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Heritage Christian throws New Life its first loss

WOODBURY — In a meeting of Eagles, Heritage Christian Academy and ace pitcher Seth Halvorsen had just enough, just enough, to hand New Life Academy its first loss of the season Monday.

The visiting Heritage Christian Eagles scored a run in the top of the seventh inning to claim a tense 4-3 victory over the host New Life Eagles at the Health East Sports Center.

New Life senior Zach Thor ripped a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh to give the Eagles hope, but that was it for New Life as the next batter failed to advance Thor.

It was the first loss of the season for New Life Academy, which opened the season on an 8-0 streak. Heritage Christian won its ninth straight after a season-opening loss to Duluth Denfield.

Heritage Christian took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, but the Eagles bounced right back, scoring two runs of their own to knot the game heading into the fourth inning. New Life combined a wild pitch, a stolen base, a passed ball and a double to get on the scoreboard in the third.

Both teams then added a run in the fifth to send the game tied at 3-3 heading into the seventh.

Halvorsen — bound for the University of Missouri on a baseball scholarship — went five innings and consistently threw the ball by the host Eagles. He struck out a whopping 15 New Life batters, but still allowed three runs to the enterprising Eagles. Taylor Brodersen came in for the last two innings and also pitched well, striking out four and allowing just Thor's double in the seventh.

"Overall we played OK," said New Life head coach Dave Darr. "We battled. We got behind two-nothing in the third inning and came back and tied it up in the bottom half of the third and we battled. I think there were a couple plays that we didn't make that I think we could have. I think that ultimately ended up giving them a couple of runs. But that's how it is. It was a good high-school ballgame."

"Those guys, I think, have a really good chance of going to the state tournament," Darr added. "A one-run ballgame, there's no harm in that against probably the best pitcher in the state of Minnesota. We showed a few guys that they could hit him. Hopefully that instills a lot of confidence that if we can hit that we can hit somebody else that doesn't throw 95 miles an hour. Other teams when they're down 2-nothing to him could have just sulked and OK, aw, shoot. But they came back right away and we had some guys get on base and they hit the ball and it was good to see that."

Heritage Christian out-hit the Eagles 10-4.

Thor was 2-for-4 with two doubles but most of the rest of the Eagles were sent down mostly quietly. Riley Grohn and Colin Quirk had New Life's only other hits.

Thor also relieved starter Peter Bouillon on the mound after one inning. Thor pitched six inning, allowed 10 hits but only three runs. He struck out 10 and walked two.