The Minnesota Blizzard Elite team took 3rd Place going 4-1 this past weekend at Perfect Game's Kernels Foundation Championship in Cedar Rapids coming on the heals of Blizzard's 13u Championship at the CIS Global State in Des Moines, Iowa.
This was the third consecutive year that the Minnesota Blizzard have finished in the top 3 at this tournament - one of the top events in the Midwest - and a qualifier for the World Championships in Jupiter, FL. In 2016, the Blizzard won the tournament over the Nebraska Prospects and in 2017, they finished Runner-Up to Cangelosi Sparks.
Heading into the final day, the Blizzard had given up one earned runs behind stellar performances by Trent Schoeberl (Minnesota commit) and Sean Barnard (Iowa Commit in Game 1 winning 3-2.
But Game 2 of bracket play almost never happened as the Blizzard were down 2-1 with 2 outs and 2 strikes before Jakob Kouneski (uncommitted, 2019 Minneapolis SW) hit a 2-run double to advance the Blizzard into the round of 32.
||Jakob Kouneski vs. Century JC
"Being down two strikes with two outs knowing that the game the the rest of the tournament was in my hands I knew that I had to pull through," Kouneski said. "When I got that hit I knew we got over the hump and we had something special rolling."
Game 2 (round of 32) saw Will Frisch (Oregon State commit) and Ryan Sleeper (UNC commit) give up one hit winning 8-0 over Iowa Select Black.
Game 3 (round of 16) Ben Pederson (Missouri commit) gave a strong start leading the Blizzard over 2019 Gamers 6-1.
Game 4 (round of 8) Will Roguske gave his top performance of the year throwing a complete game over the Northern Knights.
Game 5 That set up a rematch of 2017's championship day vs. the Cangelosi Sparks which saw ace Drew Gilbert (Oregon State) throw a gem striking out 7 but lost 4-0 to the eventual back to back champs.
Despite not winning the tournament, the Blizzard got a bid to the Perfect Game World Championships Oct. 18-21st in Jupiter, Florida at the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins Spring Training Complex.
"When we found out that we got a bid to Jupiter," catcher Kouneski said. "It was a really good feeling of accomplishment for us especially when you are so close to being eliminated."
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