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Area teams stay alive in early playoff rounds

The Section 7 boys baseball playoffs got into full swing Tuesday.

Lots of local eyes were focused on defending Class AA state champion Esko as they opened 7AA play with victories over Two Harbors and Greenway-Nashwauk/Keewatin (GNK), scoring 25 runs in two shutout victories.

Esko rolled through the regular season, dropping only two contests: one to section rival Duluth Marshall and the other to Grand Rapids.

Jackson Peterson stuck out six batters in the 12-0 win over the Agates. Jamis Halverson drove in three runs and both Sam Haugen and Bobby Thornton had two RBIs each in the 13-0 win.

Moose Lake/Willow River also remained alive in the 7AA playoffs, as the lower-seeded Rebels beat Aitkin, 16-7, and advanced. Reese Bode and Tyler Juhl each had three hits in the victory and Bode was the winning pitcher.

ML/WR then fell to Marshall, 12-3. The Rebels battled, scoring three runs early in a game that was competitive until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Marshall scored four times to seal the win. Layne Radzak had two hits in the loss.

Barnum fell in its opening-round game versus GNK, 4-3, and were eliminated from the section playoffs.

Section 7AAA

In 7AAA action Tuesday, Cloquet opened the section playoffs with a 6-2 loss to Hermantown, an early morning matchup played in Proctor.

The Lumberjacks were paced by Brody Dushkin, who had a pair of hits, but couldn’t overcome a four-run third inning by the Hawks. The Lumberjacks fell into the elimination portion of the playoffs and will face Chisago Lakes Thursday in Lindstrom.

Section 7A

Section 7A saw the No. 2 seed South Ridge win a tight pitchers’ duel with a 1-0 victory over Mountain Iron-Buhl Tuesday in Culver. The Panthers were set to face Ely, Thursday.

The Carlton/Wrenshall Raptors lost to Chisholm in the first round of the 7A playoffs, 6-3, Tuesday at Cherry High School. The Raptors committed two costly errors and saw Chisholm use a four-run fifth inning to take the win, ending the Raptors’ season.

Cromwell-Wright won and lost Tuesday in Deer River and remains alive in the section 7A playoffs.

The Cardinals opened with a 10-0 shutout victory over Little Fork-Big Falls in the opening round of the tournament, before falling to Deer River, 10-5, in their second matchup.

“Cam Johnson and Wyatt Goranson provided big hits for us in the win,” Cardinals head coach Dean Levinski said. “Brady Dahl started on the mound for us and did a great job and allowed us to build up an early lead and get the win.”

Drew Nyberg started the second game for the Cardinals on the hill and Cromwell-Wright had a few miscues that cost them as Deer River took a 10-5 win.

“The early mistakes let them jump out to an early lead, and we would fight back but in the end we couldn’t make it up,” Levinski said.

Cromwell/Wright was set to face Chisholm on Thursday in Cherry.

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