Photo by SportsEngine
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.
Class 4A, No. 1-ranked Farmington will look to get back at the Lighting (3-0) for handing the Tigers (2-2) their first loss in the team’s season opener.
A four-run sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie, and that was enough for the Lighting to run away with the win. Dahltyn Virnig went 3-for-4, while teammates Benjy Vandeberg and Ezra Formaneck each drove in two runs to lead Eastview, who still sits unbeaten this season after a 15-8 win over Apple Valley, and a narrow 1-0 victory over Lakeville South. Formaneck and Tj Egan both dominated from the mound in that one, allowing just two hits combined to complete the shutout performance. It remains to be seen if Eastview will still be undefeated for its rematch with Farmington. The Lighting play Lakeville North and Rosemount earlier in the week.
The defending state champion Tigers, meanwhile, are off to an average start. After clobbering Eagan 20-7 and narrowly beating Apple Valley, Farmington stumbled against Lakeville North. Kyle Hrncir has been a steady source at the plate for the Tigers thus far, totaling four hits. Connor Weed has also driven in four runs. Zach Dohrmann, from the mound, has 15 strikeouts on the year in nine innings pitched. Likewise, Farmington has plenty of games before meeting Eastview, taking on Rosemount, Burnsville and Prior Lake.
The top two teams in Class 4A, Section 7 get set for an earlier season battle, and maybe a precursor down the road come section tournament time. Anoka and Blaine are both unbeaten in section play, and are off to fast starts this season.
Blaine (3-1) will have its hands full with a plethora of strong hitters, beginning with Reagan Reeder. Who’s seven hits and 10 RBIs lead all players in both categories for Anoka (4-1). The junior cracked a home run in the team’s 10-0 win over Totino-Grace, part of a two-hit night, while also driving in three runs. Will Czech will be another one to look out for, totaling five hits and five RBIs this season. The Bengals may also have to contend with pitcher Louis Hertling, who’s allowed just one run and three hits through 5 ⅓ innings. Austin Lang can also be a threat from the mound, registering 16 strikeouts through two games.
Blaine is coming off its first loss of the season, a 3-0 drubbing to Elk River, but have other solid wins over Andover and Robbinsdale Armstrong. Garrett Stauffacher’s six hits lead the way for the Bengals, which included a stellar 4-for-4 night against the Falcons. Eric Charest also has impressive numbers from the mound. The senior hasn’t allowed a run and just four hits through seven innings while recording nine strikeouts.
The Crimson (3-0) are off to a good start in the 2022 season. They have three straight wins before early-week matchups against Rogers and Spring Lake Park. Following those games is a date with one of the preseason’s top teams in Class 4A in Andover (0-2).
The Huskies were unable to snag a run in its season opener against Blaine, but rounded home plate five times in its loss to Anoka. Paddy Kelly registered two hits in the game while teammate Davis Gohman drove in three runs. Other players to look out for will be senior centerfielder Kyle Law and junior Josh Novak. Andover plays Robbinsdale Armstrong, Champlin Park and Spring Lake Park before hitting the diamond against the Crimson.
Zane Vitense and Jacob Kilzer each have three hits this season to lead Maple Grove. In his lone appearance on the mound this season, pitcher Cole Newell went 5 ⅔ innings allowing no runs off three hits while striking out 12 batters. It was part of a 1-0 win over Osseo on April 11.
Rochester Lourdes at Byron, 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 26: The No.7 ranked team in Class 2A has been dominant thus far this year. In two games, the Eagles have outscored its opponents 19-2. Lourdes has a veteran-returning squad from last year. Pitchers Joe Sperry, Braden Mlenar and Carter Wenszell are all strong from the mound, while Sperry can also be a force from the plate.
Byron is no slouch however, outsourcing its opponents 25-6 through four games. Senior Riley Knudson had a strong showing against Lake City earlier this year, tallying two hits and a run.
Waseca at Fairmont, 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 28: The Cardinals have been on a roll this season. Multiple players have over five hits this season. Eli Anderson and Lincoln Becker each have seven hits, whie Jack Krosbab and Landen Meyerdirk each have six.
Waseca cruised to an 18-1 win in its season opener against Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial, and it will face another tough test in New Ulm before taking on Fairmont.
The MN Baseball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.