourth-seeded Boyceville and fifth seed Glenwood City will play at Elk Mound today (June 3). The Mounders, who drew the number one seed, and Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and Colfax, the number two and three seeds respectively, had first-round byes. The regional final will be played Friday, June 5 with the highest remaining seed hosting. Sectional play is set for next Tuesday, June 9 in Cumberland.