It was a wait of nearly two years, due to the 2020 season being called off to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but it’s finally time to play ball!
Given no players took the field a year ago, virtually all teams are fielding inexperienced varsity rosters. That lack of playing time has so far been on display statewide, including in the east metro, where Class 3A state powers Hill-Murray and St. Thomas Academy reside.
Hill-Murray came into the season with high expectations and some publicity, including being ranked No. 1 in the first Class 3A coaches’ poll of the season from April 15, but the Pioneers haven’t had the start many were expecting. A victory Wednesday over No. 2-3A St. Thomas Academy would likely go a long way in boosting the team’s confidence.
The Pioneers (1-2, 1-2) crushed Simley 15-0 in their season opener on April 15 but have lost two straight since then. Against Simley, Hill-Murray got five innings and seven strikeouts from pitcher Matthew Forrest, who also had two hits and walked once.
St. Thomas Academy (1-1, 0-1) has also had an uneven start to the season. The Cadets, who won the Class 3A state title in 2019, lost to Tartan 6-5 on April 15 but they rebounded with a resounding 6-0 defeat of No. 3-3A Benilde-St. Margaret’s on Saturday.
Cadets pitchers combined to give up just one hit to the Red Knights, spearheaded by starter Liam Brennan who struck out seven batters in three innings. Charlie Steel and Mike Miller came on in relief for the other four innings, with Steel giving up the team’s lone hit in the sixth inning.