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East Ridge baseball: Raptors crowned kings of SEC

Patrick Lyons delivers a pitch last week for East Ridge in the Raptors’ 2-0 loss to River Falls. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Bob Burrows)

Perseverance paid off for East Ridge as it won its fifth-straight conference game and the Suburban East Conference title on Friday, May 16.

“Baseball is a long season,” Raptors coach Brian Sprout said. “We know we have to play well at all aspects of the game to beat great teams like Woodbury and Cretin-Derham Hall. We are capable of winning big games when we focus in on those things and compete for the entire game.”

Entering the week, the Raptors needed to win all of their remaining SEC games in order to win the title. Check.

The Raptors also needed first-place Woodbury and second-place Cretin-Derham Hall to each lose at least two games apiece. Check.

East Ridge took care of business right away in the week with a 5-2 victory over CDH at home to split their season series. Sam Cobbs’ bat propelled the Raptors, going 4-for-4 hitting and two RBI. Cal Kellner also drove in two runs.

“Sam Cobbs has played extremely well in the last week or so on offense,” Sprout said.

Kellner also complemented Cobbs’ hitting by containing the state’s No. 2 ranked team in Class AAA with four strikeouts in six innings along with 16 first-pitch strikes. He helped keep the Raiders off the board after a 2-2 score in the third inning. Carter Stoehr came in for the final inning and earned the save.

To East Ridge’s favor, the Raiders fell again later in the week to Forest Lake. Meanwhile, Woodbury dropped two SEC games to Mounds View and Forest Lake during the week. The Raptors had lost both of their games to the Royals earlier in the season.

East Ridge continued on their quest for the crown with wins over Park 9-1 on Wednesday, May 14, and Roseville 2-0 on Friday, May 16. Against the Wolfpack, Cobbs had three hits and three RBI. He also pitched four innings with four strikeouts.

Patrick Lyons also pitched a couple of innings with two strikeouts in the win. Michael Hietpas and Matt Kelly each drove in a run. Nic Johnson and Kellner had two hits apiece.

Zach Wahl drove in two of the biggest runs of his life against Roseville to secure the conference title in a 2-0 victory. Wahl had a 2-for-3 day with a double and the two RBI.

Drew Molin earned the win on the mound with seven strikeouts in seven innings of pitching along with 17 first-pitch strikes. He allowed only five hits in the complete game victory.

East Ridge will open Section 4AAA tournament play this week. The brackets were not available at press time.

“We will fine-tune and get some much needed work on both individual and team concepts,” Sprout said.