Rushford-Peterson baseball (5-seed, 10-11-1) took the field on Memorial Day having already made the Section 1A final six. The Trojans took on United South Central (6-seed, 10-7). The Rebels had won their first two playoff games, making the semis, where they lost to Lyle-Pacelli 10-6. Jordan Aug had the luxury of throwing out arguably R-P’s top pitcher, Justin Ruberg. The box line for each team was a bit unordinary. Both teams had more run than hits. The teams combined for nearly as many errors as hits. All six categories (runs, hits, errors) for each team had at least five apiece. The Trojans rolled to an 9-1 lead after four. Included was a five-run bottom of first. Rylan Schneider had a three-run triple. Each team scored three in the fifth. The Trojans led 12-4 after five. USC’s biggest highlight was a grand slam home run by Colton Quade in the sixth. It was part of a five-run Rebel inning, which closed R-P’s lead to 12-9. But the Trojans got the win, 13-9. They scored 13 runs on eight hits with five errors. USC had nine runs on six hits with six errors. The teams combined for six hit batters. Fourteen of the 22 runs were unearned (including eight by the Rebels). Ruberg (2-4, 3 RBI, 7 IP, 6 H, 9 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, Win) improved to 6-2. Schneider (1-4, 3B, 4 RBI, R) also had big days. Logan Skalet (2-3, RBI, 2 R), Malachi Bunke (2-3, 3 R), and Tommy Ekern (1-3, RBI, R) helped. Quade (2-4, HR, 5 RBI, R) and Tabor Conley (2-4, R) had two hits for USC. Quade and Schneider’s big hits accounted for seven of the game’s 17 RBIs. The win moved the Trojans (11-11-1) into the 1A Final Four. They faced Southland (3-seed, 16-7). The game was a pitcher’s duel between Ruberg and Harrison Hanna. R-P scored a run in the second after a walk, a sac bunt, an error, and an RBI-safety-squeeze. Southland then didn’t tie the game until the fifth. A walk came around to score without a hit, plating on a wild pitch. R-P had the go-ahead run at third base in their fifth, but Bunke (who stole his way to third) got tagged out a home plate after a hard-shot hit the pitcher. It was one of two Trojans outs at home plate. In Southland’s seventh, their first two batters reached via singles. A balk moved both up. Eli Wolff scored on a wild pitch, making it 2-1. It was the winning run. Southland eked out 2-1 victory. Hanna (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, Win) out-dueled Ruberg (6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, Loss). M-Bunke (2-3, two SBs) had half R-P’s hits. Alex Ronnenberg scored the lone run. Jonah Bunke had the lone RBI. Wolff (1-2) scored both Rebel runs. Southland didn’t have an RBI. Both runs plated on wild pitches. R-P finishes at 11-12-1. They have five seniors, Ruberg, Bunke, Skalet, Ronnenberg, and Ekern. It’s R-P’s deepest playoff run since the 2018 state team.
About Paul Trende