Sleepy Eye falls, is eliminated from subdistricts

SLEEPY EYE – The comeback effort came a little too late for Sleepy Eye VFW.

Trailing 9-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Sleepy Eye netted three runs to inch closer to Dassel. However, Sleepy Eye’s comeback effort went for naught as Jake Mielke’s 4-3 groundout ended its season with a 9-5 loss to Dassel in the Northwest Subdistrict in Sleepy Eye.

“Dassel’s bats were the biggest problem for us,” said Sleepy Eye coach Dusty Mangen. “Every time you get a rally going, they put two more up on the board. It’s tough, but the credit goes to them.”

Dassel put up four of its 10 hits in the first inning to put Sleepy Eye pitcher Jon Kopacek in an uncomfortable spot early on in the contest. Kopacek battled, but was pulled after three innings of work.

“I’m the type of pitcher that’s going to try to paint corners more so than blow it past them or throw them with a curveball,” Kopacek said. “We just weren’t getting that outside or inside calls, so I’d have to throw it down the heart and they would just be good hitters the way they are and take them out deep to the outfield.”

In his three innings of work, Kopacek allowed seven hits and six runs while striking out one and walking four.

Kopacek was pulled in the fourth inning for Alex Sellner, who would go on to allow a two-run home run in the fifth. The home run was hit by pitcher Nate Nelson, who drove in Matt Johnson and himself with it to boost the score to an 8-2 Dassel lead.

Nelson got the win on the mound with four strikeouts and one walk.

Kopacek, Matt Berkner, Brandon Helget, Lucas Heidersheidt, Dylan Klein and Jaden Mickelson all had hits for Sleepy Eye.

Berkner had the hit of the game for Sleepy Eye with his two-run triple that hugged the foul line in the top of the seventh. Mielke was the very next batter, grounding out to a 4-3 to end the game and the season for Sleepy Eye.

Sleepy Eye concludes its season with a 14-7 record.

“This is the [most fun] team to play on and I like playing VF ball,” Kopacek said. “It’s going to suck not to be here next year. But we had a good time and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

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