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State Baseball: It's a baseball state of mind

BOLD junior Matt Moorse pitching early in the first game of a West Central Conference doubleheader against Morris/CA at Chizek Field in Morris in a May 2019 file photo. Brooke Kern / Forumn News Service1 / 3
KMS pitcher Dylan Rudningen makes contact in a game against Browerville/Eagle Valley in Elrosa in a May 2019 file photo. Jake Schultz / Tribune2 / 3
Paynesville's Levi Bast rounds third and heads for home in a game against BBE in Paynesville in a May 2019 file photo. Jake Schultz / Tribune3 / 3

In recent years, BOLD has seen its baseball team peak at the wrong time.

"In the past, we'd peak on May 1 and then we stumble in the playoffs," said Warriors head coach Brian Kingery. "This year, we've had our stumbles in the regular season."

But in the playoffs, BOLD has been on top of its game, going undefeated in Section 2A with some of the best squads in the state in Springfield, New Ulm Cathedral and Mankato Loyola.

Kingery believes his team is playing its best baseball and got the No. 1 seed in the Class A state tournament. But that's hardly enough for the Warriors.

"When we won the section, we told the guys our job wasn't done yet," Kingery said. "We hope to go (to state) and hopefully cause some damage."

At 10 a.m. Thursday at the Mini Met in Jordan, BOLD (17-5) begins state against unseeded Sebeka (18-7), the Section 5A champions.

"They're a pretty good team by the looks of it," Kingery said. "(Pitcher Kolby) Kiser has pretty good numbers; he must be pretty dominant. We think he'll throw a good, hard fastball. But our guys can hit hard fastballs and if we get a good look, we can make things happen."

While the Warriors sport top-tier hitters like Braeden Tersteeg, Riley Weis and Jordan Sagedahl — the best player in Class A in Kingery's opinion — the entire lineup has been bashing the ball all spring.

"We think our lineup is the best it's been all year and the big thing about that is our bottom half is producing," Kingery said. "In our first game against Springfield, all nine had a hit. We saw good pitching and everyone was contributing. That's what makes a single A team tough ... Our bottom half is making pitchers work."

BOLD is the only team in the Class A tournament to have previously won a state title. Likewise, third-seeded Hayfield and fourth-seeded Randolph are making their first ever state appearances while Sacred Heart and South Ridge are in for just the second time.

"There's a lot of unfamiliarity," Kingery said. "If you look at the teams over the last seven, eight years, us and New York Mills are the two that are familiar but they haven't made it for a few years and we haven't made it for a few years. A lot of players are unfamiliar to the situation.

"It's going to be a lot of fun to see who steps up in the big moment. Some have opportunities to make history for their school and their program and I hope it's my kids that do that."

KMS readies for Randolph ace

Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg played in three section finals in four years before making state this spring for the first time in 19 years.

Likewise, Randolph, the Fighting Saints' first-round opponent, had a similar breakthrough. After losing in section finals in two out of the last three years, the Rockets finally reached state for the first time this spring.

"I know they lost in the section finals last year to Heritage Christian and then they went on to win state," said KMS head coach James Cortez.

Both teams have waited long enough for a state trip, they don't want a chance at a state title to end after one round.

"Their record indicates they're a solid squad with a good core of seniors and juniors," Cortez said. "They're looking a lot like us on paper with a good older group and one top-end pitcher."

That ace is Andrew Wenstrom, who is 7-1 this spring with a 0.35 ERA and 90 strikeouts. He's also one of their top offensive players with a .395 batting average.

But, the Saints know plenty about facing off against top pitching.

"We've seen quite a few aces," Cortez said. "The key is putting the ball in place, so we got to get on base and break something open. We've lived by the big inning all year, then with our pitching and defense we've been able to win. We expect to see everyone's best."

Fifth-seeded KMS and fourth-seeded Randolph will square off at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Mini Met in Jordan.

Plenty of 'Dogs on the mound

Few teams in any class can match the pitching depth Paynesville brings to the state tournament.

Heading into their Class AA state matchup with fourth-seeded Perham, the fifth-seeded Bulldogs sport three pitchers with 34-plus innings on the mound in Grady Fuchs, Carter Wessel and Sam Oehrlein. And that group doesn't include another strong hurler in Caden Spanier.

"It's nice to be three deep as far as pitching goes. We feel very good about our pitching depth," said Paynesville head coach Brad Skoglund. "And the nice thing about the staff is they're juniors."

That kind of high-caliber pitching could help immensely at state. But first thing's first: the Yellowjackets.

"Last year they won state in the legion tournament," Skoglund said. "They have good players, no doubt. ... We're going to have to take care of ourselves and not worry so much about who we're playing. We have to play to our strength."

Perham packs plenty of punch with five players with 20-plus RBIs and an offense that ranked third in Class AA with 9.3 runs per game.

The inverse of that is Paynesville, which is third in AA with 1.9 runs allowed per game.

"The thing is, all the teams are good at state," Skoglund said. "All are good hitting teams, good pitching and good defense. Whoever plays the best over the next couple games will come out on top. Right now, we just have to be better than Perham."

