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It all came down to survival for the East Ridge baseball team on June 2 in Dundas. The Raptors defeated Rosemount 3-2 in 10 innings to advance through the winner's bracket to the Class 2A, Section 3 championship. Now they are one win away from the state tournament. Charlie Larson drove home the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th. He was looking for a pitch to drive and was able to strike a fly ball far enough into left-center to score teammate Joe Trollen from third base.
Both the Woodbury and East Ridge track and field teams will be sending a busload of athletes to the Class 2A track and field meet on June 9 and 10 at Hamline University in St. Paul. Athletes from both high schools qualified for state during Class 2A, Section 4 championship competition on May 30 and June 1 at East Ridge High School. When the dust settled, the East Ridge boys' finished second behind Stillwater in the team standings, with Woodbury placing third. The Raptors girls' team was third with Woodbury placing sixth.
Ben van der Sman is looking ahead to the challenge of the individual state tournament after a small test by Eagan's Maxim Zagrebelny in the Class 2A, Section 3 singles championship match in Lakeville on May 30. The East Ridge senior made it a relatively quick first set against Zagrebelny, winning 6-2. But van der Sman faced more pressure in the second set as his Eagan opponent forced the score to 5-5. van der Sman was able to regain control from there, breaking Zagrebelny's serve and following with a win in his next service game for a 7-5 set victory.
The Park boys' golf team fell just a few shots short of reaching a few goals on the final day of competition in the Class 3A, Section 3 tournament on June 5 at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Junior Keegan Oberding fell just one shot short of qualifying for state as an individual after shooting a two-day score of 158. He was edged out by Eagan's Joe Rohlf and Rosemount's Connor Humble who both scored 157.
The Woodbury girls' golf team's streak is over. For the past two seasons, the Royals have concluded their season at the Class 3A state tournament. But this year, the team will not be making the trip. Woodbury finished third with a score of 725 after the two-day Class 3A, Section 3 tournament at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Rosemount ended up winning the section title with a score of 697, and Eagan placed second with a 707. Unlike the past two seasons, the Royals did not play with the same consistency that helped them reach the top of the section.
With the Minnesota Wild bowing out of the NHL playoffs in the first round, hockey fans across the Twin Cities have fixated on a 22-year-old rookie forward with a knack for scoring goals. Woodbury resident Jake Guentzel is putting his mark on a run to the Stanley Cup finals for the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 13 playoff goals and often playing on the same line as NHL star Sidney Crosby. Jake's father Mike Guentzel recalls his phone blowing up with about 75 texts when Jake scored his first NHL earlier this season in November.
The Woodbury girls' golf team finished the regular season near the top of the Suburban East Conference golf standings. The Royals placed second in the SEC, one higher than their third-place result from a season ago. They backed up the placing with a second-place finish at the SEC championship meet Thursday, May 25, at Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater. Head coach Bryan Orlenko said the Royals' consistency this season has helped them climb the SEC ladder. "Some teams graduated different players, and we remained more consistent this year," Orlenko said.
Kory Kiekhoefer graduated from New Life Academy seven years ago. Now the 25-year-old is making a homecoming as the new head coach of the boys' basketball team. Kiekhoefer has stayed busy in basketball since moving on from New Life Academy in 2010. He attended the University of Northwestern-St. Paul where he played basketball with the Eagles, later graduating and becoming a head coach for the past two seasons at Bethany Academy in Bloomington.
You couldn't tell if the East Ridge baseball team was feeling any pressure before the start of a Class 4A, Section 3 second-round tournament game against Eastview. The Raptors jumped out for six runs in the first three innings of an 8-4 victory on Memorial Day evening in Dundas. The key to their performance? Lighthearted jokes. "We really like to loosen up before games, have fun, laugh," said Brendan McKevitt, who went 3-for-4 at the plate and scored three runs. "When we do that we usually play better."
The streak continues for the Woodbury softball team. The Royals have gone undefeated in every section softball game over the past two seasons. A 6-0 win against North on May 26 at McKnight Field in North St. Paul has put them in the Class 4A, Section 4 championship game for the third consecutive season. One more win and the Royals will make a third trip to the state tournament. The offense helped the Royals score six runs in the section semifinals game. But strong pitching and defense kept North's offense from getting comfortable.