Stillwater's Tuanson DuFresne-To, right, popped to his feet after beating the tag at home plate and scoring one of the Ponies' six first-inning runs. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
After a six-year pause, the Ponies will ride into the state tournament.
Top-seeded Stillwater finished its impressive run though the Class 4A, Section 4 tournament at CHS Field in St. Paul on Tuesday evening with an 8-6 win over Roseville that gave the school its eighth section title, and its first since 2011.
Stillwater's Cody Venske bunted a runner to second in the sixth inning. Venske went 2-for-3 with a double and two stolen bases and pitched the final two innings. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
A monstrous six-run first inning for Stillwater proved crucial as the Ponies worked their way to an 8-6 victory over Roseville Tuesday in the Class 4A, Section 4 final at CHS Field in St. Paul.
Stillwater sent 10 men to bat and plated six runs in the bottom of the first inning to take command early. The early deficit proved to be an insurmountable wedge that Roseville chipped away at but could not overcome once the Ponies added two more runs in the second. Roseville’s pitchers righted the ship by the third inning, but by then too much damage was done.
Junior right-hander Will Frisch earned the win on the mound, throwing five innings and striking out seven. He allowed four runs (all earned), six hits and five walks.
Senior captain Cody Venske went 2-for-3 with a double, walk, a run scored and a pair of stolen bases. He also threw the final two innings for Stillwater, where he allowed two runs on three hits, one walk and struck out two.
This had been the third straight year Stillwater (21-3) reached the section final, with the Ponies losing to Woodbury the previous two years. Now, the Ponies are headed back to the state tournament for the eighth time in school history and for the first time since 2011.
Roseville (16-9) got solid relief pitching from Luke Schmaedeke, who threw two scoreless innings with three hits allowed and no walks. Andy Troung knocked a double and finished with three RBI, and Avery Nelson went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI.
The teams met twice during the regular season, with Stillwater winning both by a run (8-7 on May 12 and 10-9 on May 17).
Roseville's Nick Kulseth is consoled by a teammate after making the game's final out. Stillwater players celebrate their Class 4A, Section 4 championship in the background. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
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