Mudcats, Saints earn state tourney berths

Tanner Oakes, shown in St. Benedict's win over New Prague on Tuesday, was the winning pitcher in the Saints' 2-1 win over Faribault Friday, earning the team a spot in the State Class C Tournament.

The Prior Lake Mudcats and St. Benedict Saints earned the final two berths into the state tournament from Region 3C with wins on Friday evening.

Prior Lake’s Ben Morrison struck out nine and allowed just four hits in a 7-0 shutout over Lonsdale. Luke Weber, Cole Bjorge and Jake Lehrer each had two this for the Mudcats. Tyler Milford started for Lonsdale and took the loss.

Meanwhile St. Benedict defeated Faribault 2-1 behind the pitching of Tanner Oakes. Oakes started and went seven innings, allowing four hits, then returned to the mound. Then, with runners on first and third and two out in the eight, Oakes came back to pitch the final 1-1/3 innings. He survived a ninth inning that had two runners on and one out, striking out the final two batters. Matt Lane pitched a gem for Faribault and also drove in the Lakers’ only run.

With the four state entrants decided, the Region 3C double-elimination tournament continues Sunday as teams will play for seeding at state. In the winners’ bracket, New Market hosts St. Patrick at 1 p.m. In the loser’s bracket, Prior Lake will host St. Benedict. That game will also be played at 1 p.m., which is a change from the original schedule due to field availability. The loser of that game will be the No. 4 seed from the region at state. The winner of that game takes on the loser of the New Market-Prior Lake game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7. The championship game is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9, with an additional game to be played Sunday, Aug. 9, if necessary.

The State Class C Tournament will begin Friday, Aug. 16, at Delano, Maple Lake and Dassel.

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