Preview: Sartell Baseball At The State Tournament
The Sartell Sabres will take on Albert Lea at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Mini-Met in Jordan. The game can be heard on AM 1390/FM 93.9 Granite City Sports and on the free Granite City Sports app.
The Sabres enter the Class AAA State Tournament with a sparkling 21-3 record. Sartell lost a pair of games mid-season to Brainerd and lost a game to Rocori on May 20th, but those are the only losses they have suffered this season and will enter the state tourney riding a seven-game winning streak.
Head coach Jerome Nemanich says he had a pretty good idea coming into this season that they would have a good team based on their workouts last summer.
"With the COVID stuff and not having a high school season last year, we did have 18u and 16u teams in the area and both teams performed really well," Nemanich said. "Coming out of the gym (after spring practices), we felt that we had the right pieces to have a really good team this year."
Among the Sabres' 21 wins this season were a two-game sweep of the Willmar Cardinals. The Cardinals are the #1 seed in the state tourney, while the Sabres are #2. Nemanich said that he doesn't feel any ill-will or disappointment about being given the second seed.
"I was just hoping to get one of the top three seeds, when it comes down to coaches' vote you never know what will come out of it," Nemanich said. "Willmar has a very nice team and we have a nice team too."
Nemanich also added the Cardinals' top seed means a first round matchup against St. Thomas Academy and their Wichita State-bound top pitcher.
The Sabres have a deep pitching staff. While Tyler Phelps-Hemmesch and Chase Heying have shouldered the bulk of the pitching workload, Tyler Gentile has also pitched well as a starter and the bullpen has some impressive numbers this season.
Albert Lea features a great pitcher of their own in Blake Ulve. Nemanich says he expects to see him for at least a few innings on Tuesday.
"He's been their go-to-guy but down the stretch they have been piecing (the pitching together), starting someone for three or four innings before switching it up," Nemanich said. "They are a really scrappy team that plays good defense and the bottom line is when you get down to the last eight teams in the state they are all going to be similar and good.
"Each team is going to have some stars like we do and hopefully they shine (Tuesday)," Nemanich said.