A rout, followed by a pair of dramatic victories, secured a spot in the Section 7AAAA championship for Andover baseball, with a winner-take-all clash against Forest Lake scheduled to be held June 9.
Andover led off the postseason with a 12-1 five-inning victory over Cambridge-Isanti June 2 behind four shutout innings from Samuel Angell. Max Hunter homered, Logan Myers doubled twice and Kyle Law scored three runs to power the Huskies at the plate.
The Huskies went on to win their second round game in dramatic fashion 2-1 over Blaine the next day. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Myers leveled the score with a home run, followed shortly after by Carson Wadel doubling home Anthony Pardo for a walk-off win. Josh Stoll pitched four innings, allowing just one unearned run, and Adam Novak picked up the win with three scoreless innings of relief. AJ Kaul pitched six innings and allowed only one run for Blaine.
Andover delivered another rally in its next outing June 5, defeating Forest Lake 4-3 in nine innings to reach the section finals, with Hunter driving in Noah Dagostino for the walk-off score. Logan Gravink had three hits and Law reached base three times and scored twice. Eli Nyhammer earned the win with 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief.
Forest Lake emerged back through the elimination bracket and defeated Andover 4-2 June 8 to force a decisive final game for a trip to state. The Class AAAA state quarterfinals, semifinals and third-place game will be held June 15-16 in Chaska, with the championship June 18 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Coon Rapids split four games to reach the final four of Section 7AAAA. The Cardinals dropped their first round game 2-0 at Centennial, then bounced back to defeat Duluth East 10-7 and Blaine 4-0 before falling against Centennial 13-2 in an elimination game. Sam Halvorson and Jack Vlasaty both drove in two in the win over Duluth East.
In its playoff opener, Blaine rallied for a 4-3 win over Anoka. Adam Puder and Joey Powers each had a pair of hits and Gavin Gillen got the final five outs for the win in relief.
Anoka rolled to an 18-4 win over Cambridge-Isanti in its first elimination bracket game before falling 7-2 against Centennial. Jacob Deutschman drove in three and scored two runs and Jack Novack had a pair of hits and drove in two in the win over C-I.
In Section 5AAA, St. Francis rallied back after a first-round defeat to win three games in a row to reach the elimination bracket final, scheduled to be played June 9 against Monticello. The Saints defeated St. Cloud Apollo 8-3, St. Cloud Tech 9-3 and Big Lake 3-0. If the Saints defeat Monticello, they would need to defeat Sauk Rapids-Rice back-to-back to advance to state.
Spring Lake Park reached the final four of Section 5AAAA, earning a pair of playoff wins before narrowly falling 3-2 against Irondale in an elimination game June 7.
Fridley battled its way to the final three of the Section 4AAA Tournament. After a first-round win, the Tigers nearly knocked off top-seeded Hill-Murray, falling 4-3 in the second round June 3. Fridley rebounded to defeat St. Paul Como Park 11-2 June 5 and St. Paul Johnson 6-4 in nine innings June 8 before falling 6-0 in a rematch against Hill-Murray in the ensuing elimination bracket final.
In Section 4A, Legacy Christian Academy just missed out on reaching the championship game, falling 9-8 against Mayer Lutheran in the elimination bracket final. The Lions earned three wins in the tournament.