The Mora Blue Devils concluded the final chapter of their nameless baseball field with a 2-0 win over the Quamba Cubs on Sunday, July 18. The final game fans and the ball field experienced was dominated by two of the best pitchers the Eastern Minny has to offer; Derek Graves and Chase Oslin.
A combined 21 total strikeouts were thrown, not because the hitters are not good enough, but because Derek Graves and Chase Oslin are great at what they can do on the mound. Each locate fastballs in the mid 80s, and each compliment their velocity and precision with exceptional breaking balls. Their high velocity and mix of speeds make it very hard on opponents. Their presence on the mound exudes confidence and fight.
Derek Graves is allowing 1.85 runs per nine innings and Chase Oslin is allowing 1.36 runs per nine innings. This gives Oslin the fourth best ERA and Derek the fifth best ERA in the Eastern Minny League.
Their pitching dominance provided a great spectacle for baseball fans who love solid pitching. Both Graves and Oslin threw every inning for their prospective teams throughout the game, and neither gave up an earned run. Graves collected 11 strike outs in nine innings and Oslin punched out 10 Blue Devil hitters in eight innings. That quality of pitching boiled it down to who had the better defense and who could play small ball the best.
The game was tied at 0-0 after the first two innings. In the third inning, Oslin struck out Erik Raivo to get the first out, giving him and Graves four strikeouts each while not allowing any hits up to that point.
The narrative soon changed as Logan Graves collected his first single of the game. He stole second base before Michael Humphrey walked and Derek Graves was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Byrce Norby struck out looking for the second out, but good things happen when the ball is put in play. Darin Erickson hit a grounder to short that resulted in a Cubs error. Everyone was safe and Logan came across the plate for the game’s first run. Oslin struck out Ryan VanSomeren to prevent Mora from doing anymore damage.
The Cub’s catcher Kevin McFerran collected a base knock in the fourth, but two flyouts and a strikeout that inning prevented McFerran from even reaching second base.
The bottom half of the fourth inning started out with Blue Devil catcher, James Woolhouse, reaching base via another Cub’s error. Courtesy runner, Nolan McGaw, entered the game and advanced to second base with a Mike Schnabel sacrifice bunt. Oslin got the second out of the inning by a ground ball that was hit to him. He completed the throw to first base, gaining momentum back in the Cub’s favor; however, Logan Graves, who is hitting .444 on the year (fourth best batting average in the Eastern Minny), hit an RBI single to make the game 2-0. He would steal second base again before a ground out to third base would end the inning.
A base hit by Quamba’s Zach Gottfredson in the sixth inning would be the only other base runner either team would get. Derek Graves completed the two hit shutout, giving the Blue Devils their second victory over the Cubs this season.
Mora Coach Jay Pautzke said, “This was the last game ever on our current field. I’m glad it was these two teams who got to play the field’s final game because so many players, past and present, made so many memories here.”
Baseball has been played on the current field since 1993. The Quamba vs Mora game on Sunday completed a special era in Mora’s 2-0 win over Quamba. A new lighted field is on the distant horizon.
Mora Athletic Director, Kris Osterdyk said, “Everything is on track.” She and other school administrators receive weekly updates from project manager Evan Johnson from ICS. Barring any setbacks, baseball games will resume on the new baseball field for the 2023 season. Site grading began for the new varsity baseball field Monday, July 19, the same day the current, “old” field began deconstruction.
While the school and field are being built, the Mora High School varsity baseball team will play their home games at Peterson Field in Quamba. As for the Mora Blue Devils, Jay Pautzke said, “That is still being ironed out. I am hopeful we can play our home games at Peterson Field in Quamba.”