RAHS baseball a win from state

Although his team's longest winning streak during the regular season was only three games, Roseville Area High School baseball co-head coach Ryan Flanagan isn't all that surprised by the four-game streak the Raiders are on in the Section 4AAA playoffs.

Roseville, the seventh seed, improved to 4-0 in the post-season with an 11-0, five-inning thumping of top-seeded Hill-Murray on Saturday at Midway Stadium. The Raiders need one more victory to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2002.

"Every game we've played we've been in and had a chance," Flanagan said. "We always preach, play each game to the end and play your best at the end. They took it to heart. It's been there and luckily it's coming out at the right time"

The Raiders look to continue the streak when it takes the field in the section final Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Midway. They will take on the winner of Monday's loser's-bracket final between Stillwater and Hill-Murray.

Flanagan said a big key to Roseville's post-season success this year is not giving the opponents any extra help.

"It's fundament" said Flanagan. "They're not beating themselves, basically."

That was evident against Hill-Murray as starting pitcher Zach Hayes didn't walk anyone and no errors proved costly.

The only miscue the Raiders made in the field was when right fielder Andrew Colvard dropped a flyball in the third inning (although it looked like he dropped as it he was attempting to take the ball out of his glove for a throw). Roseville still recorded an out on the play as Colvard threw out Hill-Murray's Jay Zoborowski trying to advance from second to third.

Offensively, Chris Dishop delivered the key hit when he doubled with the bases loaded in the second inning to drive in three runs. Colvard later drove in Dishop with a sacrifice fly to put Roseville up 4-0.

"Dish obviously came up with the big hit that put us ahead and kind of knocked them off balance a little bit," Flanagan said.

An inning later, the Raiders put up six more runs as Ben Buerkle and Dishop drove in one each and Colvard and Austin Colvard both had two-run singles.

On the mound, Hayes threw his sixth complete game of the season and got it done with a minimum amount of work.

"All his pitches are working, which is good to keep them off balance," Flanagan said of Hayes.

Even though Roseville won three games last week, Hayes was just one of two pitchers to work for the Raiders in that span. Hayes also a threw a complete game against Cretin-Derham Hall on Memorial Day and Jake Hall followed that up with a complete game against Mounds View on Thursday.

"Jake threw a heck of a game," said Flanagan. "He was going to start but if he got in trouble we had plenty of guys to go to. But there was no need to take him out. He was cruising."

By beating Hill-Murray, Roseville now owns playoff victories over the top three seeds in the tournament. The Raiders began the week by eliminating second-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall and followed that up with a win over third-seeded Mounds View.

Hayes pitched against Cretin and went the distance. Offensively, Roseville got a run in the second when Ben Buerkle led off with a walk and later scored on an outfield error. Dan Busch's single in the third plated Sam Podobinski.

Roseville tacked on two more in the fourth inning. Dishop scored the first run of the inning when he led off with a single, took second on Mike Stasny's sacrifice bunt and covered the final 180 feet on a pair of wild pitches.

Andrew Colvard then reached on an error and came all the way around on Austin Colvard's triple.

After Cretin pulled within one in the sixth, Roseville responded with an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Hayes doubled with two outs and Buerkle delivered a run-scoring single.

Against Mounds View, Hayes drove in Podobinksi with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. In the fifth inning, Tim Truninger doubled home a pair of runs, Busch singled home a run and yet another came across on a wild pitch.

"I'm glad to see them putting it all together," Flanagan said. "We've told them all year they're a good team. As long as they don't beat themselves they can beat anybody. We knew they could do it, it was just convincing them that they could do it."

Tuesday's game will be Roseville's first section final since the 2002 team qualified for the state tournament. The Raiders' potential opponents have won the past five section championships. Stillwater is the four-time defending champion and Hill-Murray won the section the year before the Ponies began their streak.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

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