We task our reporters with identifying several intriguing games throughout the state to assemble our Top Games of the Week. The matchups are presented in no particular order, and when there are additional games we want to highlight, we’ll include them with brief notes.
A deep and balanced Lake Conference means plenty of eye-catching matchups from the get-go, including a clash between Class 4A ranked squads St. Michael-Albertville and Hopkins on Monday, April 25.
St. Micheal-Albertville (2-0) is off to a strong start this season, winning a pair of close games: 2-1 over Rogers and 1-0 over another Lake Conference foe in Wayzata. Center fielder Hunter Palmer and catcher Kaden Amundson should be key players this season for the Knights, who are ranked No. 7 in the Class 4A coaches poll released April 1. Zach Romans was dominant on the mound for the Knights in their win over Rogers, allowing just one hit through three innings. Owen Neros was the star in the team’s win over Wayzata, going three and a third innings, allowing just one hit and striking out eight batters.
Star shortstop Maddox Mihalakis returns for a No. 6-ranked Hopkins team (2-0) that should be a tough out this season. Mihalakis recorded a hit and two RBIs in a shootout win over Robbinsdale Armstrong 15-12.
The Royals will likely need to find a way to keep scoring runs against the Knights, who have allowed just one run thus far this season.
Grand Rapids gets an early season road test when the No. 8-3A Thunderhawks visit Class 4A contender Eagan this weekend.
The Thunderhawks are coming off a state championship loss to Mahtomedi last season, but they look to be in good shape to make another deep postseason run with senior Ben Keske and Ren Morque providing a spark. A 10-0 win in Grand Rapids' season opener against Duluth Denfeld should give it plenty of confidence heading into Saturday’s game.
Eagan is off to a 1-1 start with an 8-4 win over Rosemount and a 20-7 loss against reigning Class 4A champs Farmington. Griffin Fenske was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats in the rout. The junior recorded two hits and four RBI, and he looks to lead a team that won 17 games last year.
A victory by either team should help reveal where each stands in the early going.
Wayzata vs. Minnetonka, 6:30 p.m., Friday, April 22. This is another enticing Lake Conference matchup. The Trojans have won four of the last five Class 4A, Section 6 championships, and started this season with a test against St. Michael-Albertville. Jake Berkland tallied the only two hits for No. 5-ranked Wayzata in a narrow 1-0 loss. The No. 8-4A Skippers — the defending Section 2 champs — won their season opener 9-4 over Coon Rapids, but they fell short against Elk River 5-3 on April 11. Minnetonka has matchups against Buffalo and Chanhassen before it meets Wayzata.
The MN Baseball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.