Stillwater looked to be on the fast track to the state tournament last season. The Ponies had clinched their first Suburban East Conference title in seven years, were the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A by Let's Play Baseball and — through 22 games — averaged less than two runs allowed per game heading into the Section 4 semifinal against league rival Woodbury.
Then it all derailed at CHS Field in St. Paul.
The Royals' Max Meyer tossed 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball in a 4-1 win on June 3. Three days later, Meyer helped end the Ponies' season with three unblemished innings in the section final by the same score.
The right-handed pitcher has since graduated to a Minnesota Gophers uniform, but senior Jack Horman should be ready to pick up where Meyer left off, representing half of what should be a pitching duel between two of Minnesota's best arms in our Top Game of the Week.
Horman had a 1.22 ERA in 45 innings last season and was the winning pitcher in two of Woodbury's three victories over the Ponies last season, throwing 10.1 innings and allowing one earned run.
Meanwhile, Will Frisch will likely lead Stillwater in its season-opening revenge bout. The TCU commit had a 1.05 ERA during the regular season last year, and in last year's two regular season matchups against the Royals, he struck out eight in a combined seven innings of work.