Baseball: Section 1AAA tournament wide open again

Once again, "on any given day" is the mantra for the upcoming Section One, Class AAA baseball tournament.

Rochester John Marshall's Jake Dravis connects for a base hit against Rochester Mayo earlier this month at Dale Massey Field. Dravis and the Rockets are expected to be one of the teams to beat in the Section 1AAA baseball playoffs.

Once again, "on any given day" is the mantra for the upcoming Section One, Class AAA baseball tournament.

"We are like most teams," John Marshall coach Dutch Heiderscheit said. "When we are throwing strikes and making plays, we are pretty good and can beat anyone. And when we aren't, anyone can beat us. ... We have put together a nice stretch of games and are hoping we can stay sharp and make a nice run."

The Section 1AAA tournament begins Thursday, though seeding for the tournament won't be announced until today.

The top four seeds will receive byes in the opening round. Winners of first-round games advance to Saturday, while losers are eliminated. The top four seeds will host single games Saturday. The Final Four, which is back in Red Wing starting May 30, will be determined by games Monday, which will be played at the top two seeds.

John Marshall (15-5) figures to be one of those top two seeds, along with Northfield (16-4).


The Rockets are the section's hottest team. They were 5-5 at one point but ended the regular season by winning 10 consecutive games. Young guys like Alex Belch and Zach Smith, mixed with veterans like Jake Halverson and Jacob Dravis, make the Rockets a deep and balanced team.

Northfield has similar depth and has been quite consistent.

After that, the seeding could get interesting. Red Wing is 12-6, but it recently lost to Century, which is 11-9. The Wingers feature one of the state's most talented players in Ty Buck.

For another good example of the section's depth -- Austin is 7-11 and looks to be about the eighth or ninth seed. But the Packers ended the regular season by beating likely No. 1 seed Northfield, 12-5.

"Austin might be the most underrated team in the section," Mayo coach Joe Serratore said. "If we clean up some defensive play, and our pitchers throw strikes, I think we could be a factor in this tournament."

Mayo (10-10) has been up-and-down. The Spartans feature many dangerous hitters like Michael Michalak and Gunnar Grimsrud.

Century has arguably the section's deepest pitching staff. The Panthers have the talent to make a deep run, but consistency has been their weakness.

Farmington enters the tournament 11-8 and is coming off a big win over Lakeville South, which is just 3-16. South holds a win over Mayo, though.


Owatonna (8-11) is an incredibly well-coached team with several big wins, and Winona (7-12) also has a few big wins under its belt.

Hastings (4-16) and Faribault (3-17) round out the section.

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