One would expect a program making its first winners bracket final might see some early jitters, especially after waiting an extra 45 minutes to get the game going.
That certainly wasn't second-seeded Southwest Christian June 7 at Saints Field in Dassel. It wasn't starting pitcher Bennett Manley either. The right-hander allowing just four base runners in 5 2/3 innings of work.
And because of that, Southwest Christian, winners of 13 straight, a remarkable program-record 20-3, are one win away from their first state tournament.
The Stars beat top-seeded Glencoe-Silver Lake 6-1, getting RBIs from seniors Camden Mellema, Brayden Zimmerman and Koby McBroome, who returned to the line-up after a two-game absence with an ankle injury.
It was McBroome who broke a scoreless game in the third inning, taking home plate on a passed ball. It was McBroome who launched a triple into the gap, plating Lucas Anderson at 2-0, eventually scoring on a Seth Luther RBI-sacrifice fly turned two-base error on a dropped outfield fly at 3-0.
Zimmerman delivered a third run in the fifth inning on a fielder's choice.
Southwest Christian added two more runs in the seventh inning with Cade Wiegert and Adam Tebbs crossing home plate.
Ollie Yuhas closed the door, allowing just one seventh-inning run, finishing with three strikeouts in recording the final four outs for the Stars.
Southwest Christian awaits the winner of Glencoe-Silver Lake and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, a 9-8 defeat of Breck School in the losers bracket.
The championship is set for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 10, in Dassel. A second game, if necessary, would be played 30 minutes after completion of the first contest.