The Faribault Lakers lost 11-3 to the Prior Lake Mudcats in a do or die Region 3C Elimination Bracket game at Bell Field Thursday night.  The Lakers last hit came in the 4th inning of the lopsided contest.  They appeared to have no energy after relinquishing a 3-1 first inning lead.

Jack Helgeson pitched for the second time this season after experiencing arm trouble most of the shortened year.  He said he felt good to go.  After a 5 run second inning Helgeson allowed just one run before Tyler Francis finished the game.  Helgeson threw 117 pitches, 77 for strikes in his six innings of work, 4 strikeouts, 0 walks, allowing 12 hits, 7 runs.  The Faribault defense had 5 errors behind him and finished with 6 errors in the game.

Francis totals through three innings were 6 hits,  4 runs allowed, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 hit batters.  He threw 67 pitches, 41 strikes.

The top of the first inning was an omen of things to come.  The Mudcats Johnny Houston had a 1-2 count before he hit a sharp grounder to the shortstop hole that Lakers shortstop Joey Grote got to but Houston beat the throw.  Following a fly out Corbin Cross hit a 1-2 pitch for a single.  Pitcher Alex Wattermann was safe on an error with Houston scoring to give Prior Lake a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning the Lakers got a one out single by Danny Pierce to get them going.  He stole second base during the Grote at bat.  Grote was walked.  Mitch Johnson hit a RBI single scoring Pierce.  Grote scored on an error on the throw by the outfielder to third base.  Mike Carpentier then cracked a RBI single to right field and the Lakers were ahead 3-1.

In the Prior Lake second inning Jake Lehrer led off the inning with a 2-1 count single.  Ben Kelsey popped out on the infield so Lehrer could not advance a base.  Ben Morrison the #8 hitter for the Mudcats hit a 1-0 pitch for a single,  #9 hitter Jerad Lehrer hit a 1-2 pitch for a run scoring single.

Houston cracked a 2 run triple on a 2-1 count pitch.  Cole Bjorge smacked a 2-2 pitch for a single to score Houston.  Cross got an infield single.  During a strikeout of the next batter the two baserunners executed a double steal to get themselves into scoring position.

Luke Weber hit a 3-1 pitch for a RBI single before Helgeson got a strikeout to end the inning.  10 batters came to the plate.  7 hits were executed, 5 runs scored.

Faribault had their chance to get right back in the game in the top of the 3rd inning with back to back singles to start the inning by Pierce and Matt Lane.  During a strikeout Pierce advanced to third base on a wild pitch.  Mitch Johnson then lifted a fly ball to shallow centerfield.  Pierce tried to score and was thrown out at the plate.

The Score remained 6-3 until the top of the 4th inning.  Following a strikeout Cross singled on a 1-2 count pitch.  He stole second base.  Wattermann was safe on a fielder's choice when the ball was hit to Grote who threw to catcher Dylan Valentyn.  Valentyn ran Cross back toward third base and he was tagged out.  Cross got to third on an error.  There was another error allowing Wattermann to advance to second base before Luke Weber hit an infield RBI single.

The Lakers got a single to start the 4th inning by Mike Carpentier.  He was stranded there following two pop outs and a strikeout.  There would only be 4 baserunners for Faribault after that and no hits.  The baserunners were 3 walks and a fielder's choice.

Francis was on the mound when the Mudcats sent 10 men to the plate for the second time in the game.  The inning started with a strikeout.  It was followed by a double by Bjorge on the first pitch.  Cross was walked.  Wattermann hit a RBI single.  Weber was safe on a error that led to a run.  Jake Lehrer hit a 2 run single.  The inning ended with the bases loaded and 4 more runs in.

Line totals in my book were:          Prior Lake Mudcats   11 runs  18 hits  1 error
Faribault Lakers          3 runs    7 hits  6 errors

Prior Lake advances to the State Amateur Baseball Tournament after they play Union Hill Saturday at 2:00 p.m.  The game will be in Prior Lake.  The winner is the #3 seed and the loser the #4 seed from Region 3C at the State Tournament.  The Bulldogs rolled over Lonsdale 10-0 in the other Elimination Bracket game.

St. Patrick hosts New Prague 1:00 p.m. Sunday to determine the Region 3C Champion and top seed.  The loser will be the #2 seed at State.