Fourth-seeded Blaine took its first loss of the Section 5AAA tournament in a 4-3 defeat by top-seeded Coon Rapids in a Memorial Day matinee played at Midway Stadium Monday.
The Bengals reached the championship quarterfinals by way of a 5-3 win against Park Center in the game that followed Coon Rapids’ 5-0 shutout of Maple Grove at Wintercrest Park in Coon Rapids May 24.
Blaine senior pitcher Dustin Burfiend picked up his sixth win of the season against Park Center, while Davis Bryan and Nick Caldeen each had two RBI in the section opener.
Monday’s game was only the second of the season between the rivals after Coon Rapids scored a 6-2 win at Paul Parkway May 11.
Blaine took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning after back-to-back, two-out doubles by Ryan Maurer and Nick Caldeen followed by an RBI single by Kyle Hamby.
It was Caldeen’s second double of the game after leading off the contest with a double and coming around to score in the first inning to give Blaine a 1-0 lead.
Coon Rapids tied the game in the sixth inning when Jake Bruner’s sacrifice fly scored Logan Shore, who led off the inning with a walk. The Cardinals manufactured the run with a sacrifice by Anthony Mrosla followed by a double by Grant Farley to set the table for Bruner.
Tyler Wojiechowski led off the seventh inning with a double and moved up a base with a sacrifice and intentional walk before he scored on a wild pitch for the decisive run.
Farley worked the first 5.2 innings for the Cardinals giving up three earned runs over eight hits and one walk. Four of the hits he gave up were doubles, while he struck out two and hit one Blaine batter.
Nick Hanzlik relieved Farley for the final out of the sixth inning before Shore recorded the final two outs for the win.
Bryan, Blaine’s senior pitcher, gave up four runs and four hits over 6.1 innings of work. He also struck out five and walked three to drop to 2-4 on the season.
Zach Rustad, Caldeen and Hamby each had two hits, while freshman sensation Tyler Reichenborn went 1-for-4 with one strike out.
Blaine faced Centennial in an elimination game at Midway Stadium May 30. The winner faced the winner of the Maple Grove/Totino-Grace game May 31.
Coon Rapids moved on to face Champlin Park at Midway Stadium May 31. The section final is set for a 6 p.m. start June 5 at Midway Stadium.
Spring Lake Park’s season came to an end in its Section 5AAA opener by way of a 4-1 loss to Centennial May 23.
No. 6 seed Andover was upset by No. 11 Cambridge-Isanti 4-3 in the opening round, single-elimination portion of the Section 7AAA tournament May 27 at Andover.
Cambridge-Isanti opened up a 4-2 lead with a two-run fifth inning. Andover scored once in the seventh inning, but couldn’t plate another run to end its season 8-8.
Fifth-seeded St. Francis also ended up on the wrong side of a 1-0 loss against No. 12 Duluth Denfield on Memorial Day.
The top four seeds each received an opening round bye and No. 4 Anoka hosted No. 8 North Branch May 30.
Fourth seed Legacy Christan Academy opened play in Section 4A with a 6-1 win against No. 13 seed Northern Lights Academy in Andover May 25.
Josh Peterson led the Lions with three hits and pitcher David Kraskey struck out 12 to pick up the win.