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Top games: Monticello looks to avoid second loss of season to Mississippi 8 and section rival Princeton

By Ben Grundhauser, SportsEngine, 05/16/22, 8:00AM CDT


May 19: There's a lot on the line for the Magic to hold off the Tigers in Section 5, Class 3A.

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.

Monticello at Princeton 

4:30 p.m., Thursday, May 19 

Monticello and Princeton are vying for the top seed in theClass 3A, Section 5 tournament. The Magic (9-4) enter the week leading the race with a better QRF than the Tigers (11-4), who sit just behind. 

Monticello hopes for a better showing this time against its section and Mississippi 8 Conference foe. Princeton rolled to a 13-2 win over the Magic on April 22. With the game tied 1-1, the Tigers exploded with an eight-run sixth inning. They added another four runs in the seventh inning. Mason Beltrand was electric from the plate, totaling five hits and driving in five runs. Zach Schroeder got the win on the mound, allowing just one run off seven hits through six innings. 

Caden King, Zach Anderson and Brock Woitalla all lead Monticello offensively. King has a team-leading 17 hits and 10 RBIs. Anderson has 16 hits, and he recorded three hits and three RBIs in the team’s 9-2 win over Big Lake on May 6. 

The Magic last made the state tournament back in 2019. Princeton looks for its first section title and trip to the Class 3A tournament. A sweep over its section foe could give the Tigers a needed boost before section tournament time.

Eden Prairie at Hopkins 

6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 18 

A streaking Hopkins team looks to get back at Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie this Wednesday. The Royals lost to the Eagles 5-4 on May 2. 

It’s the last loss Hopkins recorded this year.

Winners of six straight, the Royals (11-3) sit atop the conference standings while Eden Prairie (10-3) is one game behind.

Through seven games, Maddox Mihalakis leads Hopkins with 10 hits while Jack Mausser has driven in six runs. Gabe Olson, through 10 innings on the mound, retains a 1.40 ERA with 19 strikeouts. Hopkins also has meaningful season-ending matchups against Lake Conference and section foe Wayzata and Rogers. 

Eden Prairie has won seven of its last eight games. Joey Flom has been hot from the plate in the team’s last two games. He has two hits in each and drove home three runs combined.

Bemidji at Rogers 

4:30 p.m., Friday,  May 20 

A pair of Class 4A, Section 8 teams square off in the latter stages of the season when Bemidji visits Rogers on Friday. Both teams are 1-1 against section opponents, and a victory in this matchup could give the winner another important win in the chase for a high seed in the section tournament. 

Rogers (9-3) has won three straight after losing to Maple Grove and Andover two weeks ago. Reiken Downs put together two hits and scored three runs in the team’s 11-0 win over Robbinsdale Armstrong on May 10. Jack Berry dominated from the mound in that one, allowing just three hits and striking out three batters through three innings. 

Rogers has controlled the section the last few years, making it to the state tournament the last two seasons, not including 2020 (no season due to COVID-19 protocols). 

The Lumberjacks (10-3) are coming off a string of four consecutive wins and are looking to get back to the state tournament for the first time since 2012. Parker Mistic cracked three hits in 6-2 victory at Anoka on April 23.

Other games to keep an eye on

Woodbury at Cretin-Derham Hall, 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 18: Woodbury (11-5), No. 6 in the Class 4A coaches' poll released May 6, has looked competitive all season long except in a 6-1 loss to the Raiders (7-8) on April 29. The Royals made the state tournament in 2016 and 2017 and look capable of returning this season. Cole Erickson’s 11 hits in six games leads the team.

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The MN Baseball Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only. 

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