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Ridgewater in title game today

ST. CLOUD -- The Ridgewater baseball team is in the championship.

The Warriors (31-13) beat Dakota County 5-4 in the loser's bracket final Sunday and advanced to the MCAC State/Region 13 championship at 11 a.m. today against Riverland at Faber Field in St. Cloud.

Riverland, who beat the Warriors 5-1 earlier on Sunday, is the defending state and Region 13 champion.

Ridgewater advanced in winner's bracket Saturday with a 5-2 win over St. Cloud Technical College.

Amidst three wins in four games, the one that stuck out in coach Joel Barta's mind was the loss to Riverland.

"The first game (Sunday) we really played tight," he said. "We didn't get it done. We didn't center pitches we normally center."

Riverland starter Kyal Williams held Ridgewater to three hits and struck out nine.

The Warriors leaned on their starting pitchers, all of whom went at least five innings, then when the situation called for it, brought in a reliever to close it out. Closer Cody Johnson had two saves.

"There's a reason why we tried to create balance in our staff," Barta said. "We need to have enough arms for a tournament like this."

Ridgewater, one of the top hitting teams in NJCAA Division III baseball, clubbed 16 hits in the two wins, including back-to-back home runs from Cody Connors and Clint Aretz in Saturday's win.

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