Woodbury baseball: Royals regular season ends with loss at East Ridge; enter tourney in underdog roleThe Royals head into Section 4AAA action looking to pull off an upset.
By: Mike Longaecker, Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
The Royals head into Section 4AAA action looking to pull off an upset.
Woodbury (9-12 overall, 7-11 Suburban East Conference) enters the section tournament Thursday, May 24, as a likely 10 or 11 seed, which will pit the team against a five or six seed.
Kevin McDermott, the Royals’ head baseball coach, said the likely first-round opponent will either be North St. Paul, Mahtomedi, Mounds View or Stillwater.
“We believe that we can beat any of these teams,” he said. “We’re not going to be intimidated.”
The Royals will turn to senior Steven Fingleton to pitch the tournament opener. The start will be his second in a row after pitching Friday, May 18, against East Ridge in a game that capped the regular season.
The Raptors came back in extra innings to beat the Royals 6-5.
“Tough one,” McDermott said, recalling the road loss.
Fingleton held the Raptors to two runs through seven innings, then watched as Woodbury built a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth.
McDermott pulled Fingleton after giving up a leadoff hit. Senior shortstop and relief pitcher Ryan Fritze came in with one runner aboard. East Ridge managed four runs after that, handing Fritze the loss.
“We just didn’t make a couple plays in that inning,” McDermott said. “It was a heck of a game and Fritze threw good enough to close.”
The loss was Woodbury’s second of the week, but came after a Wednesday, May 16, win over SEC opponent White Bear Lake.
The Royals answered the Bears’ two first-inning runs with six of their own in the bottom half of the frame.
Woodbury scored twice in the third and once in the fourth, giving the Royals a 9-2 lead after four innings. White Bear battled back in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring two runs in each.
Fritze led the way against the Bears with two hits and two RBI. Fellow Woodbury senior Ben Rexroth was 1 for 3 with a home run and three RBI. Fingleton had two hits, including a double.
In all, eight Woodbury batters collected at least one hit in the game.
Senior starting pitcher Noah Danner earned the win, going 5 1/3 innings. He allowed six earned runs and struck out five. Fritze earned the save. He pitched 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief, striking out one and walking one.
Against Mounds View on Monday, May 14, the Mustangs gained a 2-0 lead in the third inning and added to it in the fourth to make it a 3-0 lead.
The Royals scored one run in the sixth, but couldn’t manage anything after that.
Junior Sawyer Moon and senior Joe Wood both recorded two hits in the game for Woodbury.
Brandon Mazur took the loss for the Royals, giving up three earned runs in three innings. He struck out one batter and walked two. Fingleton pitched two scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out two.