By Matt Krumrie
The 2008 Minnesota High School sports season came to an official close last week when the final state tournament – baseball – was played at various locations across the state.
Emerging as state champs were:
AAA – Coon Rapids
AA – St. Anthony
A – Wabasso
Here is a recap of the championship games and updates on the third-place winners:
Coon Rapids won its first state title since 1993 with a 6-1 win over Bloomington Jefferson in the big school title game. It was the third title for the school, which also won in 1980. Zach Sather and Mike Latta had two hits each, and Latta added two RBI to pace the Cardinals offense. Ryan Hable threw a complete game four-hitter to earn the win. Cody Beam led the Cardinals in hitting in the state tournament, batting .600 (6-for-10). Included in his hits was an RBI single in the first inning of the win over Jefferson.
The championship was the climax of an improbable run for Coon Rapids, who began Section 5 playoff action with a 9-11 record, yet finished the season 18-11 and with a state championship. Bloomington Jefferson finished the season 19-11.
Grand Rapids finished third with a 7-3 win over Rosemount.
St. Anthony did what it did all year in winning the Class AA state baseball title with a 10-0 victory over Annandale. That method? Use of a variety of players to come up with big hits and clutch performances when it counted. Chris Peterson and Dan Zurbey combined to strike out eight batters and held Annandale to two hits in the win. Peterson started and pitched three innings to earn the win, while Zurbey pitched four innings in relief.
Ryan Couillard led St. Anthony with three hits, two home runs and two RBI, while Steve Grewwe, Peterson and Zurbey each had two hits in the win.
Peterson was 2-0 in the tournament with ten strikeouts. He finished the season 11-1 and struck out 88 in 71 innings (more on Peterson in Inside The Numbers below).
Winona Cotter finished third with a 13-3 win over Thief River Falls/Goodridge.
From fourth to first. That’s the improvement the Class A champion Wabasso Rabbits made from last year to this year. The former is impressive, the latter is the ultimate goal. Mission accomplished as Wabasso defeated Southland 5-2. Wabasso was led by the arm of Johnny Pistulka, who pitched a complete game three-hitter, striking out six and allowing one earned run in the win.
Holden Salfer’s two-out, two-run scoring single in the third inning provided what turned out to be the winning runs, giving Wabasso a 3-1 lead at the end of three. Drew Heiling added two RBI and Chris Eichten and Mike Wotschke added one RBI each.
Hawley finished third with an 11-8 win over Red Lake Falls.
Inside the Numbers
5,967 – Reported attendance for the 2008 Class AAA state baseball tournament.
1,642 – The reported attendance for the Class AAA title game between Coon Rapids and Bloomington Jefferson.
.415 – The batting average of Rochester John Marshall outfielder Spencer Brady – the Big Nine Conference Player of Year who led JM to the big school state tournament.
50 – The combined number of hits and runs for Rosemount’s Dylan Porter on the season. Porter helped the Irish to a fourth-place finish at the state tournament, and had 27 hits and scored 23 runs on the season.
47 – The number of strikeouts on the season for Bloomington Jefferson pitcher Matt Voldness. Voldness was 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA and four saves for the Jaguars.
8 – The number of home runs hit this season by Chris Peterson of St. Anthony Village. He hit .494 and had 29 RBI and scored 33 runs.
3 – The number of Lake Conference teams that made the Class AAA state baseball tournament – Jefferson, Chaska, and Rosemount.
2 – The number of hits allowed by Spencer Johnson of Thief River Falls/Goodridge in a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Albany in the Class A state quarterfinals. He added nine strikeouts and finished the season with a 9-1 record, 106 K’s, and a .68 ERA in 62 innings pitched.