Suburban East Conference and Class 4A, Section 4 rivals clash in what’s likely to be a pitchers’ duel featuring a wealth of talent on the mound and a potential postseason matchup, which sets the table for this east metro tilt being our Top Game of the Week.
When Stillwater last met Woodbury, the Ponies came away with a 2-1 win in last season's section playoffs. The one-run loss was the closest a challenger came to defeating the Ponies in the section before they went on to the state tourney and won the championship game 4-0 over Minnetonka.
Ranked No. 23 in the nation by USA Today, Stillwater (2-0, 1-0) came into this season with lofty expectations, and so far it has delivered. Seniors Drew Gilbert and Will Frisch, both Oregon State commits, are potent from the mound. Gilbert, a southpaw, went 6-1 last season, racking up 83 strikeouts and with a 0.75 ERA in 46 2/3 innings pitched. The right-handed Frisch, meanwhile, logged 20 2/3 innings, with 31 strikeouts and a 2.71 ERA.
The Ponies also boast junior pitcher Matt Moore, who seems fully capable of performing mop-up duty behind Gilbert and Frisch. In an 11-3 win over Roseville last Tuesday, Moore surrendered three hits, accrued four strikeouts and gave up no runs in 3 1/3 innings thrown.
Woodbury counters with its own ace on the hill. Adam Mazur, a senior committed to South Dakota State, threw a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts and one walk in a 15-0 blowout of North St. Paul on April 2. In 59 1/3 innings a season ago, Mazur struck out 75 with a 1.06 ERA and gave up just one home run.
To win what's likely to be a low-scoring game, the Royals (2-0, 1-0) look to keep swinging some hot bats. Three Royals have hit .500 or better through two games played, including Quinn Krueger. The senior has been perfect at the plate, posting a 1.000 batting average with three RBI in five at-bats.