College Baseball: Ridgewater Warriors reach region tournament

Warriors' season stays alive after 4-1 win over Anoka-Ramsey

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WILLMAR — Thanks to the white-hot arm of Bennett Knapper, the Ridgewater baseball team is headed to the Region XIII tournament.

Playing Game 3 of a best-of-three series with Anoka-Ramsey Saturday at Bill Taunton Stadium, Knapper threw a complete game in the Warriors’ 4-1 victory.

The two teams split on Friday, with the Golden Rams winning 5-1 in Game 1 and the Warriors taking Game 2, 7-3.

A sophomore right-handed pitcher from Yellow Medicine East, Knapper struck out seven, allowing one run on five hits and one walk on Saturday.

“Bennett was lights out,” said Ridgewater head coach Tyler Hebrink. “In 20 innings since we got back from Florida, he’s only given up two runs.”


The Warriors needed that kind of pitching performance as both teams were scoreless through the first four-and-a-half innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Ridgewater was the first to break through.

Sam Etterman drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the first run. The next batter, Reece Schwirtz, hit an RBI single. Then Knapper helped his own cause with a bases-loaded walk to complete the three-run frame.

They tacked on one more run in the sixth after Nolan Spence scored on a passed ball.

“We were able to string some things together,” Hebrink said of the Warriors’ fifth inning. “The way Bennett was throwing it, we needed two runs. Luckily, we were able to get a few more.”

Seeding for Region XIII takes place Monday, and the two-day tournament begins Thursday. Games will be played at Joe Faber Field and Dick Putz Field at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex. At stake is a super regional berth.

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Ridgewater 4, Anoka-Ramsey 1

Anoka-Ramsey   000   001   0-1   5   0
Ridgewater     000   031   x-4   7   1
Hitting - Anoka-Ramsey: Jeremy Brown 1-2 r bb, Jacob Contreras 1-3, Ricky Ramsdell 2-3 2b rbi, Hunter Wavinak 1-3 … Ridgewater: Sam Etterman 0-1 rbi bb-2, Reece Schwirtz 1-3 rbi, Bennett Knapper 1-2 rbi bb, Nolan Spence 1-3 r, Josh Robb 1-3 r, Matt Beacom 1-1 2b r bb, Nikson Knapper 2-3 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Anoka-Ramsey: Daniel Pacheco (L) 4.1-6-3-3-3-0, Brett Sullivan 1.2-1-1-1-1-0 … Ridgewater: B. Knapper (W) 7-5-1-1-1-7

Joe Brown is a sports reporter for the West Central Tribune.

He can be reached via email at: or his office number: 320-214-4332.
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