The Faribault Falcons will be playing the defending Section 2AAA Champion Mankato West Scarlets for the Section title Thursday in North Mankato.  Heavy rain moved through Mankato and the 5:00 p.m. game started at 7:20 p.m. with the Scarlets winning 17-6 over the New Ulm Eagles.  It does seem fitting these opponents meet in the Section 2AAA championship.

Mankato West was the preseason #1 rated team in Class 3A and Faribault was ranked #14.  The latest poll had Faribault (19-1) with the #1 ranking and Mankato West rated #3.  Thursday's game is at 5:00 p.m. Coverage on KDHL Radio 920 AM and www.kdhlradio.com will start at 4:45 p.m.  Faribault defeated Mankato West May 17.

It was the last game of the regular season for both teams and the Falcons traveled to Mankato West and came home Big NIne Conference champions following a 2-0 win.  The game really should not have been that close in reality.  Four Faribault players were thrown out at the plate.  The Scarlets would have tied Faribault for the conference title if they would have been able to win.

If Mankato West wins the first game there will be a second contest with the winner advancing to the State Tournament June 7-8 at the same park, Caswell in North Mankato.  If Faribault wins the first game there is no second contest.  I have a sneaking suspicion the Falcons are going to see Mankato West pull out some small ball. It's the best way to attempt to get runners on the bases and across the plate against a dominant pitcher.

Throughout the sections Faribault has jumped on their opponents in the first inning with multiple runs scored against Marshall (2), Mankato East (3) and New Ulm (6).  That went a long way toward limiting the small ball game by their opponents.  Especially in their Saturday 10-0 five inning win over New Ulm.

In the game at Mankato West, Falcon junior pitcher McKayla Armbruster held the Scarlets to one bloop hit.  But there were some well hit balls the outfielders made nice catches on.  Armbruster struck out 5 and walked 1.  Faribault had 8 hits with three doubles. Seven different Falcons collected hits in the game and Ellie Knutson stole 3 bases.

I saw Falcon catcher Abby Van Ryn in the grocery store Sunday and she asked if I was going to be there Thursday and I told her I wouldn't miss it for the world.  I said I just want to see one game and she agreed, "That's the goal Gordy.  That's the goal."

Armbruster and her teammates have been locked in this season with their only loss against Class 4A #5 rated New Prague 2-1 in extra innings in a dome game.

It's going to be very hard for Mankato West to win two games against Faribault but I'm sure they are pumped and will be ready to go.  Coach Krusemark will tell his team the Falcons might be Big Nine Conference champions but we are the defending section title holders and we'll take it one game at a time.  If we win the first, then anything can happen.

That's why I only want to see one game Thursday.  Remember the best way to listen if you can't be there (or even if you can) is by downloading the FREE KDHL Radio app and the Power 96 Faribault app.  You tap the app click listen live and you are right next to me at the game.

Section 2AAA Championship is Thursday in North Mankato-photo by Gordy Kosfeld