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Rockets roar

Raymond players and coaches celebrate after beating Sobieski 5-4 in the Class C Amateur Baseball state championship game Sunday. Clay Cunningham / Tribune1 / 4
The Raymond Rockets hoist the Class C State Championship trophy after topping Sobieski 5-4 in the championship game Sunday. It was Raymond's first state title.2 / 4
Austin Deutz delivers a sixth-inning pitch. Deutz three three-and-a-third innings of scoreless relief, helping the Rockets clinch a state title. Clay Cunningham / Tribune3 / 4
Raymond's Calvin Kosminskas (right) rounds second while attempting to avoid Sobieski's Collin Eckman. Clay Cunningham / Tribune4 / 4

DASSEL - Up with the bases loaded and the state championship game tied at one, Tyler Steen was simply looking to duplicate the outcome of his first at bat, when he delivered an RBI sacrifice fly.

The end result of this plate trip proved to be far more rewarding.

Steen blasted a grand slam off Sobieski starter Tyler Jendro, delivering the decisive hit for the Rockets, who clinched the Class C Amateur Baseball State Championship with a 5-4 win in Dassel Sunday.

"I was just trying to get something to the outfield so we could score at least one (run), said Steen, who was named tournament MVP. "The fact that it went over the fence was purely a bonus".

The Rockets nearly saw their lead disappear in Sobieski's ensuing at bat. The Skis scored three times and had runners at second and third with just one out in the top of the sixth.

But reliever Austin Deutz, a postseason draftee from Milroy, retired the next two batters and held Sobieski off for good, throwing 3-2/3 innings of shutout relief.

Though Steen's grand slam was the biggest highlight, an ability to escape jams may have been the biggest difference for the Rockets, who won despite having seven fewer hits and three more errors than Sobieski.

"We just found a way to get things done," Rocket Manager Butch Steen said. "Everybody chipped in. That's what it takes to do something like this."

Winning the first state title in Raymond history in a game where his son delivered the decisive hit clearly hit home for Butch Steen, who fought back tears after the game.

"It's unreal," he said. "It's just a dream to have done this."

Class C Championship

Raymond 5, Sobieski 4

Sobieski 001 003 000-4 16 0

Raymond 100 040 00x-5 9 3

Hitting - Sobieski: Beau Hanowski 2-5 rbi, Joey Hanowski 3-5, Tyler Jendro 2-4 rbi ... Raymond: Mike Jeseritz 3-4 r-2, Justin Koenen 2-3 r, Tyler Steen 1-3 gs rbi-5 r, Calvin Kosminskas 2-4 2b, Eric Hulterstrum 1-3 r

Pitching - Sobieski: Jendro (L) 8-9-5-5-1-5 ... Raymond: Alex Lothammer (W) 5.1-12-4-2-0-2, Austin Deutz (Sv) 3.2-4-0-0-0-3

Sunday's semifinals

HUTCHINSON—Kyle Knot had four RBIs and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, as Raymond topped Lastrup 11-5 to advance to the championship game of the Minnesota Class C Amateur Baseball State Tournament.

Knott, who drove in runs in his first four at bats, broke a 5-5 tie when he brought around Justin Koenen with a seventh-inning single. The Rockets would score four more runs in the frame, where they belted six hits and sent 10 batters to the plate.

The game was strikingly similar to Raymond's morning tilt with Nisswa. In the opener, the Rockets fell behind 2-0, rallied to take a 4-2 lead, then exploded for six runs in the seventh.

Against the Lakers, they gave up four runs in the top of the first inning, surged to tie the game at five, before again putting it away in the seventh inning.

Jordan Smith had a game-high four hits for Raymond, which outhit Lastrup 19-8. The top six hitters in the lineup were particularly potent, combining for 16 hits, nine runs and seven RBIs.

It's the Rockets' first appearance in the state championship game. Sobieski earned its spot in the championship game with an 8-3 victory over Hutchinson on Sunday.

