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Dominant pitching, timely hitting carry Irish through 3AAAA

Brad Heimkes receives a throw into second base during the Irish baseball team's 3-1 win over Park of Cottage Grove in the first round of the Section 3AAAA tournament. The Irish take on East Ridge in the semifinals Friday, June 2. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia

An 8-10 regular season doesn't mean much when you're entering the section tournament with two dominant starting pitchers.

That's why fifth-seeded Rosemount finds itself set to take on East Ridge (15-7) in Section 3AAAA semifinals Friday, June 2, at Memorial Field in Dundas. The Irish rode 6 2/3 strong innings from Griffin Lanoue to a 3-1 victory over Park of Cottage Grove in the first round May 25, and then got a dominant complete-game effort from Aidan Maldonado in a 6-1 upset of top-seeded Burnsville Monday, May 29, in Dundas.

Maldonado struck out 11 batters while holding the Blaze to six hits. He was put in position to get the win when the Irish plated six runs in the top of the sixth inning. Ryan Lemke started the rally with an RBI double and came around to score the go-ahead run on a Colin Pomeroy single. Two hit-by-pitches, a walk and a Nate Ebeling single then set the table for Ethan Engdahl's bases-clearing triple.

Maldonado went back to work after that, striking out the side in the bottom of the sixth and inducing a double play in the seventh to end the game.

Lanoue fanned 10 Park hitters over the first 6 2/3 innings last Thursday before Maldonado came on with the bases loaded to get the one-out save. In all, Park left 10 runners stranded.

Engdahl gave Rosemount the lead with a two-out RBI single in the fourth inning. The hit scored Ebeling, who was hit by a pitch.

An inning later, Ebeling and Alec Schimmel came through with singles to bring in two more runs.