The Mora Blue Devils entered the Eastern Minny North League playoffs as the regular season champions. They were able to back that up by taking the 2019 North League playoff championship by defeating Braham 6-0 and Hibbing 4-1.
Mora opened the playoffs by playing Braham last Saturday night, July 27. Braham had advanced by virtue of a 9-5 victory over Quamba earlier in the day. The pitching of Ryan Van Someren and Asa Patterson kept the Snappers off the board. Van Someren started and got the win going seven innings while scattering nine hits and striking out 10. Patterson finished up with two innings of work allowing two hits while striking out five.
Mora got on the board right away in the first inning. Michael Humphrey was hit by a pitch with one out. Derek Graves brought him in with a long double to make it 1-0.
The lead was extended to 2-0 in the third inning. Ryan Van Someren drove in Derek Graves with a two run RBI single.
The Blue Devils blew the game open in the sixth inning with four big runs for the final margin. The combination of Logan Graves and Derek Graves got the big hits in the inning. Logan Graves hit a double bringing in Hunter Foss. Later in the inning Derek Graves cleared the bases with a triple.
The win propelled Mora to the championship game to take on Hibbing. Hibbing advanced earlier with a 12-0 win over Hinckley. The championship game was rained out Sunday, July 28 and subsequently played Monday night, July 29.
The story of Monday night’s game was timely hitting by Mora and the outstanding pitching of Derek Graves. Graves went the distance striking out 19 batters while only walking three and scattering eight hits.
Mora scored first in the third inning. With the bases loaded and two outs a rare balk brought in the first run of the game making it 1-0.
The score went to 2-0 in the fifth inning thanks to Darin Erickson. Erickson hit a long home run over the right field monster at Brennan Field.
As Graves kept mowing down Hibbing batters Mora made it 3-0 in the sixth inning. With runners on first and third Derek Graves hit into a fielder’s choice bringing in brother Logan Graves.
Hibbing did get its lone run in the seventh to narrow the margin, but Mora got a big insurance run in the eighth inning. Derek Graves picked up his second RBI with a single bringing in Troy Jones.
The wins propel Mora into the region 1C tournament which starts Saturday, Aug. 3, in Hinckley. Mora will play at 11:00 a.m. against East Bethel in the first round. Mora will also play on Sunday, Aug. 4, at either 11:00 a.m. or 4:30 p.m. in the double elimination tournament. Other teams that have qualified are Hibbing, Hinckley, Isanti, Ramsey, North Branch and Princeton.
The tournament will run for two weekends all at beautiful Brennan Field in Hinckley. The top two teams will qualify for the state amateur tournament held in Maple Lake and Delano. For more information go to easternminny.com and click on the region 1C link.