Raymond 11, Lastrup 5

Lastrup 400 010 000-5 8 2

Raymond 201 020 51x-11 19 1

Hitting—Lastrup: Paul Herman 2-4 r, Brad Meyer 1-4 2b rbi-2... Raymond: Mike Jeseritz 3-5 r-2 rbi, Justin Koenen 2-5 2b r-2, Tyler Steen 2-5 3b r-2, Kyle Knott 3-4 r-2 rbi-4, Jordan Smith 4-5 r rbi, Calvin Kosminskas 2-5 2b rbi, Austin Smith 1-4 r rbi, Brett Swanson 1-2 r rbi, Cole Christianson 1-1

Pitching—Lastrup: Eric Lampert 3-5-3-3-1-0, Scott Janson (L) 3.1-9-6-5-0-2,Reggie Litke 1.2-5-2-2-1-1... Raymond: John Sawatzky (W) 7-7-5-4-1-2, Zach Nelson 2-1-0-0-0-1

Sunday's quarterfinals

DASSEL—Austin Smith had four RBIs, Justin Koenen and Kyle Knott each had three hits and two runs scored, and Raymond crushed Nisswa 10-2 to advance in the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Class C state tournament Sunday morning.

After falling behind 2-0, the Rockets scored 10 consecutive runs. They put a still tight game away emphatically in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring six runs.

Raymond 10, Nisswa 2

Nisswa 020 000 000-2 7 2

Raymond 122 000 60x-10 15 1

Hitting - Nisswa: Nate DeChaine 3-3 hr 2b rbi r, Drew Boland 1-3 rbi ... Raymond: Mike Jeseritz 2-5 rbi, Justin Koenen 3-4 2b r-2, Tyler Steen 2-5 2b rbi r, Kyle Knott 3-4 hr 2b rbi-2 r-2, Jordan Smith 1-4 rbi, Calvin Kosminskas 1-2 rbi r, Eric Hulterstrum 0-3 r-2, Austin Smith 2-5 2b rbi-4 r, Brett Swanson 1-4

Pitching - Nisswa: Scott Sand (L) 3-8-4-3-0-2, Luke Schumer 3-3-2-2-2-0, DeChaine 1-3-4-4-3-1, Jason Roepke 1-1-0-0-1-1 ... Raymond: Cole Christianson (W) 7-6-2-2-2-2, Zach Nelson 2-1-0-0-0-0

Saturday's Round of 16

Tyler Steen doubled in Mike Jeseritz in the bottom of the 15th inning as Raymond advanced to the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Class C quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over the Sartell Muskies on Saturday.

The Rockets and Muskies engaged in an epic pitching battle, with starters Alex Lothammer of Raymond and Sartell's John Schumer both working eight strong innings and surrendering a run apiece.

Raymond's Tyler Knott relieved Lothammer and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out two. Sartell's Max Koprek and Adam Wenker combined for 5-2/3 innings of three-hit relief.

But in the bottom of the 15th, Jeseritz led off with a single off Wenker and advanced to second on Justin Koenen's sacrifice bunt. Steen followed with the game-winning double.

Jeseritz had three hits and he and Koenen scored Raymond's runs. Steen had two hits and Calvin Kosminskas was 3-for-6 with a double. Jordan Smith drove in the Rockets' other run in the fourth inning.

Raymond 2, Sartell 1

Sartell 020 000 000 100 000 000-1 10 0

Raymond 000 100 000 000 001-2 11 0

Hitting - Nisswa: Andrew Deters 3-7, Jace Otto 3-6 2b r, Cody Partch 1-4 rbi ... Raymond: Mike Jeseritz 3-7 r, Justin Koenen 1-5 r, Tyler Steen 2-7 2b rbi, Jordan SMith 1-6 rbi, John Sawatzky 1-5, Calvin Kosminskas 3-6 2b

Pitching - Sartell: John Schumer 8.1-8-1-1-0-6, Max Koprek 1.2-0-0-0-1, Adam Wenker (L) 4.1-3-1-1-0-5... Raymond: Alex Lothammer 9-7-1-1-1-5, Tyler Knott (W) 6-3-0-0-0-2