Baseball: Anoka, St. Francis keep hope alive, meet in final

St. Francis allowed just one run in each game of the first and second rounds of the Section 7AAA baseball tournament May 28-30.

The top-seeded Saints pounded out 14 hits in 7-1 win over Princeton and moved past No. 5 Chisago Lakes by a 5-1 score two days later.

Anoka senior Spencer Olson, left, tries to catch the ball at second base on a stolen base attempt May 28. Photo by Bill Jones
Anoka senior Spencer Olson, left, tries to catch the ball at second base on a stolen base attempt May 28.
Photo by Bill Jones

The Saints seemed to be rolling through the competition before a 5-4 loss to No. 2 seed Anoka in Forest Lake May 30.

The Tornadoes got to a usually stout St. Francis pitching staff to hit .419 and reach base at a .438 clip. Alex Farley was one of three batters with three hits, including a pair of doubles. Tanner Fry and Riley Perry joined Farley with three hits. Third baseman Trent Palmer went 2-for-4 while driving in three runs.

Farley and Palmer also worked together on the mound to keep Anoka perfect in section play. Farley surrendered four earned runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 1/3 innings. Palmer recorded the win in 3 2/3 innings of relief work. He gave up four hits and one walk but didn’t allow a run.

Saints junior George Bertels, left, is congratulated after a base hit in the Section 7AAA semifinal win. Photo by Kat Ladwig
Saints junior George Bertels, left, is congratulated after a base hit in the Section 7AAA semifinal win. Photo by Kat Ladwig

The day began with a 3-2 win over Grand Rapids behind a solid outing on the mound by Alex Pribyl. He gave up one earned run on three hits and two walks over seven innings of work.

Ryan Streetar came through with a clutch double to score Farley. Spencer Olson and Pribyl also drove in runs.

Anoka senior Emil Cienik, right, got to wear the dugout captain helmet during the Section 7AAA first-round game May 28. Chase Thomas, left, gives the helmet a knock on his way into the field. Photo by Bill Jones
Anoka senior Emil Cienik, right, got to wear the dugout captain helmet during the Section 7AAA first-round game May 28. Chase Thomas, left, gives the helmet a knock on his way into the field. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka opened sections with a 7-0 shutout of No. 7 Cambridge-Isanti at Castle Field in Anoka, May 28.

Alex Glick tossed a four-hit complete game shutout with three walks and three strikeouts to get Anoka off to a strong start in sections.

Palmer was 2-for-3 and scored twice as Farley and Brenden McCauley each drove in two runs.

Section 5AAA
Blaine (15-10) closed out the baseball season with a 9-3 loss to Centennial after rain pushed the game back one day and instead of CHS Field in St. Paul, St. Anthony Village High School was the site for the May 30 contest.

Centennial rallied to score six times in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 3-3 draw and continue section play.

The Bengals strung together a single run in three of the opening four innings of the game but couldn’t connect on more offensively.

Blaine senior pitcher Zach Rustad struck out nine in a complete-game win over Coon Rapids May 27.Photo by Matthew Davis
Blaine senior pitcher Zach Rustad struck out nine in a complete-game win over Coon Rapids May 27.Photo by Matthew Davis

Centerfielder Tyler Reichenborn walked to begin the game and was knocked in on a Zach Rustad sac fly. In the second inning it was a two-out RBI hit by Reichenborn to double the lead. Griffin Fussy came through with another two-out single this time to plate Garrett Gillen in the elimination game.

Centennial faced Maple Grove Monday at CHS Field, the new home of the St. Paul Saints.

Pitcher Ben Beckman took the loss while issuing 12 hits on eight earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.

The Bengals offense picked up three doubles and stranded five base runners compared to nine runners left on base for the Cougars which won the May 6 regular season meeting 6-5.

Centennial also handed the Bengals its first loss in sections, May 22, on a seventh-inning walk-off 1-0. The loss was tagged to Rustad who dropped to 4-3 this season despite holding the Cougars to one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Both teams stranded seven base runners in the second meeting of the season.

Fifth-seeded Blaine opened with the 1-0 loss to Centennial before a 2-1 win over Osseo May 25 followed by a 4-1 win over Coon Rapids May 27.

Legacy Christian's Jonnie Kraskey connects with a pitch during the Section 5A game against Upsala/Swanville Area Tuesday at Faber Field in St. Cloud. Photo by Tyler Ohmann
Legacy Christian’s Jonnie Kraskey connects with a pitch during the Section 5A game against Upsala/Swanville Area Tuesday at Faber Field in St. Cloud. Photo by Tyler Ohmann

The win over the Cardinals featured Rustad tossing a two-hitter with five strike outs for his fifth win of the season.

Rustad also knocked in a pair of runs while Reichenborn was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, two runs scored and stole two bases.

Blaine eliminated Coon Rapids from sections by scoring twice in the third inning and again two more runs in the fifth inning for what proved to be the difference. Conner Boone took the mound for Coon Rapids and gave up two earned runs on seven hits, three strike outs and three walks.

Reichenborn and Germain each had two hits while Germain and Rustad drove in two runs each.

Reichenborn also scored twice as did Elvidge.

St. Francis sophomore pitcher James Green works against Chisago Lakes during the Section 7AAA semifinal win. Photo by Kat Ladwig
St. Francis sophomore pitcher James Green works against Chisago Lakes during the Section 7AAA semifinal win. Photo by Kat Ladwig

Section 5A
Top seed Legacy Christian Academy opened section play with an 8-0 shutout of East Central in Andover May 22 and followed that with the first of three games played at Pierz High School in as many days.

The Lions scored a 4-2 win over No. 5 Braham to set up a rematch against rival PACT Charter School. The No. 2 seeded Panthers scored a 8-6 win to send Legacy one loss from ending the season. The Lions came through with an 8-2 win over No. 3 Hinckley-Finlayson May 28.

Legacy faced Upsala/Swanville Area Tuesday at Faber Field in St. Cloud in an elimination game. The winner faced Kimball for a chance to play PACT for the section title on June 4 at Faber Field.

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