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Led by Parker Erickson and Josiah Sundby, Sacred Heart pitching powers Eagles to state baseball tournament

Jun. 11—GRAND FORKS — East Grand Forks Sacred Heart pitchers Josiah Sundby and Parker Erickson have led a consistent pitching staff that has carried the Eagles to 19 wins this season.

Sundby has 45 strikeouts in 35 and a third innings pitched and a 0.20 ERA. Erickson struck out 74 in 48 innings pitched and has a 1.02 ERA.

Opponents are hitting .130 against Sundby and .180 against Erickson.

"We've grown a lot during the year," Sacred Heart coach Paul Bethke said. "The one thing that has been consistent the entire year has been our pitching. It has been better than I could ever hope for."

It took the young Eagles team most of the year to figure out their offense, but it's clicking at the right time. Sacred Heart, which will face Lyle/Austin Pacelli in the first round of the Minnesota Class A state tournament at 1 p.m. Thursday in St. Cloud, outscored opponents 43-6 in the Section 8A playoffs.

"All of the sudden, the last two or three weeks, we really started putting together better at bats, and now we're scoring lots of runs," Bethke said.

The difference for Bethke has been the leadership. Juniors and seniors have stepped up as the season continued.

Sacred Heart also has multiple players, like Sundby, Erickson and Mike Gapp, with experience making state tournament runs in basketball.

Gapp scored the winning run on a balk to send the Eagles to state for the first time since 2022, when Sacred Heart finished fourth.

The wild sequence in the Section 8A championship game helped prepare the Eagles for any situation they may see at state.

"(You) have to be ready for anything," Bethke said. "I think those games are great to play in when they're close and every little play matters. They made the plays they had to make."

Unseeded Sacred Heart hasn't played Lyle/Austin Pacelli, the No. 3 seed in the state tournament. Bethke said the Eagles will try to stick to what they know.

"As hard as it is, I try to focus more on our most important opponent we play is ourselves," Bethke said. "It's going to be tough from here on out. It doesn't matter who we play. If you made it this far, you're probably a pretty good team.

"We just really have to pay attention to doing the things that we do, and try to do those well and then let the game play out."

Coach: Paul Bethke.

Record: 19-3.

State tournament matchup: Sacred Heart vs. No. 3 Lyle/Austin Pacelli, 1 p.m. Thursday in St. Cloud.

Top hitters: Jr. Parker Erickson .424, 4 2Bs, 21 RBIs; jr. Elliot Arntson .381, 5 2Bs, 14 RBIs; jr. Jake Satterlund .313, 6 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 16 RBIs; soph. Isaac Sundby .311, 2 2Bs; sr. Ben Wharam .311, 3 2Bs, 25 RBIs; jr. David Larson .300, 4 2Bs, 2 HRs; sr. Josiah Sundby .267, 2 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 12 RBIs

Top pitchers: Josiah Sundby 5-0, 35.1 IP, 45 Ks, 0.20 ERA; Parker Erickson 8-0, 48 IP, 74 Ks, 1.02 ERA; Nick Satterlund 3-1, 27.1 IP, 33 Ks, 2.56 ERA

State tournament history: The Eagles are making their first state tournament appearance since finishing fourth in 2022. Sacred Heart hasn't won a state championship.