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Hopkins strikes early, beats foe Wayzata to clinch Class 4A, Section 6 title

By Luke Hanlon, SportsEngine , 06/07/19, 11:30AM CDT

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With the victory, the Royals advance to their first Class 4A state tournament. They last claimed a section title in 2012, when they competed in Class 3A, Section 6.

Hopkins senior Luke Polyak hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, putting a lock on the Class 4A, Section 6 final. The Royals defeated Wayzata 8-4 Friday evening in Hopkins. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

Hopkins senior Luke Polyak hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, putting a lock on the Class 4A, Section 6 final. The Royals defeated Wayzata 8-4 Friday evening in Hopkins. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

Hopkins came into Friday’s Class 4A, Section 6 championship game with some leeway. The Royals were undefeated in the double-elimination tournament and could afford to lose to Wayzata and still have a second game to advance to state. But Hopkins coach Jason Mihalakis made it clear the Royals had no interest in playing a second game, with the temperature hitting over 90 degrees.

“(We) definitely didn’t want to play the second one,” Mihalakis said. “We were ready, we have a lot of pitching depth, but you don’t want to play that second game, ever.”

The Royals, No. 10 in the final Class 4A Star Tribune metro rankings this season, didn’t need that second game. They took care of business, defeating Lake Conference foe Wayzata 8-4 at Hopkins High School to advance to next week’s Class 4A state tournament.

It looked like the Royals (18-6) played with urgency, as Luke Polyak hit the first pitch of the game right back up the middle for a single. The Royals converted that leadoff hit into a three-run first inning, with additional run support coming from a ground-rule double off the bat of Calvin Harris and via a sacrifice fly from Sam Sikkink.

The Royals’ Wyatt Nelson pitched six innings in the Class 4A, Section 6 final. He gave up four earned runs, six hits, one walk and he struck out seven helping the Royals beat the Trojans 8-4 on Friday. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

The Royals’ Wyatt Nelson pitched six innings in the Class 4A, Section 6 final. He gave up four earned runs, six hits, one walk and he struck out seven helping the Royals beat the Trojans 8-4 on Friday. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

First Report

Hopkins defeated Wayzata 8-4 in the Class 4A, Section 6 championship game at Hopkins High School on Friday night to advance to the Class 4A state tournament, which starts next week.

The Royals (18-6) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, posting three runs in the top of the first inning. Luke Polyak hit a single on the first pitch of the game, and after an error, Calvin Harris smashed a two-run ground-rule double. Hopkins, ranked No. 10 in the final Class 4A Star Tribune metro rankings this season, added a third run courtesy of sacrifice fly from Sam Sikkink.

Wayzata (15-9) responded by scoring a run in the bottom of the first, a sacrifice fly by Carter Tibbits. But there could have been more damage dealt, as the No. 9-4A Trojans loaded the bases with no outs. Hopkins starter Wyatt Nelson worked out of the jam, then cruised to the fifth inning when the Trojans plated three more runs.

Nelson stayed in the game and finished six innings. He gave up four earned runs, six hits, one walk and he struck out seven batters.

Five runs would’ve been enough for the Royals, but they got some nice insurance runs in the sixth by way of a two-run home run by Polyak. He finished the game 4-for-4 from the plate with a home run, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Tibbits was the most effective hitter for the Trojans, going 1-for-1 with two sacrifice flies, a walk and two RBIs.

The Royals’ victory marks the end of a three-year reign for Wayzata as section champion. Hopkins last won a section title in 2012, when it competed in Class 3A, Section 6.

Wayzata’s Carter Tibbits was effective at the plate, hitting two sacrifice flies for RBIs but the Trojans still lost to Hopkins 8-4 Friday night in the Class 4A, Section 6 final. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

Wayzata’s Carter Tibbits was effective at the plate, hitting two sacrifice flies for RBIs but the Trojans still lost to Hopkins 8-4 Friday night in the Class 4A, Section 6 final. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

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