St. Albert baseball clinched its spot in its second-straight state tournament on Tuesday after defeating CAM in the Class 1A Substate 7 championship.
The Falcons earned the No. 2 seed in the bracket with their 32-8 record and will play No. 7 Lisbon in the first found. The Lisbon Lions have a record of 25-13.
St. Albert head coach Duncan Patterson knows his team is in for a tough game when the two teams square off at 4:30 on Monday in Carroll at Merchants Park.
"They have a couple good pitchers," he said. "They play fundamentally strong defense and they kind of just move runners. They don't have a big hitter so they just try to get people on base via walks. We have to limit free basses and just go after them."
Offensively the Lions have 65 extra-base hits compared to 90 for the Falcons. Lisbon also has 258 free bases this season compared to just 193 for St. Albert.
Lisbon junior Tyson Scott has pitched 61 1/3 innings and has a record of 8-3. He has an ERA of 2.62 and has struck out 65 pitchers this year. Sophomore Hunter Clark has been on the mound for 52 2/3 innings. He has a team-best ERA of 1.06 and 79 strikeouts.
Patterson said he hopes that the Lions throw a harder thrower as his team tends to do better against pitchers.
"We always gear up for the hard throwers or guys that throw decent velocity," he said. "The guys with the offspeed, when they can mix that in, that's what we struggle with. But, we've been working on that. We kind of geared up for that with CAM and I think we only struck out twice that game. Whatever we were doing was working for us."
St. Albert took Wednesday off to recover from its substate run and will practice Thursday through Sunday.
The Falcons will get one last batting practice in at the high school on Monday before making the trip to Carroll.
St. Albert isn't looking ahead at all in the tournament to future matchups.
"We go one pitch at a time," Patterson said. "We take each pitch seriously. We don't look to the future. We don't look to the second or third inning, we just go one at a time. I think I try to train the kids so they're not thinking about it either. We're just living in the moment and try to go one at a time and try to see what happens there."
The Falcons also preparing for the mental challenge that is the state tournament. To win the title, the Falcons will need to win three games in four days.
This relates to not looking ahead at future matchups and staying focused on the task at hand.
"We always encourage them, you have to play hard," Patteson said. "There are two things you can control Effort and attitude. That's one of our big mottos. If something bad happens you have to learn how to flush it because you can't carry it over. It's in the past, it happened, you can't change it. We're always looking to the future, but we're playing in the present."
Lisbon played the No. 6 seed in the tournament, Alburnett, splitting a doubleheader.
St. Albert hasn't played any opponents in the 1A bracket but split a doubleheader with Clarinda who is the No. 5 seed in the 2A bracket.
If the Falcons win, they'll play the winner of No. 3 Tri-Center and No. 6 Alburnett on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.