The first two trips to state have been decided while the final two remain up for grabs in the opening weekend of the Region 8C tournament in Pierz, Saturday – Sunday.
Lastrup and Fort Ripley worked their way through the opening two rounds of action, each sailing by their first opponent before delivering dramatic wins in round two to clinch trips to state.
Lastrup 13, Upsala 3
Lastrup 8, Nisswa 6
Lastrup seized control of its opening round match-up against Upsala from the outset, scoring five times in the first inning, highlighted by a three-run Dustin Schmaltz double.
The Lakers extended their lead to 7-0 in the third before Upsala got on the board on a three-run homer by Matt Swanson in the fifth to close the margin to 7-3.
Lastrup reasserted itself with a run in the bottom of the fifth, three in the sixth and then two final tallies in the seventh to earn a 13-3 victory via the 10-run rule.
Schmaltz finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs, while Jason Sadlovsky also went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, three runs and two RBIs.
Adding two hits apiece were Rick Schlieman, Paul Herman, Brandon Lochner and Nate Janson, with Schlieman homering and scoring two runs and Herman driving in a couple.
Chad Weiss contributed two RBIs and Dan Saehr scored twice as well.
Weiss went the distrance on the mound, tossing a five-hitter and striking out five.
Lastrup’s offense took a lot longer to get going the following night, but once it did it was potent against Nisswa.
The Lakers were in a 4-1 hole heading into the bottom of the sixth before staging a seven-run inning to take the lead for good.
Nisswa cut the gap to 8-6 in the ninth, but the game ended with the tying run at the plate.
Brandon Lochner and Reggie Litke each had a pair of hits, drove in a run and scored to pace the Lastrup offense, with Jason Sadlovsky and Chad Weiss both driving in two runs and Dan Saehr scoring twice.
Scott Janson worked 6 2/3 innings and registered the win on the mound, with Litke securing the final seven outs for the save.
Tyler Wittwer doubled and knocked in two for Nisswa.
Fort Ripley 8, Freeport 2
Fort Ripley 5, Sobieski 3
There were a pair of shutouts put on the board the opening day of the tournament, but the most dominating performance probably belonged to Fort Ripley’s Brett Kramer, setting the stage for the Rebels to make their way to state.
Kramer struck out 17 batters in a six-hitter as Fort Ripley took down Freeport 8-2 in the opening round, all while going 3-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs, three runs and a pair of walks at the plate.
Jason Sather reached three times and Dustin Littlefield had a pair of hits as well for Fort Ripley, with both players knocking in two runs.
Grant Hess went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI for Freeport.
Fort Ripley then sprung a 5-3 upset on Sobieski, the four-time defending region champions, in the second round.
The Rebels turned to Ethan Branum on the mound, with Branum striking out eight batters over eight innings, working around eight hits and six walks. Logan Kalis finished things off in the ninth for the save.
Fort Ripley built a 5-0 lead with three runs in the first inning and single runs in the sixth and seventh.
The Skis finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh on run-scoring hits from Riley Hirsch and Joey Hanowski, then pulled within 5-3 on a wild pitch in the ninth on a third strike that would have ended the game.
After surrendering a single to the following batter to load the bases, Kalis registered a strike out to preserve the win for the Rebels.
Kalis also had two hits and scored twice offensively, with Jason Sather going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Jim Kramer going deep.
Joey Hanowski finished with three hits and Beau Hanowski had a pair for Sobieski.
Sobieski 10, Buckman 0
Sobieski got to the second round in large part due to Tyler Jendro, who threw a two-hit shutout in a 10-0 victory over Buckman, striking out eight without issuing a walk.
Jendro also had plenty of run support to work with.
Beau Hanowski went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and three runs scored and Joey Hanowski blasted a two-run long ball.
Andrew Gurbada, Josh Wenzel and Jendro all added two hits apiece, with Wenzel scoring twice and collecting two RBIs.
Nisswa 11, St. Stephen 0
Nisswa didn’t have much difficulty getting out of the first round, blanking St. Stephen 11-0.
The Lightning blasted four homers in the contest, with Jason Roepke going deep twice and Jeremiah Piepkorn and Adam Hardy also homering.
Kyle Schaible tossed a two-hit shutout.
Upsala 4, St. Stephen 3
Upsala bounced back from its first round defeat to keep its season alive with a 4-3 victory over St. Stephen in an elimination game.
The Steves put up two runs in the top of the seventh to take their first lead at 3-2, only for Upsala to recover with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, then holding on for the win.
Dustin Biniek, Joe Bartkowicz, Matt Swanson and Brock Cichon recorded two hits apiece for Upsala, with Biniek scoring twice and Swanson providing what proved to be the game-winning two-run single.
Brandon Welinski tripled and scored twice.
John Fuchs went the distance for the Blue Jay, striking out seven.
Ben Omann went 4-for-4 and drew a walk for St. Stephen.
Freeport 12, Buckman 3
What was a close game for most of the action turned into a runaway at the end, as Freeport put up eight runs in the bottom of the seventh after holding a narrow 4-3 advantage going in on its way to a 12-3 victory over Buckman in an elimination game.
Freeport only had eight hits in the game but capitalized on eight walks and four hit batters.
Nate Winter earned the win, holding the Billygoats to three runs in 6 1/3 innings of work.
Joe Kahl doubled and Jeremy Monson picked up a hit and an RBI for Buckman.
Next Saturday in Upsala, Sobieski will take on Upsala and Freeport will take on Nisswa to determine the final two state tournament bids, with Fort Ripley squaring off versus Lastrup for a spot in the region finals.