These Gopher Conference rivals clash in the first of two meetings this season, and both have more on the mind than beating a league foe. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown and Medford are also Class 2A, Section 2 opponents.
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (8-4, 6-2) enters the week producing an overpowering 7.75 runs per game and is on a three-game winning streak.
The Buccaneers blasted Bethlehem Academy out of the water 10-0, 7-5 in a doubleheader last Thursday, and followed that by having New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva walk the plank in a 10-2 bruising on Friday.
Key producers for the Buccaneers include Brant Melchert and Parker Bahnsen, who were the team’s lone baserunners to score a run in last season’s section playoff loss to Belle Plaine — a defeat that sent Waterville-Elysian-Morristown home shy of making the state tournament.
The Tigers (4-5, 3-1) won four of their first five games but have since been reeling, losing four straight by a 28-2 margin. They desperately need to generate some offense to enter a notch in the win column and gain momentum before section play begins.
Junior infielder Bodie Devoe slugged a couple hits and drove in a pair of runs in the Tigers’ most recent win, a 3-1 victory over New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva on April 15.