By Adam J.S. Holt
The Pirates beat the Millers twice in the regular season. They made it a third with a chance for a state title on the line.
St. Louis Park got a go-ahead two-run homer from Dave Lindstrom in the top of the sixth and hung on for a 4-3 win over Minnetonka Sunday at Red Haddox Field to force a winner-take-all game Monday for the Class A state championship. It was the first loss of the tournament for the Millers, while St. Louis Park played its way back after dropping its first game at state.
Lindstrom’s homer was his second of the day, as SLP thumped the Rosetown A’s in the loser’s bracket final earlier in the day 27-2 to advance to the championship. Minnetonka had just taken the lead back on a two-run shot by Joe Shallenberger in the fifth to go up 3-2, but Shallenberger followed Adam Seaman’s leadoff single with a deep fly over the fence in left field.
From there, the Pirates held the Millers to three baserunners over the final four innings, defeating Minnetonka for the third time in four games this season.
Minnetonka had the first lead of the game, when Mike Davis doubled to lead off the bottom of the second and later scored on a two-out error on a grounder to short.
SLP responded in the third, with Chris Duda leading off by being hit by a pitch, later scoring on an RBI single by Seaman to tie the game. Lindstrom hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Joe Pierce and put the Pirates up 2-1.
Millers third baseman Ryan Poppitz led off the fifth with a single, but the next two batters got out to bring up Shallenberger, who hit a deep fly to left for a two-run homer and a 3-2 Tonka lead.
Casey Jacobson started on the mound for Minnetonka and pitched all nine innings in taking the loss.
Pete Fuller started the game for St. Louis Park, giving way to Tony Manville in the sixth. Mike Lueck finished the final three innings, stranding a runner on second in the ninth to close out the Pirates’ win.
SLP set some offensive records against Rosetown earlier in the day to reach the final, a 27-2 game.
Seaman hit four doubles for a Class A tourney record and finished 4 for 6 with eight RBI. Lueck, Lindstrom and Manville each had three-RBI days, and all 10 Pirates who hit had at least one RBI.
It was 4-1 after one inning, and the Pirates scored in each of the first six innings, including eight in the third and putting up five in both the fifth and sixth innings. SLP finished with 25 hits and drew five walks, striking out just once as a team.
The Pirates play the Millers at 7 p.m. Monday at Red Haddox Field for the Class A championship. It would be the third overall title for SLP, while if Minnetonka wins, it would mark a third consecutive championship for the Millers.