North stops Roseville in Section 4AAA baseball action at new CHS Field

Following a rain-postponed game May 6 against the East Ridge Raptors and a tough 2-1 loss that relegated North High to the losers’ bracket in the Section 4 Class 3A playoffs, the Polars and the Roseville Raiders - a 9-0 loser to No.1-seed Mahtomedi - squared off May 29 at the new CHS Field in downtown St. Paul.

Behind pitcher Gus Varland - he had nine strikeouts in the six innings he was on the mound - the Polars were able to produce five runs and hang on to gain a 5-4 win over the Raiders.

Varland explained, “I had a lot of stuff working today. My curveball wasn’t really doing that well, but my fastball was really cutting a lot, so I decided to throw a lot of inside pitches. Our defense helped me out. We had a few errors, but they made the plays when we had to and our bats came through in the end. I just went on from there.”

Roseville coach Mike Ponsolle explained, “We have a whole lot of injuries right now. They took advantage of a few of our errors. [North] played us really tough.

“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we would have liked to. Then we had those costly errors. It wasn’t the best game for us. These guys are the toughest team in the section and the state right now.

“It gets to the point when you play a team like North you know you’re going to have to grind it out right to the end. Teams don’t like playing us, because we’re going to do just that.”

From the Polars’ point of view, head coach Ron Adams said, “It was a nice ball game and a nice win for us. Gus threw well. But they swung the bats well. I was impressed with the way they hit the ball.

“Neither team played their best ball. We took advantage of some of their mistakes. Then they scored a couple of runs on our mistakes.

“It was a nice win, but we’re going to have to swing the bats a little better if we are going to move on,” Adams said.

The Raiders put the first run on the board in the top of the second inning. Tim Pasiuk slammed a long ball that was muffed in the outfield, and an infield throwing error on a ball hit by Noah Lyden allowed Pasiuk to touch home.

In their half of the second, the Polars countered when Varland slashed a two-out shot to center field. Elvin Baez hit a fly ball to the outfield that was dropped, and Dan Salinas - running for Varland - came home with the 1-1 score.

In the fourth the Polars scored four runs after two were out. Brandon Herold was safe on an infield error and Dylan Foote also got on base on an infield error, allowing Herold to score. Nic Keenan smacked an RBI hit into right field. Varland picked up his second hit and an RBi with a shot up the middle and suddenly North was on top by 5-1.

In the top of the fifth Roseville began its quest for a comeback. Luke Newton led off with a single into right center. Two outs later Thomas Anderson knocked a single up the middle, and Newton came home. Pasiuk slammed a ball that was booted, and when Anderson touched home it was 5-3.

In the upper seventh the Raiders made the game a little more interesting when Newton led off with a single. Brian Flackey walked in front of a sacrifice bunt by Evan Young that put runners on third and second.

A fly ball into short left field and a good catch by Sam Farley allowed Newton to score after the catch. A strikeout ended the threat and the game with the Polars clinging to the 5-4 victory.          

Wally Wakefield can be reached at or at 651-748-7826.


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