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Rockets punch ticket to Class C state title game

Raymond pitcher John Sawatzky (left) tags out Lastrup's Brad Meyer on a failed suicide squeeze attempt in the first inning. Sawatzky overcame a disastrous start, allowing just one run in his final six innings. Raymond won 11-5 to reach the state title game. Clay Cunningham / Tribune

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.

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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. They will face Sobieski, which topped Hutchinson 8-3 in Sunday's other semifinal, at 3 p.m. Monday in Dassel.

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