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Baseball: Royals slip past Roseville in section opener

Max Meyer throws a pitch in the late innings of a May 25 section victory against Roseville. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Brock Rinehart takes a cut at a pitch during a section playoff game at Woodbury High School. Rinehart doubled home a run in the Royals’ 3-1 victory against Roseville. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Woodbury baseball team ensured itself a break over Memorial Day weekend.

A 3-1 victory over Roseville in the first round of the Class 4A, Section 4 tournament in Woodbury on May 25 helped the Royals advance to the semifinals of the winner's bracket. Woodbury will next face Tartan on May 30 at CHS Field in St. Paul.

One run scored in each of the second, third and fourth innings helped Woodbury jump ahead of Roseville. Ronnie Sweeny hit a solo home run to give the Royals a 2-1 lead in the third inning, and Brock Rinehart drove home Nolan Glunz with a double in the fourth.

Rinehart said he was sitting on a fastball when he knocked the fourth-inning double to left field.

"I knew I was going to left field, and I got it," Rinehart said.

Max Meyer pitched a complete game, striking out nine batters in the seven-inning victory. The Royals' offense also produced enough runs to take the pressure off.

"We played good defense, and Max was good on the mound," head coach Kevin McDermott said. "We did some good stuff situationally. On offense we got our bunts down, we squeezed a run in."

One critique that McDermott offered about the Royals was their response to close calls that did not go in their favor. He said there were no bad calls in the game, but a few close ones that drew some few negative responses.

"We've got to get better at that because it's what playoff baseball is going to be," McDermott said. "It seems like everything is high-pressure situations. It's kind of how we handle that adversity will get us through."

The Royals will get some pitching flexibility with their next game not being scheduled until May 30. McDermott said they will probably start Meyer again with four days rest.

"The key is to try and get ahead of some of these teams and then be able to get into our relief early and save Max's arm a little bit, so then he can bounce back a little bit earlier," McDermott said.

Many of the Royals have experience playing tournament baseball after winning four consecutive games on their way to a Class 4A, Section 4 title last year. This time, they hope to continue building on the opening-round victory over Roseville.

"Just keep a positive attitude, offense and keep on the defense," Rinehart said.

East Ridge advances, Park falls

The Raptors slugged 13 hits and were led by starting pitcher Conor Bachman in a 6-2 win against Hastings in the first round of the Class 4A, Section 3 playoffs at home on May 25.

Bachman threw five innings and allowed just three hits and one run on nine strikeouts. Joseph Trollen and Charlie Larson each collected three hits at the plate.

Third-seeded East Ridge will play No. 2 Eastview on Memorial Day at 6:30 p.m. in Dundas.

Park lost 3-1 to Rosemount on May 25 behind a strong pitching performance by Irish pitcher Griffin Lanoue.

The Wolfpack will have a chance to fight back through the loser's bracket starting with a May 29 game at 11 a.m. against Eagan.