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Rosemount loses 2 of 3 in Sweet 16

Rosemount's Legion baseball team wrapped up a solid season last week after losing two of three in the round of 16 during district play.

"I think we had a great year," Rosemount coach Justin Blackmer said. "A lot of the younger players stepped up."

Rosemount played without four or five starters off the Irish high school team, which advanced to the state tournament last spring.

"We beat expectations," Blackmer said. "A lot of guys improved over the summer. A lot of the younger players got a lot of playing time."

After sweeping Hastings in a best of three series two weeks ago, Rosemount advanced to the Sweet 16, where it faced Eagan in the first round.

Eagan used its ace pitcher to shut down the Irish, 5-0.

"We had no bats going at all," Blackmer said.

Blake Schwartz started on the mound and pitched well for Rosemount.

"He gave up five runs in the first inning, and then he didn't allow a run for the rest of the game," Blackmer said.

Rosemount wasn't able to mount much of an offensive threat to get back into the game after Eagan's first-inning rally.

"They threw their ace at us," Blackmer said. "He was a pretty good lefty who is clocked in the low 90s. We didn't have much offense at all."

After the loss, Rosemount was dropped into the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

In the second round, the Irish turned things around in a hurry with an 18-5 win over Chaska.

"Eugene Sturm pitched a gem in that game," Blackmer said. "After we beat Chaska, things were looking good."

Sturm pitched five innings and didn't allow an earned run, while striking out six.

He struck out the final three batters he faced.

Chris Couillard relieved Sturm and finished the game.

The offense was potent, and a variety of hitters had big games.

Blair Hansen had three hits, including two doubles, and scored four runs.

Justin Wallace had three hits, including a double, and scored three runs.

Schwartz had three hits, scored two runs and had a double.

"Our bats were on fire," Blackmer said. "Everyone on the whole squad was hitting in that game."

Blackmer also praised the play of Matt Foley, who played well at the end of the year at catcher.

"He threw out pretty much every runner that stole in this tournament," Blackmer said. "His bat is starting to heat up now too."

In the third round, Rosemount's bats again went into a funk and a red-hot St. Paul Park squad ended its season by the 10-run rule, 16-6.

"We just didn't come to play," Blackmer said.

Rosemount started off with a 1-0 lead after the first inning.

The score remained 1-0 until the sixth inning, when things fell apart for Rosemount.

St. Paul Park put 16 runs on the board over a two-inning period to put the game out of reach and end Rosemount's season.

"We kind of ran out of arms," Blackmer said. "We were missing some of our key players out on vacation."