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Fast, furious finish to Big Nine race

Mayo, JM, Owatonna

all remain in contention for baseball title

By Jason Feldman

jfeldman@postbulletin.com

Rochester Mayo and Rochester John Marshall enter this week tied for second place in the Big Nine Conference baseball standings.

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By the time they take to Mayo Field at 5 p.m. Thursday, both teams could hold a share of the conference lead. Or they could be staring at two-game deficits behind Owatonna.

Owatonna enters this week — the final week of the regular season — at 9-1 in the conference and 10-2 overall. JM and Mayo are tied at 11-2 in the Big Nine.

A quick glimpse at the Big Nine standings would indicate Mayo has the toughest road to a conference title. The Spartans (12-2 overall) host Owatonna at 5 p.m. today and travel to Winona on Tuesday before playing host to JM (13-2 overall) Thursday.

To top it off, Mayo travels to Owatonna on Friday, then closes its regular season on Monday against Rochester Century (9-5, 11-5).

"We’re both sitting there with two losses, so that could be a big game," JM coach Terry Heiderscheit said. "(Mayo) has a tough week ahead."

JM has won three games in a row since losing to Owatonna on May 5, while Mayo has dropped two of its past three after opening the season with 11 consecutive victories.

Mayo handed JM its only other loss this season, 10-8 on April 14. Mitch Lund led the Spartans in that game, going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run. JM committed four errors in the game, and the Rockets pitchers hit three Mayo batters.

"We’re playing pretty good right now. We lost that first game of the season then won nine in a row," Heiderscheit said. "There are little things we need to do better, but we’ve been pretty solid all around."

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Jordan Rishavy is swinging the hottest bat for the Rockets.

His average is well above .500 after going 3-for-4 in a doubleheader sweep of Mankato East last Thursday.

"He has really had a hot bat lately," Heiderscheit said.

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