Eden Valley-Watkins' Grant Warren, center, celebrated his third inning home run with teammates. Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune
Eden Valley-Watkins senior Grant Warren received his home run ball after Friday’s Class 1A state baseball tournament semifinal victory and was told it did not travel far over the left-field fence.
But Warren’s homer added to an overall Eagles performance that left no doubt. The defending state champions beat Red Lake County 16-6 at the Mini Met in Jordan, earning a spot in next Tuesday’s championship game against Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial at Target Field.
Pressure was the operative word in Eden Valley-Watkins’ victory. The experienced Eagles applied it by scoring at least one run in all seven innings.
Conversely, the Rebels committed six errors and allowed three Eagles runners to score from third base on wild pitches.
“We’ve been here before in these pressure situations, and you’ve got to play through them,” Warren said.
Warren’s two-run homer highlighted a third inning in which Eden Valley-Watkins scored four times and surged to a 6-0 lead.
“We said, 'Let’s cut their breath off and call it our game,’ ” Warren said.
A grand slam from Skyler Bergeson put wind back in Red Lake County’s sails in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Eagles saw their lead cut to 9-6.
Then pitcher Matt Geislinger, who held a perfect game through 6u2153 innings of Thursday’s quarterfinal, came on to finish the game. He set down the Rebels side in order twice, striking out two.