Prep report: East tripped up in playoff baseball opener

May 29—Duluth East fell victim to a fifth-inning rally from host Forest Lake, as the Trojans took their opening-round game 4-3 in the Section 7AAAA baseball tournament on Wednesday.

Four singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly led to three runs for the home side and overturned East's 3-1 lead.

Dylan Cole's sacrifice fly opened the scoring in the first inning, while Bjorn Lind did likewise in the second to make it 2-1, then notched an RBI double to add to East's edge in the fourth inning.

However, after falling behind, East went down in order in the sixth inning and could not benefit from a walk and a hit batsman (with a double play in between) in its last at-bat.

Cole allowed four runs on 10 hits in five innings to take the loss.

East hosts Cambridge-Isanti in Duluth on Thursday in an elimination game.

Sports scribes will be hard pressed to find a wilder section tournament in the state this year, or any year for that matter, as fifth seed Grand Rapids and sixth seed North Branch advanced from games at Chisago Lakes High School in Lindstrom, Minnesota on Wednesday into Thursday's Section 7AAA championship game, scheduled for noon at Wheeler Field in Duluth.

The sixth-seeded Vikings completed an improbable run through the winner's bracket, defeating No. 3 Hibbing and No. 2 Chisago Lakes before sending No. 1 Rock Ridge into the elimination bracket on Wednesday with a 3-1 decision.

Mattelyn Seppi got the scoring with an RBI double in the third inning but Rock Ridge went silent from there, failing to get a hit for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, Peyton Verdon gave North Branch the lead with a two-run homer with two outs in the fifth.

Taylor Morley took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in a complete game.

Meanwhile, in an elimination game, Rapids earned its third elimination-game win in a row after falling to Cloquet in round one. Pitcher Addison Linder struck out nine Hibbing players and allowed just one hit in a 2-0 Thunderhawks victory.

She outdueled Hibbing's Aune Boben, who struck out 10 and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing two runs on two hits, one of them an RBI double by Linder, who came around to score on a sacrifice bunt.

Rapids then knocked out Rock Ridge 3-1 for the other spot.

Cullen Chuinard of Moose Lake/Willow River snagged a spot at the MSHSL Class A state tournament as an individual qualifier from the Section 7A meet, which concluded on Wednesday at Minnesota National in McGregor.

Chuinard was the third-best player from a non-qualifying team.

Led by medalist Parker Brock, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley won the 7A team title, with Nevis in second.

On the girls' side, Northeast Range/Ely and Pine River-Backus took the top two positions with W-H-A's Kianna Johnson earning medalist honors.

Northwestern senior Lawson Burkhart put together a strong round in the WIAA Division 2 section on Tuesday at Turtleback in Rice Lake, but it wasn't good enough to qualify for state competition.

Burkhart, competing as an individual, shot 81, good for a tie for 14th place of 72 competitors, but the three transfer spots to next week's state meet went to the top three players, led by a 72 from Tyler Reiter of Prescott.