If you were wearing the yellow, blue and gray uniforms, this one stung.
You could see it in the faces of the players as they solemnly sat in the left-field bleachers after their 2-0 loss to Kasson-Mantorville. There were a few tears, as there were from a few parents waiting below the tournament headquarters for their sons.
St. Cloud Cathedral’s baseball season wasn’t supposed to end Friday. The Crusaders were No. 1-ranked, top-seeded and playing the first two rounds of the state Class 2A tournament in their absolute favorite place, the Municipal Athletic Complex’s Dick Putz Field, home sweet home.
“It sucks losing the game right before Target Field, especially when you know you’re capable of winning the game,” Cathedral senior Bo Schmitz said. “But that’s baseball. That’s how it goes sometimes.”
This day, it was Kasson-Mantorville’s Charlie Meyer, a left-handed senior listed at 6-foot-3, 155 pounds, who provided the performance of the day. He helped the fifth-seeded KoMets into their first championship game at 1 p.m. Monday at Target Field.
Meyer didn’t bedazzle any scout with a radar gun. He was just extremely effective, throwing everything around the plate and getting good defense.
“My defense was making plays for me,” said Meyer, who struck out one, walked three and allowed three hits to improve his record to 3-2. “They were there the whole game. They had my back.”
Cathedral never really got anything going until there were two outs in the seventh. Jalen Braegelmann walked. Brindley Theisen singled and when Brady Yoerg’s ground ball to second was misplayed, it momentarily looked really good for the Crusaders.
Braegelmann, however, rounded third and was thrown out on the play. It was close. The call might have gone either way. It went against Cathedral and that was that.
The Crusaders had T-shirts made for the state tournament that talked about winning their 13th state title in 2013.
They have seven since 1977 as members of the state high school league and five from their parochial athletic league days.
“Thirteen in ’13” was a nice theme. It just didn’t happen. Kasson-Mantorville made sure of that.
“They (the KoMets) were hitting some good pitches,” Cathedral senior Logan Schramel said. “My fastball was pretty good. I hung my curveball a little, but otherwise they were good pitches.”
The KoMets had eight hits and made one error. Cathedral played well defensively, but didn’t hit well enough to win.
For longtime Cathedral followers, this loss felt like a little like 2008. The Crusaders won the 2007 state title with a young team and had everyone back the following year, but fell in the section playoffs, never getting to state. There were a lot of tears that day, too.
Bob Karn, the 71-year-old philosopher/baseball coach at Cathedral, has a saying about tough losses. If the worst thing you did today was lose a baseball game, that’s a pretty good day.
For Cathedral, that’s how it has to look at how Friday went down.