Minneapolis’ first ever trip to the state baseball tournament did not disappoint on Thursday afternoon.
The Lions used Cooper Thompson’s brilliance on the mound and Spencer Davidson’s power at the plate to beat the No. 7-seed Hugoton 14-1 for an opening round 3A state tournament win in Emporia. The game was a run-rule in five innings.
This game felt eerily similar to that of Minneapolis’ regional semi-final game against Hoisington. Just like the Hoisington game last week, the Lions fell behind early on in the game as Hugoton’s Chay Burnett powered a double to score Ryland Bennett in the top of the 2nd inning to giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Through two innings, Minneapolis didn’t even have a hit.
Like the bottom of the 6th last week against Hoisington, the bottom of the 3rd is where the flood gates opened for the Minneapolis offense.
Levi Ausherman led off the 3rd with drawing a walk. After a series of errors with the next two batters, Minneapolis was able to tie the game up at 1-1. Davidson then smacked a base hit to give Minneapolis the lead. The Lions would not look back as they scored seven runs in the 3rd and seven again in the 4th to score 14 unanswered runs.
Meanwhile on the mound, Thompson proved to be too much for the Hugoton hitters as he only allowed one run, on four hits, through five innings. Thompson also used three strike outs to wiggle out of jams.
Hugoton (14-9) came in red-hot, winners of 14 of their last 16 games. However, the Eagles could only muster one run while stranding five runners on the base paths.
Minneapolis (20-3) drew nine walks on the afternoon. The Lions then used timely hitting to drive in runs. Davidson would once again not be retired for the game, as he was 2-2 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs. Gaton Held and Kaden Griffin also tallied in key RBIs.
The win is the first state tournament win in school history for the Minneapolis baseball program. They advance to the semi-finals on Friday afternoon back in Emporia. This time the Lions face their toughest foe of the year against 19-3, defending state champion, Sabetha. The top-seed Rock Creek and No. 5-seed Wellsville square off in the other semi-final.
First pitch of the Minneapolis/Sabetha game is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. on Friday with pregame starting at 1 p.m. on 1150 KSAL-AM.
Hugoton-0, 1, 0, 0, 0, x, x–1 run, 4 hits, 4 errors, 5 LOB
Minneapolis-0, 0, 7, 7, x, x, x-14 runs, 6 hits, 2 errors, 6 LOB
WP: Thompson: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 2 BB
LP: Jayce Korf: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 K, 2 BB