H.S. workhorses duel in Minnesota
Starters combine for 405 pitches in 13-inning game
If Lars Anderson has a reserve tank, today may be a good day to go to it.The right-hander for Warroad (Minn.) High School could be back on the mound -- four days after a 201-pitch effort to advance his school in the state playoffs. Anderson's 13-inning performance in Saturday's 5-3 victory over defending section champion Thief River Falls was remarkably matched by his mound foe. Thief River Falls lefty Cody Conners made 204 pitches in 11 innings. Anderson, who has no plans to play ball in college, and will attend the University of Minnesota on an academic scholarship, fanned 18. Conners' plans aren't determined, but some in the area consider him a Division II college possibility. He struck out 21. So this is why the seventh day is for rest. On the same sixth day, the University of Texas' Austin Wood delivered 169 pitches in 12 1/3 no-hit innings of the Longhorns' 25-inning victory over Boston College. Wood was taken in a later round of last year's First-Year Player Draft, and will again be a 2009 choice in next week's Draft. Anderson and Conners are not such prospects; no Major League team has dossiers on them. Doesn't matter. They toe the rubber for the purity of the experience, unconditional joy. As Anderson told the Grand Forks (N. D.) Herald afterwards, "It was the most fun I've ever had playing baseball." No wonder. Told by his coach after leaving the mound in the top of the 13th that his day had ended, Anderson made sure the game would, too. He hadn't gone that far for a no-decision: With two outs in the bottom of the 13th, he struck a two-run, walk-off home run -- only his second of the season. "Just icing on the cake," Anderson said, and speaking of icing ... "I had some pretty good advice from one of the coaches to ice [my arm] for two hours," Anderson recalled on Tuesday, while preparing for the next game. He also told the Herald, "I haven't thrown any yet. I have practice right now, though, and we'll see how that goes." Anderson's father, Paul, appeared even more exhausted by Saturday's game in Warroad, too worn out to even rejoice over his son's game-winner. "I didn't even pump my fist," Paul Anderson told the Herald. "He really showed courage and determination. I was just relieved." Unlike, he might have added, his son, who handled all 13 innings by himself.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.