Legion Baseball: Woodbury goes 1-2 in the state tournament
EDINA — It was a couple days filled with wins, fun, bees, but also two losses and the end of the legion baseball season for the Woodbury Royals.
The state tournament was hosted in Edina, Minnesota, and the competition started on Thursday morning for Woodbury. The Royals started off with a 6-4 victory over Buffalo to get tournament started on the right foot.
After that win, the Royals fell to Edina on Thursday night with a 7-0 loss and lost once again on Friday during the day against St. Michael-Albertville with a x-x final score. Those two losses ended the season for the Royals, but head coach Josh Sharp couldn't be prouder of the team and the fight they had to get to this point in the season.
"This season has been so much fun and the guys have been showing so much improvement," Sharp said after winning sub-state championship last Sunday.
Before the first game started at state, the Woodbury Royals had a bee problem in their dugout. After spraying six bottles of Raid at the dugout walls, the game was ready to be played.
The state tournament started off fast and strong for Woodbury as the Royals used plate vision to get on base early with walks. In the first inning, the Royals came out with a 3-0 lead and tacked on three more runs in the third with the help of a two-run single by Tucker Rinehart.
Woodbury used three different pitchers to capture the victory as Adam Mazur started, Josh Davis came in relief and Quinn Krueger closed it out.
"I was able to find the plate and trust my defense," Krueger said. "It was great to get the first win and have that confidence heading into the next game."
That next game wouldn't be until 6 p.m. on Thursday, so the boys and their parents decided to have some lunch and come back to the field. With the extra time, the boys either took a nap or relaxed at the complex, but some played wiffle ball which has become a tradition for the Royals during their summer.
The night game would eventually come and Woodbury faced Edina. Instead of the Royals coming out with three runs in the first and another three in the third, it was Edina that took over the game early.
Riley Frisk pitched the majority of the game with Brock Rinehart coming in towards the later part of the game and Jack Horman pitching in the seventh.
It was hard for Woodbury to crawl out of that seven-run lead for Edina and eventually fell to the Hornets 7-0, which put the Royals in a win or go home mentality.
"We always fight to the last out, so we'll have to bounce back Friday morning and play with that mentality," Mazur said. "In this type of tournament, you always have to play your best baseball."
Woodbury came back to the fields on Friday morning at 10 a.m. to take on St. Michael-Albertville for a chance to continue playing for the season.
Instead of bees in the dugout, the Royals faced a different challenge in the morning.
The two teams had to be delayed for a couple of hours until the rain stopped and the grounds crew was able to get the field ready.
Once they were able to play, St. Michael-Albertville went ahead early and held a 6-0 lead after scoring two runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings. The Royals were able to tack on four runs in the fifth inning to keep the game close.
St. Michael-Albertville stretched its lead to 7-4 in the sixth and 8-4 in the seventh to make it an 8-4 final. That final score ended Woodbury's legion season, but it was one to remember for each player on the team.
The Royals were able to make it to the state tournament after winning their sub-state tournament the following weekend as the No. 5 seed. They went 4-0 in the tournament and lead the majority of the time in each of the games to reach this point on Thursday and Friday.
"This has been a learning experience and hopefully our young team can hold onto this for this upcoming spring," Mazur said.
Since the season is over for Woodbury, the journey begins to prepare for the spring varsity season. The training in the weight room and the lessons at different baseball clubs will be used more often this offseason.
Some of the players will be playing fall ball and continuing to play consistently on the field with competition from other high school players. Some players will be resting injuries and such for the fall to get ready in the winter for baseball tryouts.
Once the snow disappears in March or April, the bats and gloves will come out of the bags and it'll be time for the baseball season once again at Woodbury High School.
"Each players knows what they need to do this offseason to improve their game," Tucker Rinehart said. "I'm looking forward to next season."