Mounds View's left-handed pitcher Max Knutson, a MLB draft prospect, pitched against Roseville on June 1 at Midway Stadium in St. Paul in the Section 4 Class 3A winner's bracket final. Photo: NICOLA LOSIK * Special to the Star Tribune
Class 3A story lines
1 State tournament fever
Another high school sports season draws to a close, another appearance by Lakeville North senior Zach Creighton. The outfielder, who is hitting .473 with 11 RBI and 11 stolen bases, will play in his third state tournament this year when the Panthers meet Rocori at 3 p.m. Thursday at Midway Stadium. Creighton quarterbacked the Lakeville North football team last fall to a 12-1 season and into the Class 6A championship game, in which he completed 12 of 20 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in a 28-7 loss to Eden Prairie. In the winter, Creighton played in the boys’ basketball state tournament. He scored 12 points in an overtime loss to Park Center in the quarterfinals.
2 You again
Forest Lake and Mounds View won’t soon forget the 16 innings of baseball played against each other one day one month ago. The rematch scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Thursday is too soon, Mounds View pitcher Max Knutson said. “We came all this way just to face them again,” he said. Mounds View swept the previous doubleheader in dramatic fashion. The Mustangs won Game 2 on a walk-off in the ninth inning. The Rangers are eager for revenge against the team with which they shared the Suburban East Conference championship.
3 Seeding process
The Minnesota State High School League’s seeding process is now a part of the baseball state tournament. Coon Rapids earned Class 3A’s first No. 1 seed. However, the benefits of a seeding process don’t seem to have benefited the Cardinals the way they would have hoped. Because the high school league only seeds the top five teams, Coon Rapids randomly drew Wayzata for the first round. The Trojans likely would have been the No. 6 seed.
4 Standout conferences
One state tournament berth wasn’t enough for the Lake Conference and Suburban East Conference. Minnetonka won Section 2 and Wayzata won Section 6 to claim two spots for the Lake. Both teams rallied from the losers’ bracket to win. Mounds View won Section 4 and Forest Lake won Section 7 to claim two spots for the Suburban East Conference.
5 Newcomers vs. veterans
Lakeville North upset Burnsville in the Section 3 championship to claim the program’s first appearance in the state tournament. Rocori, a two-time state champion, is returning for the seventh time and only three years removed from its last state title. The Panthers don’t look like a newbie, though. They claimed the tournament’s No. 3 seed and could be set for the program’s first state championship game appearance.
Quarterfinals, semifinals at Midway
• Wayzata (15-6) vs. Coon Rapids (No. 1 seed, 17-3), 10 a.m.
• Forest Lake (No. 5, 18-5) vs. Mounds View (No. 4, 17-6), 12:30 p.m.
• Rocori (16-8) vs. Lakeville North (No. 3, 19-4), 3 p.m.
• Rochester Mayo (14-11) vs. Minnetonka (No. 2, 21-6), 5:30 p.m.
• Semifinals, noon and 2:30 p.m.
• Third place, 5 p.m.
• Consolation semifinals (at Siebert Field), 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
• Consolation final (at Siebert), 3 p.m.
Championship • Target Field
• Semifinals winners, 4 p.m.
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