The last week of the regular season has arrived and some teams have marquee matchups left on the calendar which should help them prepare for postseason runs. This includes Mankato West and Mahtomedi, two standout Class 3A programs that’ll meet Thursday.
Mankato West (15-1, 11-1) has conquered its competition in the Big 9 Conference this spring, and the Scarlets, ranked No. 1 in the Class 3A coaches’ poll from May 20, have aspirations to make the state tournament. A nonconference victory over a Mahtomedi team that has made the Class 3A state tourney in five of the past six postseasons may be the boost the Scarlets need to go on an extended run.
The Scarlets have already racked up some big wins this season, including a 12-1 triumph over No. 9-3A Mankato East on April 30, and they’ve won seven consecutive games. Wyant Fowlds, Nic Cook, and Ethan Fox each had two RBIs in the defeat of their intracity rivals. Tanner Shumski pitched a complete one-hit game, walking three and striking out two.
To get another marquee win, Mankato West must overcome an east metro power in No. 5-3A Mahtomedi that’s done its fair share of claiming signature victories this spring.
The Zephyrs, who compete in the Metro East Conference, defeated No. 8-3A Hill-Murray 14-1 on April 22, and they also took down Class 3A power St. Thomas Academy in both regular-season matchups, winning 9-5 on April 27 and 9-0 on May 5. Mahtomedi (12-5, 11-4) also beat a good Hastings team 4-1 on May 14, backed by Luke Loughlin’s complete-game gem. He gave up just four hits and one unearned run to go with his five strikeouts.