The Bulldogs and Yellowjackets are stated to play at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.

Class A

1-BOLD Warriors

Record: 17-5

Conference: West Central

Head Coach: Brian Kingery

State Appearances: 4 (2012, 2013, 2014, 2019)

State Championships: 1 (2013)

Top Hitters:

Jordan Sagedahl (.493 average, 1 HR, 29 RBIs)

Braeden Tersteeg (.384 average, 1 HR, 16 RBIs)

Riley Weis (.369 average, 2 HR, 18 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Jordan Sagedahl (4-3, 46 IP, 1.26 ERA, 57 SO)

Hayden Tersteeg (4-2, 41 IP, 1.37 ERA, 37 SO)

Matt Moorse (7-0, 37.2 IP, 1.67 ERA, 42 SO)

2-New York Mills Eagles

Record: 19-4

Conference: Park Region

Head Coach: Dustin Geiser

State Appearances: 7 (1992, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Logan Small (.395 average, 17 RBIs)

Derin Gaudette (.348 average, 14 RBIs)

Corey Roberts (.303 average, 2 HR, 18 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Caden Roberts (6-2, 59 IP, 1.54 ERA, 58 SO)

Logan Small (5-1, 36 IP, 1.16 ERA, 57 SO)

3-Hayfield Vikings

Record: 22-2

Conference: Gopher

Head Coach: Kasey Krekling

State Appearances: 1 (2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Easton Fritcher (.382 average, 2 HR, 26 RBIs)

Brady Nelson (.376 average, 21 RBIs)

Mason Tapp (.303 average, 1 HR, 23 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Easton Fritcher (9-0, 51 IP, 1.10 ERA, 69 SO)

Brady Nelson (8-0, 43.2 IP, 2.24 ERA, 47 SO)

Luke Dudycha (4-2, 40.2 IP, 2.24 ERA, 38 SO)

4-Randolph Rockets

Record: 21-2

Conference: Southeast

Head Coach: Chris Stanton

State Appearances: 1 (2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Andrew Wenstrom (.395 average, 17 RBIs)

Dane Ehleringer (.358 average, 1 HR, 29 RBIs)

AJ Weidner (.358 average, 23 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Andrew Wenstrom (7-1, 59.2 IP, 0.35 ERA, 90 SO)

5-Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Fighting Saints

Record: 20-2

Conference: Camden

Head Coach: James Cortez

State Appearances: 3 (1991, 2000, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Dylan Rudningen (.429 average, 22 RBIs)

Isaac Call (.400 average, 1 HR, 31 RBIs)

Weston Gjerde (.383 average, 23 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Alex Call (8-1, 46.2 IP, 0.60 ERA, 75 SO)

Sacred Heart Eagles

Record: 13-8

Conference: Northwest Diamond

Head Coach: Paul Bethke

State Appearances: 2 (2018, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Cullen Rohrich (.400 average, 2 HR, 13 RBIs)

Brenden Bethke (.373 average, 1 HR, 14 RBIs)

Oscar Ortiz (.339 average, 8 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Brenden Bethke (6-1, 41.1 IP, 0.68 ERA, 66 SO)

Oscar Ortiz (2-2, 36.1 IP, 1.35 ERA, 34 SO)

South Ridge Panthers

Record: 20-6

Conference: Polar

Head Coach: Tyler Olin

State Appearances: 2 (2018, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Mason Lane (.403 average, 28 RBIs)

Logan Young (.403 average, 23 RBIs)

Connor Bushbaum (.377 average, 3 HR, 23 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Mason Lane (5-1, 40 IP, 1.57 ERA, 49 SO)

Sebeka Trojans

Record: 18-7

Conference: Park Region

Head Coach: Jeff Lake

State Appearances: 4 (1993, 2007, 2010, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Noah Stevens (.414 average, 1 HR, 23 RBIs)

Mason Dailey (.361 average, 1 HR, 25 RBIs)

Spencer Lake (.342 average, 5 HR, 19 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Kolby Kiser (8-0, 53 IP, 0.40 ERA, 96 SO)

Spencer Lake (6-3, 53.2 IP, 1.70 ERA, 70 SO)

Class A schedule

First round

Thursday, June 13

At Mini Met, Jordan

1-BOLD vs. Sebeka, 10 a.m.

5-KMS vs. 4-Randolph, 12:30 p.m.

South Ridge vs. 2-New York Mills, 3 p.m.

Sacred Heart at 3-Hayfield, 5:30 p.m.

Championship semifinals

Friday, June 14

At Mini Met, Jordan

TBD, noon/2:30 p.m.

Third-place game

Friday, June 14

At Mini Met, Jordan

TBD, 5 p.m.

Consolation bracket

Friday, June 14

At Chaska Athletic Field

Semifinals, 10 a.m./12:30 p.m.

Finals, 3 p.m.

Class A Championship

Thursday, June 20

At Target Field

TBD, 10 a.m.

