Minneapolis Southwest edged the Richfield Reds 3-2 in nine innings of the second game at Thursday evening to advance to the state tournament finale next week.
Southwest also clipped Richfield 10-9 Wednesday in the first of the best two-out-of-three district playoff series, but Richfield came back in Thursday's opener to score a 7-6 to set up the deciding third game.
"We've battled," said Richfield coach David Boie. "This is the sixth game we've played them this year and we've won two and they've won four, and they've all been one run games. It's just been a battle every time we play. It's come down to the last inning. It's fun when you've got two teams that know each other and kind of play up to each other.
"I couldn't be more proud of them," Boie added of his team.
The Lakers took a 1-0 lead after just a half inning in Thursday's second game and made that score stand up until the sixth inning when they added two more runs on a two-run single by centerfielder Quinlan Milne-Rojek for a 3-0 lead.
The Richfield Reds came right back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth to close at 3-2 on back-to-back RBIs by and Josh Zoellmer. The Reds could have had more in the inning as they knocked out starting pitcher Nick Kuhlman and loaded the bases with two out.
Minneapolis Southwest relief pitcher Nate Ferguson got Richfield's to fly out to right field end the threat.
Richfield again threatened in the bottom of the seventh and got Cameron Dearing to third base on a walk, a stolen base and a throwing error. Rightfielder Dylan McCreary then bailed out the Lakers with a catch in the outfield of Richfield's Dan Beyel's shot to save two runs. That was Richfield's last best attempt to tie the game as the Reds couldn't get anything going in either the eighth or ninth inning.
Minneapolis Southwest will play at 11 a.m. July 29 at Braemar Park in Edina against a team from District 6 (St. Cloud). The 2011 Division I state tournament will be hosted by Eden Prairie July 29 through Aug. 1.R H E Minneapolis Southwest 100 002 000 -- 3 5 0 Richfield
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