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East Ridge baseball: Raptors beat Tartan, stay alive

East Ridge junior pitcher Drew Molin delivers a pitch to the plate Saturday against Hill-Murray in the Section 4AAA tournament in North St. Paul. Molin pitched eight innings in a 3-2 loss to open the section tournament.

East Ridge kept its season alive Monday with a 7-1 victory over Tartan in the consolation round of the Section 4AAA playoffs in North St. Paul.

Josh Stuempert gave up three hits in a complete-game victory and did not allow a walk.

Raptors senior Ryan Gregory had three hits and three RBI while sophomore Sam Cobbs had an RBI double.

"It was a good day overall for us as team," East Ridge head coach Brian Sprout said. "I think we were ready to go right away at the start of the game. That made all the difference."

The Raptors took a 3-0 lead in the first inning and added two more in the second to establish an early lead.

Tartan got its lone run in the sixth inning with a solo homer.

East Ridge will face the loser of the Stillwater-Mounds View game Wednesday at Midway Stadium in St. Paul at 5 p.m.

Before beating Tartan, East Ridge dropped its playoff opener.

The small things tend to get amplified in the playoffs and East Ridge felt the weight of not executing the little things Saturday in a 3-2, eight-inning loss to Hill-Murray in the opening round of the Section 4AAA playoffs in North St. Paul.

The fourth-seeded Raptors (14-8) got eight strong innings from junior starter Drew Molin, but failed to execute in crucial situations against the fifth-seeded Pioneers.

With a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning East Ridge failed to record an out on a sacrifice bunt, which loaded the bases and allowed Hill-Murray to continue the inning. Molin recorded a strikeout for the first out of the inning, but the Pioneers drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

The Raptors loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, but couldn't get a base hit to win the game.

In the top of the eighth inning Hill-Murray started a two-out rally with an infield single and followed that with a walk. Travis Neubeck delivered a two-run double to give the Pioneers a 3-1 lead.

East Ridge did get another chance to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth after it loaded the bases. The Raptors got only one run out of the inning with Carter Stoehr's RBI single, but had an opportunity to score earlier on junior Matt Kelly's single. A base running gaffe prevented East Ridge from scoring on the play with a runner on second base.

"We weren't sure where the outfielders were and we could have scored the winning run," Sprout said. "We got froze up on the bases and that cost us a run. Just little things like that. Those are the things regardless of who's playing, those are the things that decide these types of ballgames in the playoffs."

The game had been a pitchers' duel between Molin and Hill-Murray's Luc Henke. Both pitchers threw up zeros until East Ridge got a run in the sixth inning.

"Drew's a good pitcher, that's what he does," Sprout said. "He does that for us most of the time so we kind of expect that out of him and he expects that out of himself."

Prior to the playoffs, East Ridge wrapped up the regular season Monday with a 5-2 victory over Edina in Woodbury.

Raptors sophomore Carter Stoehr had two hits, an RBI and a run in the victory.

After the Hornets took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, East Ridge responded in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game. The Raptors took the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth inning and added a run in the sixth.

Josh Stuempert got the win for East Ridge on the mound.