Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sometimes you don’t always need to be the best team to win a state championship, you just need to get hot at the right time to get there.
That was never more evident than at this year’s state baseball tournament, where three state champions were crowned at Target Field on Monday. None of the three was a favorite to win a state title. In fact, the highest seeded team to prevail was No. 4-seeded Mounds View in Class AAA.
When it was all over, BOLD, Kasson-Mantorville and Mounds View were hosting championship trophies and getting gold medals on Monday. They all got to that point in different ways.
Class A: Sandgren Pitches BOLD To Title
I’m not sure any pitcher in any class will repeat what Logan Sandgren did to help lead BOLD to the Class A state title this year. The left-hander threw a no-hitter just to get BOLD into the state tournament, then did it again in a state quarterfinal win over Wabasha-Kellogg. In Monday’s state title game, he no-hit Osakis for 5 1/3 innings in a 3-0 victory as he tossed a one-hit shutout.
In total, Sandgren didn’t allow a hit for 18 1/3 straight innings and allowed just one hit over his final three appearances. If that’s not enough, he was also 4-for-4 with three RBI in the state quarterfinal win and had a home run in the state semifinals. BOLD finished with an 18-6 record.
I’m not sure you’ll ever see a more dominating pitching performance over a three-game stretch like that ever again.
Class AA: Kasson-Mantorville Cruises To 2A Title
Kasson-Mantorville used the vital combination of pitching and defense to win its first state championship in three tries, capped by an 8-1 win over Perham on Monday at Target Field. Kasson-Mantorville beat Hermantown in the state quarterfinals 4-1, then got to the state championship game by shutting out favored St. Cloud Cathedral 2-0.
The Komets scored three first-inning runs Monday and never looked back in an 8-1 victory over Perham to claim the AA title. Joey Hyde tossed a complete game, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out five. Kasson-Mantorville’s 1-2-3 hitters went a combined 4-for-9 with four RBI and scored four runs. Kasson-Mantorville out-hit Perham 12-5 in the game.
Perhaps more impressive was their 2-0 shutout of St. Cloud Cathedral in the state semifinals. The Crusaders were the top seed in the tournament and were heavy favorites to win, but Charlie Meyer had other ideas with a two-hit shutout on the mound for the Komets.
Class AAA: Mounds View Emerges To Win Title
Sometimes it’s better to be a little lucky than good, and that’s what got Mounds View to the Class AAA title game at Target Field and eventually a championship. The Mustangs avoided having to face Coon Rapids star Logan Shore on the mound in the semifinals and took advantage with a 9-4 victory over the Cardinals.
Mounds View used its own ace, Max Knutson, to beat Rocori 8-0 for the state title on Monday. Knutson tossed a complete game, four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts. The Mustangs collected 14 hits in the win, with the 4-5-6 hitters combining for eight hits, five RBI and five runs scored. Sam Hentges, who won the semifinal game on the mound, led the offensive attack with three hits, two RBI and scored three times.
It was Mounds View’s first championship in five appearances at the state tournament.
Rashad Vaughn Decides To Leave Cooper
For those of us keeping track of the local basketball scene, it should be noted that 5-star prospect and No. 1-ranked shooting guard Rashad Vaughn has decided to leave Robbinsdale Cooper High School before starting his senior year.
The move comes with little surprise as there’s been plenty of speculation that he would be headed to a prep school out of state. He’s also looking to play basketball at a higher level before heading to college that he simply just can’t get by staying at Cooper. His family confirmed the move Monday. One of the likely places he could end up is at Huntington Prep in West Virginia. One of his close friends and AAU teammates, another highly-touted prospect in Josh Perkins, plays there. The Gophers have offered both full scholarships.
So what does this mean for his recruiting process and playing at Minnesota? Little to nothing. Pete Kaffey, his assistant coach and mentor at Cooper who resigned for unspecified reasons, told media outlets Monday that Gophers coach Richard Pitino still has a good shot at getting Vaughn and moving away from Minnesota won’t change that. You can bet the Gophers coaching staff is staying in constant contact with one of the most highly-touted recruits they’ve ever had.