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Mustangs headed to Target Field
With the opening of Target Field in 2010, the high school baseball season in Minnesota became extended by three days but only six teams get the privilege of playing on the last day of the season.
This season, the baseball team from Mounds View High School is one of those six teams. The Mustangs, in the state tournament for the first time since 2000, advanced to Monday’s championship series at the home of the Minnesota Twins via a 2-1 victory over Forest Lake in the quarterfinals and a 9-4 win over Coon Rapids in the semifinals.
The appearance in the state championship game is a first for Mounds View, whose previous best finish in a state tournament was third place in 2000.
Clutch hitting and solid pitching was the name of the game for Mounds View in the first two games of the tournament. All-state senior pitcher Max Knutson held Forest Lake to one run on five hits and two walks while striking out six on Thursday at Midway Stadium in St. Paul. Sophomore Alec Abercrombie came up with the game-winning hit when he singled to center in the bottom of the seventh inning to drive in pinch runner Chance Carnahan.
Against Coon Rapids on Friday, junior Sam Hentges gave up four runs but the Mustangs never trailed thanks to an offensive explosion that was also aided by four Cardinals errors.
Mounds View got things going in the second innings when Charlie Callahan singled home Justin Ortt for the first run of the game.
The Mustangs added three runs in the fifth with a pair coming on Abercrombie’s two-run double. Mitch Fredrickson later singled home Abercrombie to give Hentges a 4-0 cushion.
Coon Rapids countered with two runs in its half of the fifth and made it a one-run game with a single run in the sixth.
With the outcome still in doubt, Mounds View took the mystery out of it with five runs in the top of the seventh. Hentges helped his own cause with a bases-loaded single that plated Austin Smestad. Abercrombie, who reached on a textbook drag bunt single, scored on Lars Anderson’s fielder’s choice. Placensia, running for Hentges, scored on an error on a ball hit by Ortt and Joe Janey, running for Anderson, and Ortt scored on Nate Douvier’s single.
That was more than enough for Hentges, who closed it out by giving up one run in the seventh on a balk. Hentges gave up the four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four.
Awaiting Mounds View, the fourth seed in the tournament, is unseeded Rocori. The Spartans, making their seventh state appearance, edged third-seeded Lakeville North 3-2 in the quarterfinals and second-seeded Minnetonka 4-1 in the semifinals.
Rocori enters Monday’s game in search of its third state championship in its fourth trip to the championship game. The Spartans won the Class AA championship in 2010 and the Class A title in 1992. They finished second to Greenway in 1991.
This is Rocori’s second year playing in Class AAA and first trip to state at that level.
Class AAA state high school baseball tournament
Coon Rapids 2, Wayzata 0
Mounds View 2, Forest Lake 1
Rocori 3, Lakeville North 2
Minnetonka 3, Rochester Mayo 2, 11 innings
Mounds View 9, Coon Rapids 4
Rocori 4, Minnetonka 1
Forest Lake 3, Wayzata 0
Lakeville North 6, Rochester Mayo 3
Monday, 4 p.m. at Target Field
Mounds View vs. Rocori
Minnetonka 6, Coon Rapids 0
Lakeville North 9, Forest Lake 1