The Panthers did it the hard way, beating the Spartans twice on Tuesday night to advance to the state tournament for the second time in school history.
Century (20-6) — the section’s top seed — was forced to win four straight elimination games after being upset by Mayo 2-1 in the first game of the Final Four.
After losing their first game in the Final Four to Prior Lake, the top-seeded Eagles stormed back through the loser’s bracket to take the Section 2 title.
On Tuesday, the Eagles trounced the Storm 15-2 in game one, forcing a rematch on Wednesday with a trip to state on the line.
Eden Prairie (21-4) — last year’s defending champs — then finished the job in game two, winning 7-1 and putting themselves in position to defend their title at the state tournament, which runs June 16-21.
The Blaze made quick work of the Lightning, winning the section championship in a shortened game at Alimagnet Park.
Junior Brian Vanderwoude allowed just one hit over five innings, and Matt Stemper, Dan Motl and Tyler Hanson all homered for the Blaze.
Burnsville (21-3) will make its fifth trip to the state tournament in school history, looking to improve on a 7-5 loss to Eden Prairie in last year’s state championship game at Target Field.
Senior pitcher Joe Zorn went the distance, holding the Mustangs to just two runs while striking out 10 to send Stillwater (19-5) back to the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
Zorn also contributed in the batter's box, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Maple Grove proved that along with being a talented team, they are also a resilient bunch. The top-ranked Crimson beat Coon Rapids twice on Wednesday, completing their comeback from the losers' bracket to punch their ticket to state.
Maple Grove (24-1) senior Karl Sorensen was 3-for-4 with a double, triple and RBI in game two, while sophomore pitcher Tyler Field went the distance, striking out seven and allowing just four earned to get the win.
The tenth-seeded Eagles have made their dream a reality.
The Eagles are headed to state for the first time since 2000, thanks in large part to their offensive explosion in section play.
Their high-scoring run to state was capped off in a big way in Tuesday’s championship game at Parade Stadium, when they plated 9 runs in the sixth inning to put the Royals away.
Sophomore Arich Juberian had a big day, going 4-for-5 with a home run and eight RBI.
Kennedy (12-13) pulled a number of upsets in the playoffs, outscoring opponents 65-19 along the way.
Junior Andy Julkowski of St. Francis has been locked in during Final Four play.
In his team’s two victories on Tuesday, Julkowski went 6-for-7 with three homeruns, a triple and five RBI. One of Julkowski’s homers came in the top of the eighth against top-seeded Forest Lake, breaking a 3-3 tie and knocking the Rangers into the losers’ bracket.
In Wednesday's action, the Rangers bounced back with a 9-1 win over Andover to reach the section finals. Then in game one, Forest Lake pounded the ball, beating St. Francis 15-5 in six innings and forcing a second game between the teams on Thursday at 12:30.
With a win-or-go-home mentality, the Lumberjacks took care of business in the section finals, beating the Cardinals twice to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1991.
Bemidji (18-9) — which will make its nineteenth trip to state since 1947 — entered section play as the No. 7-seed, but won six of their seven playoff games, including a 8-7 win over No. 2-seed Big Lake, and a 10-6 win over No. 1-seed Brainerd.
Needing a win to stay alive, Hayfield took care of Wabasha-Kellogg 19-8 in a six-inning rout Tuesday evening.
But in Wednesday's rematch, Wabasha-Kellogg held Hayfield to just one run, winning 4-1 to earn the state tournament bid.
After suffering a quarterfinal loss to Mankato Loyola, No. 1 seed Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial defied the odds and overcame Loyola for a state tournament berth.
LC-WM pulled off four consecutive wins – two over Loyola – to claim the Section 2A title.
No. 1 seed La Crescent had no trouble eliminating Byron Tuesday night, earning a trip to the state tournament.
In a battle of subsection No. 1s, Kasson Mantorville got the better of Holy Family, beating the Fire twice Tuesday night to advance to the state tournament.
Tag(s): Around The State Hub Exclusive Star Tribune Eden Prairie Hopkins Eastview Bloomington Kennedy Burnsville Chanhassen St. Francis Stillwater Mounds View Coon Rapids Maple Grove Andover Rochester Century Rochester Mayo Alexandria Bemidji Section Playoffs Home Section 1AAA Section 2AAA Section 3AAA Section 4AAA Section 5AAA Section 6AAA Section 7AAA Section 8AAA