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2024 Baseball State Tournament: Semifinal Recap

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2024 - 6:54 PM

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Four sets of pairings in the Minnesota State High School League’s Prep Baseball Championship Series are set for Monday, June 17 at Target Field. Semifinals in four enrollment classes were played at four sites on Friday, June 14, and stunning developments occurred. 

All four of the top seeds lost in the semifinals: Wayzata in Class AAAA, Benilde-St. Margaret’s in Class AAA, Esko in Class AA and Cherry in Class A did not take that final step into a state championship game. Three No. 4 seeds and one No. 5 earned a spot in a championship game. 

Here is a look at the championship schedule:

Class A

  • No. 2 Parkers Prairie (25-1) vs. No. 4 Springfield (24-2), 10 a.m.

Class AA

  • No. 2 Rockford (25-5) vs. No. 4 Foley (23-4), 1 p.m.

Class AAA

  • No. 3 Mahtomedi (22-4) vs. No. 4 Totino-Grace (18-8), 4:30 p.m.

Class AAAA

  • No. 3 East Ridge (20-6) vs. No. 5 Mounds View (20-8), 7:30 p.m.

Here is a look at Friday’s semifinals:

Class A

  • No. 2 Parkers Prairie 7, Sacred Heart 1: Junior shortstop Nolan Steidl hit a two-run double down the left field line in the first inning to set the tone for Parkers Prairie (25-1) in its semifinal victory over Sacred Heart 20-4) at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud. He later added an RBI single in the second inning and scored a run in the fifth inning. The Panthers, making their fourth state tournament appearance, are in a Class A championship game for the third time. In 2016, Parkers Prairie was the Class A runner-up, and a year later, won its first championship.
  • No. 4 Springfield 4, No. 1 Cherry 2: Junior first baseman Noah Neperman had a two-run single in the fifth inning to give Springfield (24-2) a two-run advantage, a margin the Tigers (24-2) wouldn’t surrender in an upset victory over top-seeded Cherry. Springfield was the Class A runner-up in 2015 and the champion in 2016. Springfield is on a 15-game winning streak. 

Class AA

  • No. 2 Rockford 7, LeSueur-Henderson 3: Junior pitcher Aiden Smith hit a two-run home run to left centerfield in the bottom of the first inning and junior third baseman Patrick Binnebose added a two-run RBI in the fourth inning to help pave the way for the Rockets (25-5) in their victory over the Giants (20-6) at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud. On the mound, Smith gave up just three hits and struck out eight. The Rockets are on a seven-game winning streak entering their first appearance in a baseball state championship game. 
  • No. 4 Foley 4, No. 1 Esko 0: Foley completed the championship game pairing with a shutout of top-seeded Esko, the defending Class AA champion. The Falcons (23-4) manufactured two runs in the first inning and another in the second to set the pace for their first trip to a baseball state championship game. Senior catcher Josiah Petersen was 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI. 

Class AAA

  • No. 3 Mahtomedi 5, Grand Rapids 3: Mahtomedi (22-4) built a three-run lead after the first inning and sustained the advantage throughout en route to a victory over the Thunderhawks (17-9) in the semifinals at Chaska Athletic Park. Junior center fielder Ethan Felling, senior first baseman Jack Erickson and senior pitcher Max Strecker all had early RBIs to help send the Zephyrs to the Class AAA championship game for the fourth time since 2016. In that span, Mahtomedi was the runner-up in 2016 and champions in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Grand Rapids loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning with one out and trailing 5-2, but were able to push just one across with a sacrifice fly. 
  • No. 4 Totino-Grace 2, No. 1 Benilde-St. Margaret’s 0: Totino-Grace continued its late-season surge with its biggest victory in a 15-game span, a 2-0 blanking of top-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the second semifinal at Chaska Athletic Park. Junior second baseman Colin Blake had an RBI single to left field in the two-run third inning and junior designated hitter Tommy Heifort added another run with a sacrifice fly to not only send the Eagles (18-8) to their 14th victory in the past 15 games, but also to a baseball championship game for the first time in program history. Junior pitcher Jake Rantz gave up just three hits to the Red Knights (21-4) and relied on a defense that recorded 15 flyout outs and four groundball outs. 

Class AAAA

  • No. 3 East Ridge 10, Forest Lake 1: East Ridge (20-6) took another step toward a potential state title defense with a convincing victory over Forest Lake (14-12) at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. Senior infielder Luke Skinner had three hits and senior third baseman Alexander Mezzetti had two RBIs to send the Raptors to the big-school title game for the second consecutive season. A year ago, the Raptors won the Class AAAA crown with a victory over Rosemount. It was the third time this season East Ridge recorded a victory over Forest Lake, the other two coming during the Suburban East Conference schedule.
  • No. 5 Mounds View 5, No. 1 Wayzata 4: There are no undefeated high school baseball teams remaining in Minnesota. Mounds View took care of that with a 5-4 victory over previously undefeated and top-ranked Wayzata in an eight-inning victory in the second Class AAAA semifinal at CHS Field. Senior second baseman Aiden Bale and senior Tyler Guerin had RBI singles in the top of the eighth inning that gave the Mustangs (20-8) a lead and an insurance run. In the bottom of the eighth, Wayzata (25-1) edged to within 5-4 on an RBI single by junior second baseman James Hansen. Mounds View’s victory sets up a Class AAAA championship game against a familiar foe: The Mustangs split two games with East Ridge during the Suburban East Conference season. 

Next Article

2024 Baseball State Tournament: Road to the Prep Championship Series