By PATRICK SLACK
For the second year in a row, Sobieski, Lastrup and Avon all advanced to the final weekend of the Class C amateur state baseball tournament.
And not without a few theatrics.
While Region 8C champion churned out another victory behind another gem by ace Tyler Jendro, Lastrup required a rally in its final at bat while Avon had to endure extra innings to move on.
Lastrup 9, Moorhead 4
Trailing 4-3 heading into the ninth, Lastrup capitalized on a pair of errors to put together a six-run frame and shock Moorhead 9-4 in Delano, Aug. 25.
After the leadoff man was retired, Lastrup placed a pair of runners on base after back-to-back Moorhead errors, then tied the score on a base hit by Brandon Lochner.
Moorhead turned to its bullpen to try to stem the tide, but the Lakers began to pile on, scoring on an RBI double by Rick Schlieman and two-run singles from Jason Sadlovsky and Shawn Fischer.
Following Brett Kramer’s scoreless inning of work in the eighth, Reggie Litke shut the door on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, securing Lastrup’s spot in the third round.
Moorhead held control early in the contest, taking a 3-0 lead after two innings before Lastrup evened the score with two runs in the fourth and another in the top of the fifth.
Moorhead gained the lead right back at 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth, with neither team striking again until the ninth.
Dan Saehr, Rick Schleiman, Lochner and Sadlovsky all had multi-hit games for Lastrup, with Chad Weiss homering and scoring two runs.
Sobieski 3, Elrosa 0
Following a first-round bye, Sobieski opened up state tournament play with a 3-0 victory over Elrosa in Delano, Aug. 24, behind a three-hit shutout from Jendro.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when Sobieski staged its first threat following back-to-back one-out singles by Jendro and Jon Czech.
Issac Smieja followed with a double to right-center, plating pinch runner Aaron Hennes with the game’s first run.
Beau Hanowski and Jendro put the game away for good with RBI singles in the eighth inning.
Avon 1, Cannon Falls 0
It was a case of deja vu in Maple Lake, Aug. 24, as Avon topped Cannon Falls 1-0 for the second year in a row at state.
The pitching match-up was also the same, with Kyle Collins taking the ball for Avon a year after firing a no-hitter against the Bears.
Again, Cannon Falls failed to touch Collins for a run over 8 2/3 innings, but this time was able to keep the Lakers off the board to force extra innings.
However, Avon finally broke through in the top of the 11th on a two-out home run by Taylor Holthaus, who also drove in the lone run in last year’s game.
Adam Harlander earned the win in relief of Collins with 1 1/3 innings of shutout work, with Bryce Feia nailing down the save.
The state tournament comes to a close with a full slate of 15 games over Labor Day weekend, capped by the championship in Maple Lake, Monday at noon.