Irish advance to state tournament’s final weekend St. Patrick will face Minnetonka in quarterfinals

Be it improbable or expected, St. Patrick is one of the final eight teams remaining in the Minnesota Baseball Association’s Class B state tournament after a 5-3 win Saturday, Aug. 26, in the round of 16.

The Irish topped Baseball 365, 5-3, in Delano. They’ll face the Minnetonka Millers Saturday, Sept. 2, 11 a.m., in Litchfield. Minnetonka. The Millers won Saturday, 8-0, over the Metro Knights. They took advantage of a dozen walks, four hits and three Knights' errors in the win.

A win over the Millers will advance St. Patrick to face the winners of Air Freight Unlimited/ Minneapolis Angels and Moorhead Brewers/Hopkins Berries Sunday, Sept. 3, noon, in Dassel. The tournament’s championship round is Sunday, Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m., in Dassel.

Irish manager Brent Goracke said his team is playing well, with offense, pitching and defense in a good place at the key time of the season.

“At this time of the year, it comes down to everything going right. If we make plays, we’ll be in good shape,” Goracke said.

Ryan Friedges is a potential starter for the Irish against the Millers. Friedges has been successful against Minnetonka and the St. Paul Capitals in the tournament’s opening round.

But after Ryan Friedges, the team’s pitching becomes a by-committee effort.

“We may have some position players pitching,” Goracke said. “We’ll see how it goes. You always try and have faith in your guys. If they show up and do what they have the ability to do, we have a good chance.”

St. Patrick 5, Baseball 365 3 The Irish built a 5-0 lead and then held off a late rally to claim the win and advance in the tournament.

St. Patrick scored twice in the first and third innings and added an important insurance run in the seventh frame on Jack Friedges’ home run for a 5-0 lead. Baseball 365 scored three unearned runs in the top of the eighth frame but couldn’t even the score. With the batter representing the tieing run, the Irish escaped the threat with an inning-ending double play.

Jack Friedges and Ben Taxdahl carried the St. Patrick offense. Jack Friedges ripped a home run and a double. He finished the day with three hits, one RBI and three runs scored. Taxdahl drove in four runs for the Irish. He also had three hits, a home run and two doubles and also scored a run.

As a team, the Irish banged out 10 hits. Ryan Friedges, Jordan Goracke, Hunter Even and Ryan Wickman also had hits for St. Patrick.

Ryan Friedges allowed four hits in seven shutout innings for the Irish. Of the 26 batters he faced, Friedges walked one and struck out six. One of the hits he surrendered was for extra bases. Zak Endres was tapped for three runs, all unearned. He walked one batter and did not allow a hit. The Irish’s Alec Holcomb struck out two of the three batters he faced in preserving the win for St. Patrick’s.

Class B suits St. Patrick well The Irish made the jump to Class B after a deep run in the Class C state tournament a year ago. But the run came at a potential price.

With points assigned for the success the Irish enjoyed, the skill level of its players and where they live, St. Patrick was forced to either make the jump to Class B or cut down its roster to meet the requirements of Class C. Manager Goracke said his team is a product of its previous success. The group decided they would make the jump rather than get rid of guys “who bleed St. Patrick Irish,” Goracke said. The team has finished 9-3 this year against Class B competition.

“Our success points kind of forced our hand,” he said. “We could let go of the players from the teams we’ve had or we could make the jump. That’s just how it goes. It was a decision we made as a group.”

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