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Babe Ruth baseball: Combines just miss state berth

A three-run lead with three outs to go in what coach Shane Ferrozzo called "by far the best game we played all year" was all that separated Farmington's Babe Ruth League baseball team from a trip to the state tournament.

Unfortunately, Apple Valley had the last at-bat in a back-and-forth battle and plated four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to eek out a 10-9 win in Saturday's championship game of the Southeast Division playoff at Alimagnet Field in Burnsville.

Apple Valley led 4-0 before Tyler Landry came out of the bullpen to post four shutout innings. Meanwhile, the Combines offense chipped away and built a 6-4 lead heading into the seventh. Apple Valley rallied to tie the score at 6-6 and send the game into extra innings, and the score stayed that way until Farmington's three-run ninth.

"A pretty tough loss. However, Apple Valley hit the ball when they needed to and I have to give them credit," Ferrozzo said. "It felt like we were playing our best baseball when we needed to be playing it, but we just came up a little short."

Tony Ferrozzo led the Combines in the championship game with four singles and three runs scored. Landry added three singles and Taylor Bednar came through with a big two-run single in the ninth.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Ferrozzo described the season as a success.

"I am very proud of the way our team performed this season, although it would have been great to earn a spot in the state tournament," he said. "I am happy I got the opportunity to coach a great group of kids who love playing ball. The point of our season was to play baseball and have fun, and I believe we met both of those objectives this summer."

The Combines advanced to the championship by avenging Friday's 9-4 loss to Woodbury with an 8-7 win over Woodbury Saturday.

Woodbury led 5-0 through four innings in Game 2 before Farmington got back into the game with three runs. The frame featured a two-run triple by Matt Rudorfer and an RBI single by Shayne Benjamin.

Matt Schmeltzer's sixth-inning RBI single got Farmington a run closer, then a four-run seventh completed the comeback. Ferrozzo, Landry and Rudorfer each supplied big hits during the rally.

Rudorfer also pitched three innings out of the bullpen to pick up the win.