Express, Bandits knocked out of state tourney

Elko falls in 20-inning marathon

Roy Larson was one of the top pitchers and hitters for an Eagan Bandits team that reached the state Class B tournament for the fifth time in six years. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Officially, Elko played one game at the state Class B baseball tournament, but it was equivalent to more than two.

The Express and Brooklyn Park tied a record for the longest state tourney game Sunday, playing 20 innings and more than six hours before Brooklyn Park pushed across a run to win 4-3 at Norwood and advance to the double-elimination phase of the tournament. The loss ended the season for Elko, which finished 29-14 in its first state appearance since 2014.

Also losing in the first round were the Eagan Bandits, who fell to the St. Cloud Beaudreau’s Saints 8-0 on Sunday in Norwood.

Elko took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning against Brooklyn Park. The Norsemen responded with two in the bottom of the fourth and the teams traded runs in the eighth. The game’s next run didn’t arrive for 12 more innings.

If it’s possible to pitch a complete game in relief, then Elko’s Dylan Thomas, a Lakeville North High School graduate, did it. Thomas, the third Elko pitcher used in the game, came on in the eighth and pitched nine innings, holding Brooklyn Park to two hits and no runs. He had 10 strikeouts.

Mike Mehlich pitched the first seven innings allowing two runs and four hits. Nick Bentley pitched to two batters and was charged with an unearned run before being replaced by Thomas. Another former Lakeville North player, Grant Gunderson, pitched the final three innings for Elko.

Two Elko hitters, third baseman Kyle Kraska and center fielder Ash Larsen, had nine at bats each in the marathon. Left fielder Jason Grimm, a former Burnsville High School player, went 4-for-8, including a double and home run, and drove in all three Elko runs. Mitch Frederick was 3-for-6 and Thomas hit two doubles.

Two St. Cloud Beaudreau’s pitchers combined on a one-hitter in their team’s opening-round victory over Eagan. St. Cloud Beaudreau’s scored four runs in the top of the second inning and was not threatened after that. Infielder Collin Olstad had the only hit for Eagan, which played in the state tourney for the fifth time in six years.

Class C tourney

The New Market Muskies advanced in the state Class C tournament with a 4-0 victory over Dumont on Sunday in a first-round game at Hamburg. The Class C tourney has 48 teams and is single-elimination. Next up for New Market is a second-round game against Kimball at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, in Norwood.

Nate Rost pitched a one-hitter with no walks and 10 strikeouts for New Market, which took the lead with a three-run third inning. Shortstop Scott Lyden, a former Apple Valley High School player, was 2-for-4 with one run scored and two driven in.