PLAYOFF UPDATES: Braham’s Casey Grell battled hard off the mound, but No. 6 Royalton upset the top-seed Bombers 2-1 in the May 31 Section 5A East Subsection finals hosted at Pierz. Grell struck out 5 while allowing just one earned run in the playoff loss.
The Royals’ Matt Silbernick matched Grell with a great pitching job, catching several Bombers looking for called strike threes on his slider. Braham finally got to him in the bottom of the fourth when Cory Ambrose led off with a triple down the right-field line, then Nick Hammond smoked a single to left. Hammond quickly reached second on a balk, but Silbernick caught the next three batters looking to end the threat.
Royalton got the game-winner in the top of the fifth when Brandon Lattimer lofted a 320-foot homer down the left-field line. Braham threatened again in the bottom of the inning when Nick Mattson singled, Tyler Vaughan bunted for a hit and Grell reached on a fielder’s choice bunt. But Royal centerfielder Noah Farrell made a great diving catch on a Sam Stigen sinking liner, then Ambrose got caught looking and Hammond grounded out to end the inning.
Farrell also robbed Tyler Vaughan of a lead-off hit in the bottom of the seventh when he made another diving catch in the gap.
Braham (14-5) is still alive in the 5A playoffs, taking on St. John’s Prep (14-7) in the elimination game 5 p.m. Monday, June 4 at Faber Field in St. Cloud. The winner plays again 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 5 at Faber against the loser between Browerville (20-2) and Royalton (10-12).
The Section 5A finals will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 7 back at Faber Field.
Section 7AAA Baseball: St. Francis 9, Cambridge-Isanti 2
No. 6 seed St. Francis ended No. 4 Cambridge-Isanti’s season with a 9-2 road victory in the May 31 Section 7AAA Baseball quarterfinals. Nick Wilson threw 6 strong innings for the Saints, plus he delivered a key 2-RBI double in the fifth inning when the scoreboard was finally cracked.
C-I sophomore Jake Johnson pitched well again this season, holding the Saints in check through four innings. But he threw away a throw to first on a Saint bunt attempt in the fifth which plated the first run, and a drop in left by Kevin Johnson helped keep the inning alive. The Saints’ then got hits from A. Julkowski and Wilson to make it 4-0 in the fifth.
St. Francis got to reliever Cole Bakke for five runs in the sixth to break the game open. Matt Ziebarth and Jordan Locken later drove home C-I’s two runs.
St. Francis takes on top-seed Grand Rapids in the June 2 opener to the Section 7AAA final four tourney at Forest Lake (1 p.m.). The other matchup is No. 2 Andover vs. No. 3 Forest Lake, with the second round taking place later Saturday.
C-I’s Swanson reaches State Golf Meet
Sophomore Matt Swanson carded a 74 on Day 2 of the Section 7AAA Boys Golf Finals at Grand National GC to finish in 2nd place in the final individual standings behind Forest Lake’s Max Kelly. That earned the Bluejacket a spot in the June 12-13 Class AAA State Meet at Bunker Hills.
The Bluejackets finished 3rd in the team standings behind Forest Lake and Andover after action was completed May 31. More C-I scores on Day 2: Nate Cox 80; Jared Knutson 80; Reggie Martin 81; Jonah Poppen 84 and Austin Galligan 87.