Eden Prairie at Lakeville North
4:15 p.m., Thursday, April 16

Lakeville North defeated crosstown rival Lakeville South to finish third at the Class 3A state tournament a year ago, and the Panthers come into this season as the top-ranked team. They boast a deep lineup that helped them win the American Legion state title this past summer.

Senior Angelo Altavilla hit .454 over the summer with 11 doubles and 43 RBI, all tops on the North Legion team. He’s a Mr. Baseball candidate who’s headed to the University of Nebraska.

No. 2-3A Eden Prairie finished as runner-up in the state last year, losing to Mounds View in the championship game at Target Field. The Eagles are a perennial power, qualifying for seven state tourneys in the past 11 years and winning titles in 2004 and 2010.

The Eagles have their own University of Nebraska recruit in junior third baseman Jeff Athey, who hit .354 from the left side of the plate last spring. He’s a strong hitter with power to all fields. This could be a high-scoring game as both teams graduated most of their pitching staffs from last year but return big-time hitting prospects.