Stewartville-Racine eliminated Owatonna from the Region 5C amateur tournament Saturday 8-3. Rochester then edged the Sharks 7-6 to earn a trip to state.

The Aces had a great chance to jump ahead of the Sharks in the first inning of Saturday's elimination game, loading the bases with two outs, but failed to score. Owatonna also had runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings but stranded those runners as well.

Stewartville-Racine, on the other hand, capitalized early with a 5-0 lead after two innings on six hits and three walks. A key play in the second inning occurred when the Sharks had runners on first and second with no one out and the No. 9 batter up. He bunted up the third base line and the ball slowly rolled the whole way to the bag, staying fair, and setting up S-R with bases loaded and still zero outs. They scored three runs that inning. The Aces threw a runner out at home in the first and picked a runner off first base in the second.

The Sharks finished off Aces' starter Brandon Wolf in the fifth inning with three more runs, including a two-run home run from Rochester John Marshall's varsity baseball coach Jade Boettcher. The Sharks led 8-0 after five. Isaac Rocha threw the final three-plus innings, striking out six, including a mow-em-down eighth. He allowed just two hits. S-R ended with 13 hits.

Owatonna didn't break through against side-winding, right hander Tyler Schmitz until the top of the ninth where the Aces got five of their 12 hits in the game, scoring all three of their runs. Dexter Leer and Tyler Smith had the run-scoring hits. Schmitz fanned nine batters while tossing the complete game. The Aces were the visiting team on their home field as the No. 4 seed in the tournament, while Stewartville-Racine was the No. 2 seed. Top-seed Wanamingo did not make it out of the opening weekend last week.

The No. 8 seed Rochester Roadrunners upended the Sharks in the following game 7-6 with a late innings comeback to earn a trip to the state Class C amateur baseball tournament along with Dodge County from Region 5C. The 'Runners and No. 6 seed Diamondbacks play Sunday at 11AM at Fuller Field at Dartts to determine the top seed from the region. Rochester would need to win twice to deny the D-Backs, who qualified for the state tournament last week by beating Rochester in the winner's bracket final.





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