The Faribault Lakers defeated the St. Patrick Irish  6-2 in Prior Lake Tuesday night to clinch a berth into the 2018 State Amateur Baseball Tournament.  Faribault pitcher Jack Helgeson upped his record to 6-0 and went the distance for the win.  Helgeson threw 133 pitches 93 of them strikes.  He finished the game with 9 strikeouts, one walk and hit a batter. St. Patrick had 11 hits and left 11 runners on base, 7 in scoring position.

Helgeson breezed through the first three innings allowing just one hit but opened the fourth with the first pitch hitting St. Patrick #3 hitter Matt Ambroz.  Seth Ambroz followed with a single to right field.  Josh Simon reached on a fielder's choice with Seth Ambroz erased at second on a throw from shortstop Joe Grote to Porter Sartor.  Matt Ambroz rounded third base too far and was thrown out trying to score.  It was a huge double play.  Instead of runners at the corners with one out there was a runner at first with two outs.  Dom Deluca walked for the Irish.  Helgeson was a pitch away from getting out of the inning with no damage when shortstop Jack Friedges worked the count full with runners at first and second.  Helgeson did not throw a bad pitch but Friedges knew he didn't want to walk him so took a pitch over the plate and crushed it over the head of center fielder Kyle Murphy for a 2 run triple giving St. Patrick the 2-0 lead.

Faribault answered in the top of the fifth when Dylan Valentyn led the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Adam Kline.  That the turned the lineup to the top of the order where Mitch Johnson clubbed a single scoring Valentyn but was thrown out trying to get to second base.  The throw was terrific by St. Patrick center fielder Kyle Rhodus.

In the sixth inning Matt Lane started the rally with a single, Ryan Archambault reached on an error to place runners at first and second.  During the Sartor at bat the Irish tried to thrown behind Lane and pick him off second base but the ball was not caught and both Lane and Archambault were able to advance a base thanks to what I scored as an error in my scorebook.  The Prior Lake scoreboard did not register an error on the play.

The error placed runners at second and third with no outs.  Sartor struck out.  Derek Ritter hit a ball that resulted in another error by St. Patrick allowing Lane to score and Archambault to advance to third base.  Ritter stole second base placing two runners in scoreing position during a Mike Carpentier pinch hitting appearance.  He struck out but Dylan Valentyn crunched a 2 RBI single to give the Lakers a 4-2 lead.

In the seventh inning with one out Joe Grote hit a single to right field.  He was wild pitched to second base and went to third on a passed ball.  Lane was walked.  With two outs Sartor delivered a two run triple giving Faribault a 6-2 lead.

St. Patrick got the lead batter on base in three of the last four innings but Helgeson was able to pitch around it.  In the 6th the Irish had a lead single by Josh Simon, loaded the bases thanks to a strike out passed ball and didn't score.  Helgeson recorded three strikeouts in the inning.

In the 7th, Matthew Pexa had a double to start the inning and was left at third base thanks to three straight fly outs.

In the 8th, Dem Deluca led the Irish inning with a double and was left at second base thanks to a ground out, pop out and strike out.  The Irish got back to back two out singles prompting a meeting by the Lakers infield on the hill with Helgeson.  Whatever they said worked because a fielder's choice ended the game and Faribault had punched their ticket to the State Tournament.

Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game courtesy of Tony Langerud and Jason Krohn were Helgeson, Valentyn, Archambault and Sartor.

Regular season DRS League Champion New Market edged New Prague 3-2 in the other winner's bracket game to also secure a State Tournament berth.

Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. Shakopee travels to Montgomery and St. Benedict hosts Union Hill in Veseli in elimination bracket games.

Faribault hosts New Market Sunday at 2:00 p.m.  That winner can be no less than a number two seed and doesn't have to play until next Friday.

New Prague and St. Patrick play Friday night against the winners of the Wednesday elimination bracket games.

Faribault Lakers Game at Prior Lake against St. Patrick Tuesday. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld