It may not have gone quite as Jack Thompson expected, but Rosemount's senior pitcher found a way to get the job done.
Thompson hit four opposing batters in the first three innings, but with the help of a defense that turned two double plays in the first two innings, he deflated every threat. The 5-foot-9 righthander got better as the game went on and threw a two-hitter, helping Rosemount to a 4-0 victory Tuesday over Sartell in the Class 4A quarterfinals of the baseball state tournament at CHS Field.
"He's a bulldog. That's exactly the word I would use to describe him," Rosemount coach Chris Swansson said. "He competes in anything. He's going to walk some guys and hit some guys, but he's still going to pitch guys inside and find ways to get guys out. He competes."
Rosemount (19-6) won its 10th consecutive game, riding Thompson's guts and some early offense.
The Irish scored their first run on a safety squeeze bunt by Chance Swansson in the bottom of the second inning. The Irish tacked on three more in the bottom of the third inning on five hits, the big blow a two-run single by Will Harder, who an inning earlier had made the defensive play of the day, throwing out a Sartell runner trying to tag up and score on a fly to left.
"It's so much easier to pitch with the lead," Thompson said. "You got a little pressure with no runs, right? But you get a couple and you're like, 'We'll have fun now. Let 'er rip.' "
Coach Swansson said he gave very little thought to removing Thompson from the game as his pitch count climbed. The Irish were more concerned with the game at hand than saving a pitcher for a possible appearance later in the tournament.
"Our mentality has always been 'Win and we'll take tomorrow tomorrow,' " Swansson said. "We trust our other guys, too, but we just wanted to get on to tomorrow."