by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River’s top-seeded baseball team opened sectionals against No. 12 seeded Duluth Denfeld on Thursday and took care of business.
“We set the exact tone we wanted to,” said coach Ryan Holmgren about the quick 10-0, five-inning win in Section 7AAA at Hales Field. “They’re a 12 seed with just one regular-season win, but we wanted to forget all that and just take the first step today, and that’s what we did.”
Jordan Hollom, junior right-hander, hurled four innings, giving up one infield bloop single and no walks, striking out three, to get the win. Joe Gonrowski pitched a 1-2-3 fifth with one strikeout. The Elks faced only 16 batters, one over the minimum.
Brady Givens and Nick Johnson each ripped a two-run double for the Elks. Brandon Meyer was 3-for-4 with two runs and two steals. Givens was 2-for-3. Tim Sanford was 2-for-2 with a double and sac fly. Terry Hadden was 2-for-4. Sam Wirtz got aboard three times with an RBI single, walk, and hit-by-pitch.
The tournament now moves to Grand Rapids, where the Elks (14-3) face No. 8 seed North Branch (7-10) at noon on Saturday, followed by No. 2 Forest Lake (14-6) vs. No. 3 Grand Rapids (14-4) at 2 p.m. The victors play at 4 p.m. and the losers will drop to sudden-death games at 4 p.m.
The tournament will resume Tuesday and Wednesday at Grand Rapids. If only southern teams remain, the venue would move south.
In other 7AA games Thursday, North Branch upset No. 4 Anoka 1-0, Grand Rapids beat Princeton 8-7, and Forest Lake blanked Cambridge-Isanti 3-0.