Senior Babe Ruth: Aces advance to state
The Rosemount Senior Babe Ruth baseball team gave up four runs in the top of the first inning of its White Division district tournament opener last Thursday at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville.
After that, it was all Aces.
The Aces rallied to defeat Elko 9-4 and went on to take a pair of games from Apple Valley over the weekend to capture Rosemount's second straight trip to the Senior Babe Ruth State Tournament.
The Aces, with a record of 13-6, opened play in the 10-team double-elimination tournament Tuesday morning against Edina at Eagan High School. Play concludes this weekend with the winning team advancing to the Midwest Plains Regional in Colorado.
"The kids are very excited about going to state. We didn't talk about it much during the season -- our goal was just to play well," Rosemount coach Steve Lufkin said. "A lot of the players did not see a lot of playing time during the high school season or didn't play at all, and they all really pulled together as a team. We're excited to see what happens at state."
A big reason the Aces were able to advance to state was the pitching of Mitch Olson, who picked up a pair of wins in district play as he improved to 6-2 on the season. The lefty shut out Elko for the final six innings of the first-round game, striking out nine, and came back Saturday to hold Apple Valley to one earned run on four hits in a 7-2 championship game victory.
"Mitch has really been outstanding for us all year," Lufkin said.
Rosemount took the lead in the championship game with four runs in the top of the third inning. The Aces tacked on one more in the fourth and two in the sixth. Luke Cassell led the offense with two hits and two RBI and Chris Leske and Blake Reinhardt each added two RBI.
The Aces advanced to the championship by rallying past Apple Valley 10-7 in Friday's semifinals.
Apple Valley led 5-2 before Rosemount pushed across eight runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Connor Wolf had three hits and three RBI out of the leadoff spot and Olson, Reinhardt and Cassell each had a pair of hits.
Ryan Green had an RBI triple and scored two runs. He also picked up the win on the mound, pitching 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Leske, who lasted 3 1/3.
Reinhardt struck out the side in the seventh to earn the save.
The Aces pounded out 14 hits in their first-round game against Elko. Wolf and Reinhardt tallied three hits apiece and Leske and Joe Waite each added a pair.
Reinhardt and Zach Zaboj each scored two runs.