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CRVL teams make deep runs at state tournament once again

KIP KOVAR Herald Journal Sports Editor
The Crow River Vallley League has earned quiet a reputation at the state tournment over the past few years . After last year saw two CRVL teams in Plato and Green Isle playing in the Class C title game , the four CRVL teams this year followed that up with another impressive performance .
The CRVL had three of its four teams make it to the final 16 , while Winsted and Plato ultimately had their seasons end in the final eight .
Brownton Bruins
The Brownton Bruins , a team that posted a regular season league record of 9-9 , was a surpise state tournament team after knocking off defending champs Plato in the first round of the Region 7C tournament . The Bruins didn ’ t stop there though . After qualifying for the state tourmanent , the Bruins proved doubters wrong once again as they knocked off Jordan by a scored of 3-1 in the opening round .
The Bruins later had its season come to an end in the second round , after a 13-6 loss to Sartell .
Winsted Wildcats
The Winsted Wildcats , along with the Plato Bluejays , made it the farthest of the four CRVL teams this year .
The Wildcats , who finished the regular season with a league 13-5 record , opened its state tournament run with a 6-0 win over Roseau .
In its second game of the tournament , the Wildcats came out on top in one of its most exciting games of the season . With the game tied at one in the top of the 10th inning , firstbaseman Joe Kley delivered in the clutch a bases-clearing double to give the Wildcats a 4-1 win in 10 innings and keep its state tournament run alive .
Following the exciting win over Gaylord in the second round , the Wildcats came through again . After taking a big lead early , the Wildcats were forced to hold off a late rally by the Watkins Clippers . The Clippers scored four runs in the final four innings , but it wasn ’ t enough as the Wildcats held on for a 7-5 win , advancing to the final eight and staying alive in the final weekend .
In their final eight matchup against Sobiesky , the Wildcats had their defense make too many mistakes . The Wildcats had five errors as they fell to Sobieski 15-12 , just one game short of reaching the final four .
Tony Kley and Joey Kley were selected to the All-Tournament team for the Wildcats .
Plato Bluejays
The Bluejays rolled through the first two weekends of the state tournament with an 11-1 win over Springfield and a 12-1 win over Fergus Falls . After winning the Class C state tournament a season ago , the Bluejays issued a statement in their first two games .
In their third game of the tournament , the Bluejays were forced to earn it . Taking an early 4-0 lead , the Bluejays were able to hold off the Elrosa Saints for a 5-2 win and advance to the final eight along with the Winsted Wildcats .
In their final eight matchup , the Bluejays faced one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament . The Hutchinson Huskies rallied back after falling behind 2-0 for a 4- 2 win over the defending champs , advancing to the final four .
Chris Odefaard was selected to the All- Tournament team for the Bluejays .
Waconia Lakers
Things didn ’ t come easy for the Waconia Lakers in their state tournament run . The Lakers , who came into the state tournament as Region 7C champions , snuck by the Cold Spring Rockies with a 2-1 win in their opening round .
Following the exciting game in the first round , the Lakers , who have one of the most explosive offensive teams , were shut-out by the Maple Lake Lakers as their season came to an end with a 3-0 loss .
Brownton ’ s Dylan McCormick was the ace for the Bruins all season long . He led the league in strikeouts with 85 . McCormick helped the Bruins punch a ticket to state tournament with wins over Plato and Glencoe in the Region 7C Tournament .
PHOTO BY KIP KOVAR

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