BY DAVID PEDERSEN
Playing close to home may have an impact on the Delano and Rockford baseball teams entering the Section 5AA tournament this week, with games played at Loretto and Delano.
Two-time defending section champion Delano received the No. 1 seed in the east sub-section and opened at home against Brooklyn Center, May 29 after this issue went to press.
The winner advanced to the next round on May 30 at Loretto. The east sub-section title game is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31 at Loretto.
Rockford’s bats went a bit silent last week in two losses, not what coach Randy Griffith was looking for in the way of gaining momentum into the section playoffs.
Rockford earned the No. 7 seed in the west sub-section and had to face No. 2 Litchfield on Tuesday, May 29 after this issue went to press.
The winner was to play May 30 in Delano. That winner plays in the west sub-section title game at 5 p.m. May 31 at Loretto.
The sub-section semifinalists move into the double elimination part of the tournament. The champions in the east and west sub-sections play at 7:30 p.m. June 4 in Loretto. Action continues June 5 and 7 at the same site.
Delano did not play last week. Rockford had a look at its first-round opponent when losing 6-0 to Litchfield last week. Drew VanDehey got two of the four hits.
Senior’s Brent LaMere and Josh Green combined to give up only six hits, but also gave up eight walks in the process.
In the 3-0 loss to Big Lake, Rockford was got just one hit and still left eight runners on base.
Senior Tyler Barningham came on in relief to pitch the last three and two-thirds innings, giving up no hits while striking out four.
Delano finished second in the state two years ago and was consolation champions last season. Both times the team graduated about 14 seniors, but still managed to get to state.
This year the Tigers are in a similar situation and still earned a top sub-section seed. Three standout starting pitchers will be a key factor.