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CHS silenced in state final

Holy Family ace Ralston ends Crusaders' tourney run with 2-hitter

1:00 AM, Jun. 19, 2012 EDT

Cathedral's Waylon Bemboom (28) can't beat the throw to second as Holy Family Catholic's Joe Salz (5) makes a double play in the first inning Monday at Target Field in Minneapolis. / Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtimes.com


Waylon Bemboom said he thought he was watching Andrew Thome pitching in the wrong uniform.

That's how good Kasey Ralston was Monday.

He allowed two hits in the state Class 2A championship game at Target Field as Holy Family Catholic of Victoria beat St. Cloud Cathedral 5-0.

Bemboom, Cathedral's senior center fielder and a Lions All-Star, said the Crusaders had not seen anyone quite like Ralston.

"Not this year," Bemboom said. "It was kind of like how Andrew Thome dominated for us last year.

"He was pretty much lights out all the time. He (Ralston) pitched really well."

Thome, the state Class 2A player of the year, has a successful freshman season pitching for Division I North Dakota.

Division I is in Ralston's future, too. He is headed to the University of Indiana on a baseball scholarship.

After Monday, no one from Cathedral denies that he belongs at that level.

"It's pretty fun catching him," Holy Family junior catcher Keller Knoll said. "It's going to be a big loss to see him gone next year."

Ralston (9-0) struck out seven, walked none and hit Bemboom with a pitch twice. The Crusaders' best threat came in the seventh.

Brian Minks, celebrating his 17th birthday, opened the seventh by reaching on a passed ball after striking out. After a strikeout, Bo Schmitz singled to put runners on first and second. They moved up a base on Tommy McMorrow's groundout to second.

But Michael Kerber grounded out to first and Cathedral (24-5), which had used improbable, last-inning rallies to stay alive in the section playoffs against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle and Albany, was out of good fortune.

Holy Family Catholic, enrollment 595 and located on the western fringe of the Twin Cities metro area, has its first state title.

"This means a ton, especially for our baseball program," Knoll said. "We'd been to state a couple times before, but this was the first time we'd won and advanced.

"This is going to help get our name out there."

The Fire scored three times in the fourth, getting doubles by Knoll, Connor Riddle and Jack Schliesman and a sacrifice fly by Tommy Hanson.

It knocked out left-hander Eric Pelant. The senior, making his third straight pitching appearance in the state tournament and going on two days' rest, had gotten through three scoreless innings before succumbing to Michael Ellingson, and then Minks.

"We got the hits when we needed and then we played great defense," Ralston said. "It's pretty awesome."

Holy Family added two runs in the fifth on a two-run double by Riddle. It merely built up the Fire's comfort level.

"That pitcher's really good," Cathedral senior second baseman Matt Dodge said. "He threw pretty hard and he had a good curve. We got a couple hits, but not a lot ...

"I feel like we had a lot of baserunners, but we couldn't do anything."

Cathedral left four runners on base. The Crusaders' few opportunities didn't come with a clutch hit or a break, several of which they enjoyed in a 9-8, nine-inning semifinal win over Proctor and in the section playoffs.

Bemboom was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, but was out when Holy Family turned a 3-6-3 double play.

In the second, Tommy McMorrow had a two-out double, but was picked off second.

In the third, Bemboom led off with another hit by pitch and stole second. But Ralston got three straight quick outs to end the threat.

Kerber reached on an error with two outs in the fifth, but Ellingson flew out to right.

Ralston was too tough.

"It felt like he knew what he was doing out there the whole time," said Kerber, who made the all-tournament team with Pelant and Minks. "We couldn't get around on it (the fastball)."

Cathedral has been to the state high school league tournament 16 times since 1977 and won seven championships, including last season. In all that success, the Crusaders had never repeated as state champions.

That was the goal, but it wasn't happening this day.

"I got to play at Target Field for my birthday," Minks said. "I can't ask for more.

"The outcome's a little disappointing. But we got to play for a state championship."

This day, that was the bright side for Cathedral.

Game notes

* The Class 2A all-tournament team included Kerber, Pelant and Minks from Cathedral, Ralston, Knoll, Joe Salz and Connor Riddle from Holy Family, Proctor's Jake Lewis and Ian Scherber, Fairmont's Spencer Chirpich, Delano's Tyler Wolfe and Cannon Falls' Tyler Boyle-Hoban.

* Peter Larkin, Brian Dorr and Dave Zapzalka of the St. Cloud Officials Association worked the championship game in Class 2A as umpires. Larkin had the plate, Dorr was at first and Zapzalka was at third.

* There was a welcome home for the Cathedral baseball team Monday night at Cathedral's North Gym.

* St. Agnes beat Lac qui Parle Valley 6-0 in the Class A championship game.

* Eastview defeated Bemidji 1-0 in the Class 3A championship game. Bemidji was the Section 8-3A chamnpion, beating St. Cloud Apollo 2-1 in the section final at Dick Putz Field.

* It's the first time all three classes had state champions decided by shutouts. It last happened in 1984 where there were two classes. Minnesota went to a three-class system in baseball in 2000.



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