Brewers blank Saints in playoff opener

Forest Lake is safely into the semifinals of the Section 2 tournament in Class B baseball. The Brewers, who are hosting the six-team event at Schumacher Field, blanked St. Francis 6-0 on Saturday. They got six shutout innings from starter Mike Swenson, who allowed three hits and no walks while striking out five on just 59 pitches. Trip Schultz, Matt Zidar and Jeff Brooks each pitched an inning to complete the shutout.

“It was a big win because we wanted to stay in the winners’ bracket,” said coach Adam Gallatin.

A four-run second inning was more than enough for Forest Lake to coast. Eight Brewers had one hit in the game. Mike Schultz doubled, drove in a run, scored a run and reached base three times. Brooks doubled, drove in a run, scored a run and earned a walk.

The sixth-seeded Saints (18-16), stayed alive by eliminating fourth-seeded Big Lake 3-1 on Sunday. In the other elimination game, Champlin upset third-seeded Anoka, 3-0.

Next up for second-seeded Forest Lake (18-9) is a winner’s bracket matchup with top-seeded Isanti set for 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Redbirds are 19-6 overall and won the Metro Minny League with a record of 16-2.

“We do have quite a bit of motivation to beat Isanti,” said Gallatin. “They eliminated us in the bottom of the ninth inning last year and then they won the state tournament so I ended up spending a lot of time thinking ‘What if?’ They took it to us pretty good the two times we played this year but we were a bit short-handed in those games so I’m hoping we can get a little revenge Saturday.”

Saturday’s earlier semifinal, from the loser’s bracket, pits St. Francis against No. 5 seed Champlin (14-16). The winner of that game will advance to play on Sunday against the loser of the other semifinal. The winner of that matchup will face the remaining undefeated team in the championship round Sunday night.