For the second straight season, the Minneapolis Lions succumbed to the Class 3A state champions.
Rock Creek starting pitcher Brooks Whaley kept the Minneapolis offense at bay in an 8-3 victory in the state semifinals. The Mustangs went on to dominate top-seeded Anderson County 19-0 in four innings for the state title while Minneapolis fell to No. 4 Frontenac 7-5 in the consolation contest.
In the quarterfinal round, Minneapolis raced out to a 2-0 lead over Wichita Collegiate. Rock Creek returned the favor Friday, scoring three on four hits and one error in the bottom of the first. Spencer Davidson drove in the first Minneapolis run on an RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth. Rock Creek responded with three in the home half of the fourth, pushing the margin to 6-1.
The Lions had one final charge in the sixth. Rock Creek put two on the bases with a pair of errors. Davidson made the Mustangs pay with a two-RBI double. Another Rock Creek miscue put runners on the corners with two away, but Weston Schrader became the eighth strikeout victim, ending the threat. Rock Creek regained control with two runs in the sixth, giving the Mustangs the win.
FRONTENAC 7, MINNEAPOLIS 5
Minneapolis drew first blood in the third-place game. Colton Bradford’s delayed steal drew all the attention, allowing Ryker Nelson to score in the first. The cushion didn’t last long as the Raiders plated four runs on four hits and an error in the bottom of the first.
The Lions roared back into the game with a monster fourth. Colby Rice put the second Minneapolis run on the board with a groundout. After back-to-back singles by Logan Kearn and Nelson, Colton Bradford continued his impressive tournament by belting a two-RBI triple, tying the game at 4-4. Trent Moeckel followed with a RBI double, giving the Lions the upperhand.
After knotting up the score at 5-5 in the fifth, Frontenac took control with a deflating error in the sixth. With the bases loaded and two away, Brett Cleland skied a ball high into the air to right field. Battling the sun, Bradford struggled to focus on the ball, barely missing on the catch, scoring the final two runs of the game.
Bradford had a remarkable state tournament run, recording seven total hits and three RBI in the three contests. Davidson finished his high school career with three hits and four RBI.
Minneapolis ends the 2021 season with a 16-8 record. The senior group of Nolan White, Trent Moeckel, Daniel Watson, Spencer Davidson, Alex Worley, and Colton Bradford will be missed.