Horner, Gunderson combine to no-hit Eagan
The Woodbury Area American Legion squad, made up primarily of players from New Life Academy, basically had one day between New Life’s Class A state tournament title and the beginning of its legion season.
So a slow start to the legion campaign would have been understandable as the boys suffered a bit of a hangover from its historic success during the school season.
But that wasn’t an issue for Woodbury Area early on, as the squad jumped out to a 4-2 record to kickoff the summer.
“This team has used their state tournament experience to transition their game to the American Legion season very smoothly and has continued to play at a high level,” Woodbury Area coach Brian Palkovich said. “The boys have continued to find the energy and the heart to continue to play competitively, even though they have played a lot of baseball in the past three weeks, which makes my job as a coach very easy.”
Someone who certainly carried his momentum from the school season into the legion campaign was Sam Horner, particularly on the mound.
Horner threw 11 spectacular innings during New Life’s run through the state tournament, and he looks every bit as sharp early in the summer.
Horner and Brady Gunderson made some history of their own last Tuesday, as the two combined to no-hit Eagan in a 5-0 Woodbury Area victory.
Horner tossed the first three innings and walked two and struck out one batter before giving way to Gunderson. Gunderson also walked two and struck out one, but neither give up a hit in the shut-out effort.
On the offensive side of the game Woodbury Area collected 11 hits. Thomas Gunderson, Danny Boatman, Simon Killeen and Horner all came up with two-hit performances.
But it wasn’t until the fourth inning when Woodbury Area was able to plate any runs. That’s when Woodbury Area broke through on a RBI walk by Ben Brown. Danny Boatman drove in the third and final run of the inning via a single.
Woodbury Area tacked on insurance runs in both the fifth and seventh innings, though they weren’t needed with the performances from their tandem of tossers.
Palkovich called the win a “total team victory.”
“Our team came to play tonight, and we excelled in all facets of the game, which helped keep Eagan on their heels from the start,” he said. “Our offense certainly took the pressure off of our Pitchers, and our defense backed them up with an error free performance, which is all a coach can hope for in any team on the field.”
Woodbury Area (4-4) dropped a pair of contests to Mahtomedi on Sunday.
Killeen got the start on the mound in the first game for Woodbury Area. He threw four innings and allowed six runs, though only one was earned. Woodbury Area made some costly mistakes in the field, committing five errors.
Matt Palkovich led the way offensively. He collected three of Woodbury Area’s five hits at the dish and scored a run. Boatman and Johnny McDonald contributed the other two base knocks.
Mahtomedi’s bats exploded in the second game of the doubleheader, as they pounded out 13 runs on 13 hits, though Woodbury Area didn’t commit an error in the field.
Woodbury Area’s bats were held fairly silent, as they only mustered two hits. The lone Woodbury Area run came in the fourth inning, when Thomas Gunderson knocked in McDonald.
Woodbury Area won’t hit the diamond again until Sunday, when it travels to Park High School to take on St. Paul Park.