Lourdes places third at Class AA state baseball tournament
No. 5 seed Lourdes bounced back from a 7-2 setback to top-seeded Fairmont in the Class AA baseball state semifinals on Wednesday to defeat St. Agnes 11-9 in the third-place game.
ST. CLOUD — It wasn't a state championship, but the Lourdes baseball team left the Class AA baseball state tournament with a trophy.
The fifth-seeded Eagles had their championship hopes dashed with a 7-2 loss to No. 1 seed Fairmont in the state semifinals on Wednesday. But later in the day, the Eagles rallied to defeat St. Agnes 11-9 to claim third place in Class AA.
“I’m proud of their efforts,” Lourdes coach Dave Jenson said. “I’ve known a lot of them since they were in third or fourth grade. It’s definitely bittersweet to have our final game today. But if you would have told me at the beginning of the season ‘Hey, you’re going to be playing three games in the state tournament,’ I would have said absolutely, I’ll sign up for that any time."
The veteran Lourdes team, which has 11 seniors, closed the season with a 20-5 record. The Eagles, seeking their third state title, had placed fifth at state in their last appearance in 2017.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing not making the state championship game, but this team is much more than just winning,” Lourdes senior Joe Sperry said. “We’re a special group of guys and we pull for each other.”
In the semifinal game, Fairmont scored two runs in both the first and second innings to take a 4-0 lead and the Eagles could not recover. Lourdes made two infield errors in the top of the first, leading to a pair of unearned runs against starter Carson Wenszell.
“It just wasn’t our day as far as that game is concerned,” Jenson said.
“I think the most frustrating thing is we just didn’t play our best,” the coach added. “Two runs in the top of the first when our pitcher was making great pitches and our defense let us down a little bit. Those are things that happen; you’re trying to fight the nerves.”
Fairmont's Eli Anderson tossed a six-hitter for the victory and the left-handed hitter also went 3-for-4 with two triples, an RBI and two runs scored.
Senior center fielder Sam Stanley had half of Lourdes' hits as he went 3-for-4. Brendan Davick, a senior first baseman, was 1-for-2 and drove in both runs for the Eagles with a two-run single in the fourth, which cut Fairmont's lead to 6-2.
“It’s hard to start the game off that way with the errors like that,” Stanley said. “You have to fight your way back and we couldn’t do it. They’re a great team and hit all the way up and down their lineup.”
Lourdes had its offensive attack going in the battle for third place. The Eagles overcame a 3-0 deficit after a half an inning. They trailed 7-5 before scoring three times in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Sperry finished his stellar state tournament and career with a bang. After hitting a double and triple and driving in four runs in the quarterfinal game, Sperry hit two home runs in the third-place game. He hit a two-run homer in the first inning and added a solo blast in the sixth as he finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
“No matter what we did here, even if we lost the first game, nothing would be a failure,” Sperry said.
Freshman Nick Bowron was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for Lourdes, while senior Seth Haight went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Lourdes used four pitchers in the final game. Stanley collected the win in relief despite allowing three runs in 2 1/3 innings.
“It’s really special to have this great of a season just because of the group of guys who are on this team,” Stanley said. “We’re not just a team out there, we’re a bunch of brothers.
“It’s going to be tough to say goodbye,” he added.
Fairmont (26-3) will play for the Class AA state title at 1 p.m. Friday at Target Field.
Lourdes semifinal boxscore: https://www.mshsl.org/sites/default/files/2022-06/2022%20AA%20BaB%20SF%20Fairmont%20Rochester%20Lourdes.pdf
Lourdes third-place boxscore: https://www.mshsl.org/sites/default/files/2022-06/2022%20BaB%203rd%20Place%20AA%20St.%20Agnes%20Lourdes.pdf