It took a near-flawless performance by Sebeka to end the remarkable run by the Menahga baseball team in the Section 5A playoffs.
Spencer Lake and Kolby Kiser combined on a three-hitter in leading Sebeka to a 2-1 win over the Braves in the section championship game at Pierz on Thursday, June 6.
Sebeka, the No. 1 seed in the West, took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning. Walks to Dawson Bullock, Isaac Tellers and Kiser loaded the bases before an RBI single by Noah Steevens and a run-scoring grounder by Mason Dailey produced what turned out to be the game-winning runs.
Menahga, the No. 6 seed in the West, responded in the sixth when Thomas Litzau walked and scored on Nolan Haataja's RBI double.
The Braves managed only two other hits on singles by Litzau and Corey Haataja in ending the season with an 8-14-1 record. Eddie Salmen started and allowed two runs on there hits and three walks with four strikeouts over 4 ⅓ innings. Nolan Haataja pitched the final 1 ⅔ innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out one.
Lake pitched the first six innings, walking two and striking out eight, before Kiser struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh for the save. Sebeka advances to the state Class A tournament with an 18-7 record.
Sebeka, which defeated the Braves by scores of 10-0 in five innings and 11-5 in a Park Region Conference doubleheader on April 18, went undefeated in the section tournament with wins over Laporte (11-0 in five innings), Hill City/Northland (2-0), Nevis (5-2), Hinkley-Finlayson (10-1) and Menahga.
The Braves opened section play by upsetting Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 3-1 before falling to Nevis 11-1. Menahga stayed alive with wins over Hill City/Northland (5-0), Nevis (13-10), Braham (11-1) and Hinkley-Finlayson (16-0 in five innings) before having its playoff run end by Sebeka.
"What a game to be at for the section finals," said Menahga head coach Nick Jasmer. "We knew Sebeka was going to be tough, but we knew that we could play them tough as well. We did have a couple guys on in the beginning of the game that could have been potential runs, but we just couldn't drive them in. I was so impressed (with our effort). I hate losing, but that was a good loss as we fought all the way to the end and just came up short."