Editorial: Trio of area baseball teams still in the hunt

Published 9:15 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

While the spring softball season ended for area teams, the Tribune’s coverage area features three baseball squads still in the hunt for a section title and state berth.

The Albert Lea baseball team is in the best spot after earning a No. 1 seed and winning their first two playoff games. NRHEG and United South Central still have a chance to continue their seasons, but the road will be difficult through the consolation bracket.

We applaud Tigers left-handed pitcher Jake Kilby and the rest of the team for their poise in Albert Lea’s 6-5 comeback win over Tri-City United. Kilby gave up two runs in the first inning, but only gave up two more through six innings, before Chris Enderson took the win.

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The Tigers’ outfield shined with multiple catches by Kole Smith — who also laid down the game-winning bunt — in left field, Mason Hammer in center and Tanner Bellrichard in right.

Albert Lea qualified for the Subsection 2AA South finals for the second consecutive year.

This year, the No. 1-seed Tigers will host No. 3-seed Waseca. Support the team by heading to Hayek Field at 5 p.m. today.

Waseca beat NRHEG 8-2 in the subsection semifinals but easily could’ve been the No. 2 seed. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown — the team NRHEG beat in the subsection quarterfinals — was awarded the No. 2 seed, despite having a lower ranking in Class AA according to Minnesota-Scores.net’s Quality Results Formula. The Bluejays were No. 50, while the Buccaneers were No. 66.

In the Subsection 2AA North bracket, No. 1-seed Glencoe-Silver Lake cruised to the subsection finals with wins over Le Sueur Henderson and Norwood Young America.

However, No. 2-seed Holy Family Catholic, the team with a No. 9 QRF — the highest ranking in the section — fell to the consolation bracket with a 5-0 loss against Belle Plaine.

NRHEG will battle Tri-City United in the first round of the consolation bracket at 5 p.m. at Montgomery. The Panthers will need to beat the Titans, win three more games in the consolation bracket and beat the winner of the championship bracket twice — because it is double elimination — to qualify for state.

The Rebels have a similar road. United South Central will need to win in the first round of the Section 2A consolation bracket at 5 p.m. today at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, three more games in the consolation bracket and two over the winner of the championship bracket.

Best of luck to all the area baseball teams!