VFW baseball: Post 8752 heads into playoffs on a rollThe Cottage Grove VFW baseball team won all four of its games last week – including a 6-5 win over previously undefeated Lake Elmo in the regular season finale – and is heading into playoffs riding a seven-game win streak.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
The Cottage Grove VFW baseball team seems to be peaking at the right time.
The Post 8752 club won all four of its games last week – including a 6-5 win over previously undefeated Lake Elmo in the regular season finale – and is heading into playoffs riding a seven-game win streak.
Last week, Cottage Grove beat Tanners Lake 20-1, Como Park 9-4 and North St. Paul 16-6. However, the win over Lake Elmo was the pinnacle of the team’s past seven wins.
In the win over Lake Elmo (17-1), Cottage Grove, which is 11-7 overall after starting the season 4-7, broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Leading the way for Cottage Grove at the plate was Lucas Maluski and Jordan McGowan, who were each 2-for-4 with two RBI, along with Dalton Hauer who was 2-for-2 with one RBI.
Starting pitcher Max Bundschu earned the win in the game, going five innings and allowing four runs, while Maluski earned the save – allowing a run in the sixth inning but none in the seventh to keep Lake Elmo at bay.
“It was a really exciting atmosphere and a great game against a really solid team,” Cottage Grove head coach Dave Gunter said. “Even if we would have lost it would have been OK because we played so well. It was a good end to the regular season.”
Coming off a three-game winning streak two weeks ago, Cottage Grove drubbed winless Tanner’s Lake 20-1 as Tyler Thompson threw five innings of one-hit baseball.
From the plate, Thompson helped himself out, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double and Luke Wincentsen was 3-for-4 with three RBI. J.T. Salwasser and Hauer were also each 2-for-3 in the win.
Against Como, the Post 8752 team scored nine straight runs after falling behind 4-0 in the first two innings.
McGowan, who earned the win from the mound, along with Brad Schmit each went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the way at the plate, while Salwasser was 3-for-3 and John Tolkinen was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
In the win over North St. Paul, Tolkinen led the way, going 4-for-4 with four RBI, while delivering the game-ending hit in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Up 9-6, Cottage Grove scored seven runs in the bottom of the six to end the game an inning early.
Last week, five Cottage Grove players batted over .500. On the year, 12 of the team’s 15 players are batting over .300 – led by Tolkinen who is hitting .604 with a team-high 18 RBI.
Cottage Grove earned the No. 5 seed out of 18 teams will take on rival Woodbury, the No. 12 seed, on Tuesday (weather permitting) in the single-elimination round of playoffs.
While a loss to Woodbury, which Cottage Grove beat 8-6 this season, would end Post 8752’s season, a win would put Cottage Grove into the double-elimination tournament and pit the team against either Mounds View or Roseville on Thursday, July 23.
“These guys have really pulled together as a team,” Gunter said. “We’re playing really, really good baseball right now.”