Class AA

1-Duluth-Marshall Hilltoppers

Record: 23-1

Conference: Lake Superior

Head Coach: Joe Wicklund

State Appearances: 3 (2017, 2018, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Ben Pedersen (.531 average, 18 RBIs)

Tyler Johnson (.486 average, 36 RBIs)

Peter Hansen (.474 average, 25 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Ben Pedersen (9-0, 50.1 IP, 0.97 ERA, 78 SO)

Brett Benson (6-0, 36.1 IP, 0.58 ERA, 30 SO)

2-Minnehaha Academy Redhawks

Record: 18-4

Conference: Independent Metro Athletic

Head Coach: Scott Glenn

State Appearances: 6 (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)

State Championships: 2 (2016, 2017)

Top Hitters:

Bennett Theisen (.381 average, 1 HR, 14 RBIs)

Noah Dehne (.358 average, 4 HR, 24 RBIs)

Jake McCabe (.365 average, 1 HR, 15 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Brock Brumley (6-2, 58.1 IP, 1.59 ERA, 59 SO)

Bennett Theisen (6-1, 46 IP, 0.76 ERA, 60 SO)

3-Foley Falcons

Record: 24-3

Conference: Granite Ridge

Head Coach: Mike Beier

State Appearances: 1 (2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Drew Beier (.433 average, 2 HR, 25 RBIs)

Mark Dierkes (.341 average, 32 RBIs)

Noah Novak (.382 average, 1 HR, 31 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Drew Beier (8-1, 56.1 IP, 0.87 ERA, 56 SO)

Tyler Mattson (4-0, 34.2 IP, 0.40 ERA, 52 SO)

4-Perham Yellowjackets

Record: 22-2

Conference: Heart O Lakes

Head Coach: James Mulcahy

State Appearances: 9 (1978, 1984, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2013, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Maddux Kovash (.438 average, 2 HR, 24 RBIs)

Dawson Stevens (.463 average, 1 HR, 24 RBIs)

Carter Mulcahy (.382 average, 1 HR, 22 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Noah Rooney (6-1, 41 IP, 1.53 ERA, 83 SO)

Maddux Kovash (5-0, 35 IP, 1.40 ERA, 32 SO)

5-Paynesville Bulldogs

Record: 21-2

Conference: Central Minnesota

Head Coach: Brad Skoglund

State Appearances: 6 (2002, 2005, 2006, 2016, 2018, 2019)

State Championships: 1 (2005)

Top Hitters:

Grady Fuchs (.392 average, 19 RBIs)

Carter Wessel (.347 average, 2 HR, 26 RBIs)

Luke Johnson (.343 average, 1 HR, 16 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Grady Fuchs (7-1, 58.2 IP, 0.59 ERA, 87 SO)

Carter Wessel (7-1, 43 IP, 1.14 ERA, 45 SO)

Sam Oehrlein (5-0, 34 IP, 1.82 ERA, 46 SO)

Glencoe-Silver Lake Panthers

Record: 19-5

Conference: Wright County

Head Coach: Dean Schwirtz

State Appearances: 6 (1996, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2019)

State Championships: None

Top Hitters:

Stats unavailable

Top Pitchers:

Stats unavailable

La Crescent-Hokah Lancers

Record: 21-5

Conference: Three Rivers

Head Coach: Rick Boyer

State Appearances: 8 (1986, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2019)

State Championships: 1 (2009)

Top Hitters:

Sam Wieser (.437 average, 1 HR, 27 RBIs)

Nick Peterson (.345 average, 17 RBIs)

Cade McCool (.342 average, 17 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Bryce Weymiller (10-1, 69 IP, 0.51 ERA, 81 SO)

St. Peter Saints

Record: 19-5

Conference: Big South

Head Coach: Kurt Moelter

State Appearances: 6 (1957, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1982, 2019)

State Championships: 1 (1977)

Top Hitters:

Tyson Sowder (.500 average, 21 RBIs)

Andy Regner (.400 average, 1 HR, 22 RBIs)

Hunter Wilmes (.419 average, 3 HR, 32 RBIs)

Top Pitchers:

Andy Regner (9-0, 66.2 IP, 2.16 ERA, 76 SO)

Class A schedule

First round

Thursday, June 13

At Dick Putz Field, St. Cloud

Glencoe-Silver Lake vs. 1-Duluth Marshall, 10 a.m.

5-Paynesville vs. 4-Perham, 12:30 p.m.

La Crescent-Hokah vs. 2-Minnehaha Academy, 3 p.m.

St. Peter vs. 3-Foley, 5:30 p.m.

Championship semifinals

Friday, June 14

At Dick Putz Field, St. Cloud

TBD, noon/2:30 p.m.

Third-place game

Friday, June 14

At Dick Putz Field, St. Cloud

TBD, 5 p.m.

Consolation bracket

Friday, June 14

At Joe Faber Field, St. Cloud

Semifinals, 10 a.m./12:30 p.m.

Finals, 3 p.m.

Class AA Championship

Thursday, June 20

At Target Field

TBD, 1 p.m.

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