The Maple Grove baseball team lost 7-5 to defending class AAAA champion Farmington in the state tournament semifinals, ending the Crimson’s hopes for the program’s first state championship.
In a game suspended in the top of the second inning from Wednesday after rains and lightning postponed play, the Crimson came out swinging in the second, scoring four runs on four hits to take a 4-0 lead.
The Crimson added a run in the top of the third to lead 5-0.
But the Tigers chipped away at the lead. Gabe Bombardier led off the Farmington fourth inning with a homerun, sparking a three-run inning.
Then in the bottom of the sixth inning, Farmington second baseman Luke Walton hit a grand slam to rightfield giving the Tigers the lead.
Tyler Borlik pitched four and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief for the Tigers to earn the win and send them to the state title game Friday night at Target Field.
The Maple Grove baseball team beat St. Louis Park 5-2 Tuesday to advance to the semifinals of the state Class 4A tournament in St. Paul.
The Crimson, after giving up a run in the top of the first, scored two runs in both the second and third innings and added their final run in the fifth inning. Brian O’ Dwyer laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Mason South and when Orioles’ pitcher Kris Hokenson threw the ball over first base Michael Ross scored too, giving the Crimson the lead for good.
Aiden McMahon earned the win pitching the first 4 1/3 innings Maple Grove. Aiden Hansen and Zane Vitense also pitched for the Crimson, who handed Metro Player of the Year Kris Hokenson just his second loss of the season.
Maple Grove (20-4) now plays top-seeded Farmington in the state semifinals Wednesday at noon at CHS Field in St. Paul.
Six months ago, Maple Grove’s Aiden McMahon was certain his career as a high school athlete was over. An ACL injury in his right knee, coupled with a torn meniscus suffered in during football, was the culprit.
He missed the remainder of the football season and the entire hockey season, and he wasn’t sure he’d be healthy enough for baseball.
“I was sitting at home, thinking my career as a Maple Grove Crimson was probably over,” said the senior pitcher.
McMahon returned to the diamond about three weeks ago. Tuesday, he was the starting pitcher for Maple Grove in its 5-2 victory over St. Louis Park in the Class 4A quarterfinals of the baseball state tournament at CHS Field in St. Paul. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowed four hits and two runs and struck out six.
The Maple Grove baseball team has finished its last practice in preparation for play in the state Class AAAA tournament Tuesday.
The Crimson (19-4) won four games in the Section 5AAAA tournament, including back-to-back comeback wins against Mounds View.
Maple Grove is seeded fourth for the state tournament and faces fifth-seeded St. Louis Park in the quarterfinals Tuesday at 1:00 pm at CHS Field in St. Paul.
This is Maple Grove’s ninth overall appearance in the state baseball tournament but the first since 2017. St. Louis Park (18-7) is in the state tournament for the first time since 1952.
The tournament continues Wednesday and concludes Friday night with championship games in all classes played at Target Field.
The Crimson fell behind early but came back with a run in the second inning, three in the fourth and one run in the sixth to tie the game at five.
Mounds View re-took the lead in the top of the seventh, scoring an unearned run to lead 6-5.
But Maple Grove answered in the home half of the seventh with a leadoff double by Jacob Kilzer, followed later by a groundout and then an infield error that allowed Kilzer to score.
Chayton Fischer was then hit by a pitch and Mason South’s infield groundball was fielded cleanly, but the throw from shortstop to second base sailed into rightfield allowing pinch runner Kellen Riskedahl to race home with the winning run.
Michael Ross pitched 4 1/3 innings of relief for the Crimson, allowing just one unearned run while striking out four. Fischer and South both hit homeruns for the Crimson.
Maple Grove (19-4) now advances to the state tournament for the first time since 2017.
The Crimson’s quarterfinal round opponent and game time Tuesday at CHS Field in St. Paul are still to be
The Crimson fell behind 5-0 after the second inning and again 6-5 in the seventh. But those deficits did not deter Maple Grove as the Crimson came back twice, including a dramatic bottom of the seventh to win 7-6 and take home the section championship and advance to next week’s Class 4A state tournament.
Hunter Gerber’s double in the bottom of the 9th scored Devin Hornbacher with the winning run as the Maple Grove baseball team edged Mounds View 5-4 in the Section 5AAAA tournament.
Aiden McMahon had 3 hits and scored 3 runs for the Crimson. Hornbacher, Tanner Albeck and Zane Vitense each had 2 hits for Maple Grove while McMahon earned the win in relief.
In this week’s CCX Sports Spotlight: John Jacobson profiles Maple Grove baseball’s outstanding pitching staff.
In their first 22 games, the Crimson have allowed less than 2 earned runs per game. 13 players have pitched this spring, led by seniors Aiden Hansen & Ethan Zimmerman who have combined for 9 wins.
@MSHSBCA announced the six teams on Sunday, 5/22/2022 via Twitter. Chayton Fischer & Aiden Hansen were selected to the 2022 Metro North All Stars
Participating seniors: Zane Vitense (Ohio Wesleyan University) and Brian O'Dwyer (University of Wisconsin - Superior)
Participating earlier in the year: Chayton Fischer (Minnesota State - Mankato)
Not present but committed: Cole Newell (NIACC), Aiden Hansen (Bismarck State), Ethan Zimmerman (College of St Scholastica)