Two of the top teams in Class 3A this year have exceeded the expectations of many, and they both reside in Section 4, where neither has won a section title this decade.
With the postseason looming, this urban tilt between top-five programs may soon pay dividends by helping push one team to a section crown and a coveted state tournament bid, which sets the stage for our final Top Game of the Week this season.
DeLaSalle, No. 1 in the Class 3A Star Tribune metro rankings from May 13, will travel Friday to No. 4-3A St. Paul Central for what will be each team’s regular-season finale. It’s the ideal tuneup for two teams looking for a boost and some confidence.
DeLaSalle’s reign has extended beyond Nicollet Island this year, with the Islanders (13-3, 6-2) battering opponents across the Twin Cities. Winners in 13 of their first 14 games this season, they only recently experienced adversity when they were swept in a doubleheader against Holy Angels last Friday. Losing each contest to the Stars by a 1-0 margin, DeLaSalle is looking for a quick course correction to push full steam ahead into the section playoffs.
In a 3-2 win over No. 1-2A Minnehaha Academy on May 14, the Islanders scraped together five hits, with seniors Sam Kulesa and Luke Timmerman each tallying an RBI. The veterans will be leaned upon to pick up a signature win to close the regular season, and to make a postseason run.
St. Paul Central (14-2, 11-1) has had its own setbacks recently. After winning their first 13 games of the season, the Minutemen dropped a pair of games last week — 6-5 to St. Paul Highland Park on May 13 and 4-3 to Fridley two days later.
The Minutemen got the taste of defeat out of their mouths with a 9-0 drubbing of Minneapolis Washburn last Friday, and they’ll aim to use the same recipe for success to cap the regular season: offense.
Powered by the bats of Luke McElroy, Liam King and Kyle Wichlinski, St. Paul Central has a deep lineup averaging 11.1 runs per game. McElroy, a senior outfielder, leads the team in batting average (.543), doubles (9) and RBI (20).