ST. JAMES - Four consecutive South Central Conference baseball championships, including 5 out of the last 6 campaigns, and 18 victories in a row.
Class AA, No. 4-ranked Fairmont accomplished all of the above when Luke Becker belted his state-leading eighth home run of the season to propel the Cardinals to an 8-2 league triumph over the St. James Saints on Thursday in St. James.
Fairmont, who improved to 18-1 overall, earned a share of the conference championship with No. 3-ranked New Ulm. Both the Cardinals and Eagles compiled 9-1 league records this spring.
Becker extended Fairmont's lead to 3-0 by hammering a leadoff home run during the top of the third inning. The hard-hitting Becker also collected a triple to go 2-for-3 from the batter's box with one RBI and two runs scored.
Cole Emler, Ben Abel, Parker Monsen, Nathan Gillis and Jack Waletich each supplied two hits to the Cardinals' 14-hit performance.
Emler collected two RBIs and scored a run, Waletich produced two RBIs, Gillis crossed the plate twice, while Abel and Monsen each scored one run. Jay Ruen and Tyler Tennyson chipped in one hit each.
Ruen allowed two runs on five hits, struck out six and walked only one in five innings of work to earn the pitching victory.
Emler recorded two strikeouts and did not issue a walk in two innings of one-hit relief to preserve the Cardinals' 18th victory in a row this campaign.
Top-seeded Fairmont (18-1, 9-1 SCC) hosts No. 8-seeded Jackson County Central at 11 a.m. Saturday in the first round of the Section 3AA, South Sub-Section playoffs at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.
No. 4-seeded St. James faces No. 5-seeded Pipestone Area in a 1 p.m. opening sub-section contest on Saturday in Fairmont, with the first two games' winners returning to Wolf Field for a 3:30 p.m. clash.
FMT 111 130 1 - 8 14 0
STJ 002 000 0 - 2 6 0
Jay Ruen (WP), Cole Emler (6) and Ben Abel. Brady Halvorson (LP), David Bradley (6) and Kaleb Mohwinkel.
Kale Fritz hurled a no-hit shutout to power Fairmont to a 10-0, five-inning victory over St. James during junior varsity action Thursday.
Fritz recorded 10 strikeouts and issued only one walk in five frames on the mound to earn the complete-game victory.
Fritz also collected two hits and two RBIs offensively, while Clayton Maakestad supplied two hits and three RBIs.
Eli Green generated two hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, while Nate Johnson and Bailey Koppen each tallied one hit and one RBI.
Chris Andrews and Carter Lloyd each added singles for Fairmont, which closed out the season with an 8-7 record.
St. James edged Fairmont, 2-0, during C-squad action Thursday.
Cody Freese, Leyton Becker and Carter Lloyd accounted for the Cardinals' hits.
Cory Lyons pitched a no-hitter for Fairmont, allowing two unearned runs, while walking three and striking out six in six innings of work.
Fairmont ended its season with a 7-6 record.