State Class A Baseball quarterfinal preview
Target Field is two wins away for the undefeated champions of Section 6A, the 23-0 and No. 3-ranked New York Mills Eagles.
The state quarterfinals will be held in Chaska, Minn., at Chaska Athletic Park.
The Eagles will face the winners of Section 4A, the St. Agnes Aggies (20-6). The Aggies are ranked No. 6.
Two consecutive wins in Chaska will lead to the state finals held at Target Field, Monday, June 18, in Minneapolis.
Senior leadership has been a driving force behind the Aggies success this season.
Seniors shortstop Charlie Turch and catcher Mitch Knippenberg were selected as Metro East Lions All Stars.
Like NY Mills, the Aggies also rely on key underclassmen.
Sophomore pitcher Jack Fossand beat top-ranked West Lutheran three times this season -- the only three losses of the season for the Warriors.
Both the Eagles and Aggies had to knock off ranked opponents to advance.
NY Mills defeated No. 10 Frazee three times this season, twice in the playoffs.
Neither club has announced a starting pitcher.
Fossand is likely. He led the Aggies with eight victories in the regular season. No other St. Agnes pitcher had more than three wins. Fossand has suffered four losses.
The Eagles have nothing but undefeated hurlers to put on the mound in senior Adam Snelgrove and sophomores Brandon Kupfer and Tyler Patron.
Snelgrove and Kupfer finished the regular season each at 9-0. Patron was 5-0.
The trio combined for a record of 23-0, with an ERA of 1.23 striking out 201 batters in 146 innings.
Snelgrove, the Park Region Conference Pitcher of the Year, was also named a Lions All-Star putting three on the field in the quarterfinal round opener.
The Aggies will have to deal with the Eagles' bats, as well.
NY Mills has five starters hitting over .300 this season.
Tyler Patron put up enormous numbers hitting .468, with two homers, 36 hits and 31 RBI, all team bests.
Leadoff Shane Novak hit .460 with 29 hits and 17 RBI.
Clean-up Maison Roberts hit .405, with 32 hits and 26 RBI.
Kupfer and Snelgrove hit .328 and .325 respectively.
If pitching does not keep the base paths relatively empty and this game comes down to manufacturing runs, team speed could play a major factor in the outcome.
The Eagles have stolen 49 bases and employ the sacrifice bunt routinely to get speed on the bases lined up with their big hitters.
The Aggies will run at will, having stolen 91 bases this year.
On defense, the Aggies have committed 46 errors this season to 33 for NY Mills.
St. Agnes has nine games won by 10 runs or more and the Aggies average 8.3 runs per game while allowing 3.4.
NY Mills has won eight games by 10 runs or more, including scoring 20 runs twice. The Eagles score 8.7 runs per game and allow under two, on average, 1.5 rpg.
Statistically, here is how the teams match up.
Hits: NYM 200, StA 237.
Runs scored: NYM 199, StA 216.
Runs allowed: NYM 34, StA 88.
Average: NYM .330, StA .339.
Stolen bases: NYM 49, StA 91.
Neutral field records: NYM 4-0, StA 1-1.
A loss will send either team to the consolation bracket where games will be held at the Mini-Met in Jordan, Minn., Friday, June 15 with games scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., to complete the four-team consolation bracket.
A win propels either club to the semifinals to play the winners of Section 8 No. 12-ranked Blackduck (22-4) and Section 2 No.7-ranked BOLD (22-4). Those games will continue in Chaska June 15. Games are scheduled at noon and 2:30 p.m.
The state championship Class A game will be played June 18 at high noon on Target Field.