After winning its first state tournament game in a decade, St. Albert baseball is not ready to celebrate yet, as it looks to earn the right to play for a state title.
Standing in the Falcons' way is the tournament’s No. 6 seed Alburnett, who upset Tri-Center 8-6 in the state quarterfinal round on Monday night.
“Alburnett is a scary team,” Patterson said. “They’ve played Don Bosco, they’ve played Lisbon, and have played some other teams who have, made their way to state and done really well against them. They are a really good team.”
After seeing what the Pirates did to get the win over the Trojans, in addition to beating teams like Class 1A No. 6 Don Bosco in the substate semifinal, coach Duncan Patterson and the Falcons are not looking past the Pirates in Wednesday’s semifinal contest.
The Falcons on the other hand defeat Lisbon after connecting for a whopping 15 hits. It may take a similar performance as Alburnett put up 11 hits against Tri-Center. More so, however, Patterson says the defense will be the biggest key to success in this game
“I think it’s all going to come down to pitching and defense,” Patterson said. “I think we can hit with anybody in the state. We’re pretty aggressive at the plate and on the bases, but ultimately I think it comes down to having good pitching and defense.”
Both teams are no strangers to the state semifinal stage. This is the fifth time in school history the Falcons have appeared in this game, while the Pirates were in this game just two years ago, along the way to a state runner-up finish.
For the Falcon seniors, while it was the first time for them in the semifinals, it is the third state tournament in total for them. That said, these seniors have seen lots of great teams and overall seen a little bit of everything.
Reminding these kids that they’ve already seen a lot of different teams and styles is what helps this team stay relaxed in these big time atmospheres.
“The guys against Lisbon played really relaxed,” Patterson said. “That’s how we’re treating things, it’s just another game. After playing 40-plus games, it’s just another game. We just have to get after them and play our style and we’ll see what happens.
“That’s just something I stress to these guys. We’ve seen a lot of stuff over these past five years. Nothing is going to be new, just go out and play your game and do your job, that’s the big thing I always say to them fielder just make the play, hitters to find a way to get the next guy up, let’s just keep it going to the next guy and see what happens, and it’s done a lot of good for us this season.”
The Falcons' last appearance in a state championship baseball game was in 1999, where the Falcons won the state title. In previous years, the Falcons have had some great teams make state since, something about this year just feels a bit different to Patterson.
“I was talking with the other coaches earlier,” Patterson said. “I think the previous teams had the pitching or a guy or two who could really shut you down. This year we have multiple arms of guys that we’ve used before and that has thrown in the past.
“As I tell our pitchers this year, you just have to throw strikes and trust your defense to make plays and we’ve been there in this situation now many times, and have had a lot of tough games in the past, but a lot of these guys have that experience and now they just play relaxed.
“Not because they don’t care, but they’ve been here before. They don’t give in to pressure. We’re going to be the one putting pressure on the other team, that’s how it is.”
The Falcons and Pirates will get going at noon on Wednesday at Merchants Park.