Bandits start regions with win over Blues

Rum River began the Class C Region 1 tournament with a solid 7-3 win over Litchfield Saturday afternoon in Hinckley. Kevin Auth handled all nine innings for the Bandits on the humid day, racking up eight strikeouts while allowing just one earned run.

Nate Knudsen came through with three hits against the Blues, including singling and scoring on Auth’s sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. A two-out dropped fly ball in left field allowed the Blues to cut it to 4-3 in the top of the sixth.

Rum River answered back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain a nice margin. Jake Gagne singled with two outs, followed by base hits from Tim Koplitz and Knudsen. Tyler Kronstedt then flared a single to center which hopped past the fielder to score both runs.

• In round two on Sunday at Hinckley, Eastern Minny rival Sartell Stone Poneys put up five runs in the ninth inning to hand the Bandits a 10-5 loss. Down 5-2 in the eighth, Ryan Miller helped tie the game with a clutch two-out, two-RBI single. Andy Julkowski blasted a first-inning homer for Rum River’s first run in the game. Kronstedt pitched well again for the Bandits, throwing six 1-2-3 innings.

The Bandits return to Hinckley for a 4 p.m. stay-alive game on Saturday against the Sartell Muskies, the defending State “C” champions, as the Region 1C tourney continues. Mora and the Stone Poneys are the two 2-0 teams so far.

Redbirds head to 8B playoffs

Isanti will head into the Class B Section 8 playoffs with the No. 3 seed out of the Metro Minny League. The Redbirds open against North Star League No. 2 seed Elk River with a best-of-three series this weekend– at Elk River Friday night, at Isanti Saturday night, and at Elk River Sunday (if needed).

Also in Section 8B, Metro Minny No. 1 Forest Lake plays North Star No. 4 Rogers, NSL No. 1 St. Michael gets No. 4 Albertville, and MML No. 2 St. Francis takes on NSL No. 3 Monticello. The four teams advancing from the first round will play a double-elimination tournament the following weekend at Forest Lake’s Schumacher Field.

The Redbirds wrapped up the regular season by winning three of four games. On July 30, Champlin defeated Isanti 9-0 despite three hits from Brian Schultz and two hits off the bats of Tyler Schaff and Collin Anderson.

The next night, the Redbirds rolled past Ramsey 7-1 when Jake Johnson scattered five hits over nine innings, striking out 11 Renegades. Schaff led with two hits and three RBI, with two hits apiece coming from Schultz and B.J. Samuelson.

Hamel forfeited the Aug. 2 final league game, then the Redbirds dealt St. Michael an 8-7 loss on Sunday at home. Joe Ramberg tossed five innings, allowing just four hits, to get the win. Schultz finished the final inning for the save. Wade Reichmann came through with two hits and three RBI, and Matt Duong also supplied a pair of hits.

Metro Minny League

FINAL:  Forest Lake 18-2, 26-5; Blaine 17-3, 31-6; Champlin 15-5, 25-11; Anoka 12-7, 21-7; Isanti 11-9, 23-13; Coon Rapids 11-9, 21-12; St. Francis 11-8, 21-11; Ramsey 5-15, 8-19; East Bethel 4-15, 9-18; Hamel 3-15, 3-17; Big Lake 2-18, 4-21.