Luverne beats Madison Academy twice to take title
The Luverne Journal
After opening the Class 3A championship series with a convincing 9-0 win over Luverne, the Madison Academy Mustangs couldn’t replicate that success as the Tigers won the final two games of the series to claim the state title.
The Mustangs opened the deciding game with two runs in the top of the first inning.
“As the visiting team, if you can put runs on the board in the first inning, you feel like things are going your way,” said head coach Mike Good. “Luverne answered that and put the challenge to us.”
In that first inning, Clayton Palicki doubled to the gap in left-center to score Stafford Booth.
Drew Mobley then added another double to bring in Zach Adams, who was pinch-running for Palicki.
Luverne responded with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, another in the second inning, and one more in the bottom of the sixth inning take a 6-2 lead.
Madison showed signs of life in the top of the seventh, when a double by Booth brought Jared Brinson in to score, but Luverne’s Monterio May didn’t give the Mustangs any more scoring opportunities.
“We were always in the game,” said Mobley. “We played hard the whole time, but they played hard too.”
During the second game of the series, the Mustangs lost to Luverne 16-1 after giving up 13 runs in the top of the first inning.
That was a complete turnaround from the opening game of the series, which Madison won 9-0.
Even though Clayton Palicki struck out for what would have been the third out of the first inning, he reached first base because the pitch was wild.
That left the door open for Madison Academy to capitalize on the mistake, and the Mustangs scored three runs in the inning.
Drew Mobley came through with an RBI double down the left field line, and Ben Seabrook came through with a two-RBI single.
The Mustangs went on to put a run on the board in the top of the second inning, four runs in the top of the fifth and a final score in the seventh to claim the win.
Jared Brinson ended the game as the top run-producer for Madison with three RBIs.
Mobley was also superb on the mound, pitching all seven innings and only giving up three hits in the shutout.
Despite falling in the final game, Booth said he sees good things ahead for the team.
“It hurts a lot to lose, but it’s been a blessing to play here,” he said. “These guys coming up are strong, and they’ll be back next year.”