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.
Defending Class 1A champion Hayfield faces a stern test when it takes on undefeated Randolph on Tuesday.
The Vikings (6-1), after dropping their season opener to Jackson County Central, have rattled off six straight wins, including an impressive 29-0 victory over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on April 11. Hayfield also has an 8-2 win over Springfield on April 9, a game in which Aiden Nelson, Nolan Klocke and Jackson Thoe all registered three hits. Klocke also showcased his arm, allowing just one run on two hits through five innings on the mound. He also added seven strikeouts.
The Rockets (7-0), meanwhile, have yet to face a true test through seven games this season. Outscoring its opponents by a combined 85-4, Randolph has coasted to each win. Jacob Weckop’s 13 hits lead the team while he also has 12 RBIs. Drew Jenkins isn’t far off with 12 hits while driving in 11 runs. Jacob’s brother Nathan Weckop has been electric from the mound. In three games, the senior has allowed three runs off four hits, with 35 strikeouts — including 13 against New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva and 16 against United South Central.
This matchup appears to be the first true test for Randolph this season, while Hayfield will certainly have its hands full in trying to extend its winning streak. That's to say if Hayfield wins its game against Lyle-Pacelli on Monday.
Two Class 4A teams with strong starts to the year get set to do battle Saturday.
The Spartans (7-2) began the year 6-0, but they have lost two of its last three games, including a tight 3-1 loss to Farmington. Mason Leimbek’s 12 hits leads all players for Mayo. Ian Regal has 11 hits, while Jonah Alleckson and Kyle Prindle each have 10. Through three games and 14 innings on the mound, Joshua Auger has allowed just one run and six hits to go along with 25 strikeouts. The Spartans, who went 11-14 overall last year, take on Owatonna twice and Albert Lea before its matchup against Stillwater.
The Ponies (8-2) were one of the top teams last year going 20-5 overall, but saw their season end in the Class 4A state quarterfinals. This team from the Suburban East Conference once again looks like a contender. Stillwater has wins over East Ridge, Park of Cottage Grove and Cretin-Derham Hall. In the squad's win over Roseville, Brayden Hellum went three innings while allowing a run and two hits.
St. Paul Academy’s Boden Strafelda has been dynamic for the Spartans. A true dual threat, the Gustavus Adolphus commit has a team-leading 11 hits to go with 13 RBIs, and he has a 3-1 record from the mound. Blake (4-1) will surely have its hands full against a Spartans team coming off dominating wins over Mounds Park (12-3 on April 25) and Minnehaha Academy (14-2 on April 26).
Blake began the year 4-0 thanks to Peter Johnson’s 10 hits, including a four-hit game against Minnehaha Academy on April 28. Tyler Vandersall and Will Nelson each have six hits this season and could also provide the needed power on the offensive side to cause problems for St. Paul Academy.
Rocori at Willmar, 5 p.m., Thursday, May 5: Willmar entered the week 3-2 overall but also had two postponed games. The Cardinals look to gain traction against a Rocori team that opened the season 4-0 but just lost its first game of the year: a 10-2 defeat to Sartell-St. Stephen. The Spartans’ Joel Sowada recorded two hits against Alexandria and St. Cloud.
The MN Baseball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.