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Baseball: Woodbury battles through rain to advance in 4AAAA section tournament

Junior Luke Paulson looks at his ball as it goes over the fence for a solo home run. The Woodbury Royals won 8-3 in the 4AAAA opening round game. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Senior Jack Horman went 2-for-4 with three RBI's and two singles. Woodbury went on to win 8-3 against Tartan in the 4AAAA opening round on Tuesday. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 3
Senior Max Rode came into the game in the second inning and completed the game with four strikeouts. Woodbury won 8-3 against Tartan in the 4AAAA opening round. Brian Mozey / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

NORTH ST. PAUL—Two outs.

That seemed to be the common trend for No. 4-seed Woodbury in the opening round of the 4AAAA baseball section tournament on Thursday against No. 5-seed Tartan.

Every time the Royals faced a two-out inning, the bats were starting to heat up. Woodbury scored two runs in the first, one run in the second, two runs in the three, two runs in the fourth and one run in the sixth.

The Royals were consistent with scoring runs each inning, which resulted in an 8-3 final score.

"It's definitely a confidence boost when your team can score with two outs," said senior Max Rode. "I had a strong defense behind me to make sure we got back into the dugout quickly and put up some more runs in the following innings."

Rode didn't start on the mound, but came in with one out in the second inning and finished off the game. When he came into the game, head coach Kevin McDermott said he was a little unsure if Rode would last the entire game.

The senior pitcher gave up a single and hit a batter to start off his outing in the second, but got out of the inning with a unique double play. The ball was hit into left field and thrown to the third baseman to get the first out. Then, the ball was thrown to second base to the get the second out and head back to the dugout.

After that inning, Rode was locked in and recorded 10 straight outs and completed the game with four strikeouts and three hits given up to Tartan.

"We talked about in the playoffs it'll be a short hook [for pitching]," McDermott said. "If one guy is struggling, then we'll bring in the next guy. [Max] Rode was lights out for us."

The pitching might have been strong, but the hitting was on par too, especially for senior Jack Horman who earned three RBI's along with a 2-for-4 night. Junior Luke Paulson had the biggest hit when he put a ball over the fence for a solo home run in the first inning to start the runs for the Royals tonight.

It might be an advantage or not, but the Royals are the only team to advance to the next round tonight. Woodbury started its game early in the evening before the rain hit heavily. The three other games were cancelled and moved to Wednesday, which could help the Royals on Thursday as they play either No. 1-seed Stillwater or No. 8-seed North St. Paul at 4 p.m. at the Northwestern University baseball field.

"It's going to be a tough tournament, so we're excited to get the first win," Rode said. "Now, we need to focus on Thursday's game."

Brian Mozey

I am the sports writer for the Woodbury Bulletin and South Washington County Bulletin. I'm a graduate from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University and have always had a passion for sports since a young age. Whether it was watching or playing sports, I always knew sports would be in my career. I've been born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area throughout my time in this position. 

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