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Baseball: Royals settle for fourth place at state

Shortstop Max Meyer throw to first base to complete a double play during a Class 4A state tournament semifinals game against Forest Lake. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia

The Woodbury baseball team was reaching for a trip to Target Field.

But it will be forced to settle for a fourth place trophy. Forest Lake broke out in the late innings for a 9-1 victory over the Royals in the Class 4A semifinals on June 16 at CHS Field in St. Paul.

Then Lakeville North won 4-3 on a walk-off single in the tournament's third-place game that started an hour later.

After coming into the day with hopes of playing for a state championship, it was a tough pill to swallow.

“It’s a little disappointing. Obviously, we came up short of going to Target Field,” senior Karl Scheit said. “And then we wanted to end the season on a high note, get the win here and get third place. It just didn’t happen.”

Woodbury kept the score close against Forest Lake until the top of the sixth inning. Woodbury led 1-0 on a Brodie Paulson solo home run until the Rangers exploded for six runs in the sixth inning, including a bases-loaded triple by Zack Raabe.

After losing 9-1, the Royals had to regroup to play for third.

“It was a little tough,” Scheit said. “Obviously, guys were a little down. But I think we were able to pull ourselves around real quick, and I think we were ready to play that game.”

The Royals jumped ahead 3-0 early, including a two-run home run by Ronnie Sweeny, but Lakeville North rallied to get back into the game. The Panthers scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth and one in the fifth to tie it at 3-3.

A walk-off single by Nick Spitt ended the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“We don’t have anything to hang our heads about,” head coach Kevin McDermott said. “That’s a good baseball team over there. You get down to this, and it’s just kind of the team that gets hot and picks up some timely hits.”

Woodbury’s roster was filled with 11 seniors who played significant roles in back-to-back appearances in the state tournament over the past two seasons. Those seniors played in their last game on June 16.

“These kids have been awesome,” McDermott said. “From star players to role players, they are just really unselfish. It is guys who are willing to do whatever it took to make the team better, not just for them as individuals. When you have 11 of them, they all can’t be the star.”

Woodbury finished its season with a 17-10 record.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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