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Eagles win Saturday morning game to take MCAA title

Henry George throws a pitch during a May 9 MCAA matchup against Legacy Christian Academy. File photo / RiverTown Multimedia

High school students often experience taking a Saturday morning test for college entrance exams.

For New Life Academy's baseball team, players who haven't yet taken a Saturday morning test have a better idea of what it takes. The Eagles (14-5, 9-1) held off West Lutheran, 10-9, in a 9 a.m. Saturday, May 20, game to secure the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association title for a fourth straight season.

"Guys had good at bats and kept battling, which allowed us to come out with the win," Eagles coach Dave Darr said.

New Life Academy broke a 6-6 tie and scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 10-6 lead. The Eagles then held off a rally by the Warriors in the seventh.

"We answered every time they scored runs to cut the lead or to tie the game," Darr said.

Aaron Bouillon drove in three runs for the Eagles while going 2-for-3 at the plate. He also scored three runs.

Mark Morrison had two RBIs on 2-for-3 hitting, and Zach Thor also drove in a two-run double, his only hit on a 1-for-2 morning. Thor also pitched an inning and struck out two batters.

Henry George pitched most of the game for the Eagles with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings. He had some trouble, though, allowing five runs on five hits. He also walked nine batters.

George made up ground at the plate with a 3-for-4 hitting performance and three runs scored. Cooper Falteisek also went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, and drove in a run.

New Life Academy bounced back from two straight losses, including its only MCAA loss of the season. Southwest Christian beat the Eagles 3-1 on Thursday, May 18.

The Eagles mustered three hits and gave up two runs on walks. Thor took the loss despite a six-strikeout performance in six innings. He also drove in the team's lone run.

"They threw strikes and made plays in the field and we didn't," Darr said. "We didn't play poor, we just didn't hit well and throw strikes when we had to."

Bats came around for the Eagles again Saturday, May 20, with 13 hits against West Lutheran. New Life Academy had eight hits in its last two games going into the contest.

"We have the ability to hit the ball better than we have the past two weeks, and I think that has a lot to do with our mental approach when we hit," Darr said. "We have spent a lot of time the past two weeks talking about it and it was nice to see guys respond with the good quality at-bats on Saturday. Even when guys got out, we hit the ball hard. If we can continue those types of at-bats into section play, we can make a deep run."

The Class 2A, Section 4 tournament play begins Wednesday, May 24.