|Paynesville Press - August 14, 2002|
Player recounts historic season
There was one foot of snow melting outside, and coach said practice tomorrow. We had practice every night after school from then on.
The team even went the extra mile and came to school early to hold practice.
One thing about practice that coach stressed was our pitching. So, if you were a pitcher, you were supposed to work harder than the rest of the team, even though that sometimes didn't happen.
The day it did happen, however, was Saturday. Every Saturday, the pitchers held practice with the catchers to work on pitches.
After practice came the games, and after the first games came more practice. As those who follow the Bulldogs closely well know, we had a rough start. This is what shaped the team into what it became.
What pulled us through the beginning was the attitude of everyone on the team. No one despaired about the fact that we were not winning, because we were playing well against the tough teams in our section.
This became clear when we entered a tournament in Orono. Winning one of the two games against a Class AAA team was one of the turning points of the season.
After that we started playing our best ball and the wins started to come. It was a blast seeing the team start to play baseball the way it should be played. Best of all, we were playing our best ball going into the playoffs.
We went right through the subsection playoffs and into the section tournament. Section playoffs were set in a double-elimination format. In the sections, we lost a terrible game to Waconia; however, we battled our way back into the championship, where we faced Waconia again.
That turned out to be a great night if you were a Bulldog fan. The crowd erupted after we beat them twice in order to clinch the section championship, placing our team in the PAHS record book as the first baseball team to advance to the state tournament.
When we entered the tournament, we made a few teams take a second look at the team they had looked past during the season. They now wanted to see what we could do.
After our first game (a loss), there were a few doubts as far as if we would be happy just making it to state. The one thing our coaches took pride in was our never-say-die attitude, and we came back to win our second game at state, placing us in the consolation championship against the defending state champs and former #1 ranked team in the state, our conference rival St. Cloud Cathedral.
Our record this year against Cathedral was tied at one win apiece, with the championship game serving as the tiebreaker.
We went in there ready to play, and it showed, as we took the lead and never gave it back, winning 13-5. So ended the best year PAHS baseball has ever seen.
Scott Buermann, a 2002 PAHS graduate, played on the Bulldogs baseball team that took fifth place at state in Class AA in June.
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