MARSHALL -- Paynesville and Luverne aren’t strangers any longer.
As the top seeds in the Section 3AA baseball tournament, the two were on a collision path throughout the entire tournament.
The first time the two met, Paynesville bested Luverne 16-7 on June 2. But the Cardinals worked their way back through to face Paynesville once again on Thursday night in the section final.
Luverne had to hand the Bulldogs two losses Thursday to qualify for state. LHS gave it a run, winning the first game 7-3 to force a winner-take-all second game. In that second game, Paynesville won 7-4 to qualify for the Class AA state baseball tournament.
Derek Lundgren earned the victory for Luverne in the first game, throwing the first five and two-thirds innings. Jake Haugen came on in relief.
Declan Beers had two triples and Jaxon Nelson was 3-for-4 with a triple as Luverne forced a second game. However, four errors cost the Cardinals in the nightcap as Paynesville scored two in the first and five runs in the sixth.
Ben Serie suffered the loss for LHS. Tyler Reisdorfer had three singles, while Serie and Nelson each had two hits.
The Class AA state baseball tournament begins June 14 at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud.
Luverne 203 000 2 -- 7 10 0
Paynesville 002 000 1 -- 3 7 1
Paynesville 200 005 0 -- 7 9 0
Luverne 000 022 0 -- 4 12 4