WACONIA -- Willmar pitchers Brady Bauman and Bryan Weidemann outdueled Benilde-St. Margaret's Zachary Carden and the Cardinals won the Section 6AAA championship 3-2 on Wednesday.
The Cardinals are on to the Class AAA state tournament for the first time since 1987, and they open tournament play on June 14 at Siebert Field on the University of Minnesota campus.
Willmar scored all three of its runs in the first inning and Bauman and Weidemann made them hold up. Weidemann worked five innings, allowing one earned run on four hits. Weidemann threw two hitless innings, walking one and striking out two.
Drey Dirksen and Caleb Ditmarson drove in first-inning runs. Andy Schultz had two hits and scored a run and Jack Baumgart drew two walks and also scored. Dirksen scored the Cardinals' other run.
Zak Madsen had two hits and Jon Broman tripled.
Willmar will be making its third state tourney appearance. The Cards defeated Hopkins 5-4 to win the 1987 championship and Willmar lost 6-5 to Owatonna in the 1974 championship game. Willmar enters with a 5-1 record in the state tournament.
See this web site and Thursday's Tribune print edition for more on Wednesday's game.