Cretin-Derham Hall has won the most games and championships in the history of Minnesota's high school baseball state tournament.
The last of each of those came in 2007.
In 2023, first-year coach Buzz Hannahan leads a veteran group intent on reviving those memories and the Cretin-Derham Hall legend.
Cretin-Derham Hall is the school of 11 state championships, with 43 victories in state tournament games. It's the school that put up three state titles in a row starting in 1996, also a record. It's the school of 66 wins in a row, including every game in 1998, when the Raiders batted .437 (that's a state record) with 50 home runs (a state record), 87 doubles (yes, a record). There were 290 RBI in 1998, 50 more than the second-best mark in history, and 337 runs, 35 beyond any other number in state history.
Cretin-Derham Hall has reached the state tournament 19 times.
Paul Molitor played there. A bunch of Mauers played there, one of them Joe.
Oh, and Buzz Hannahan played there, graduating in 1994.
"He is always talking to us about the tradition of the program," Raiders senior catcher/pitcher Jack Taxdahl said. "The culture and what it takes to be successful."
The Raiders of 2023 are successful. They went 16-4 in the regular season and ended it ranked No. 1 in Class 4A by the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association. They are the top seed in the loaded Class 4A, Section 4 tournament.
Taxdahl is one of 10 seniors hoping to add to school legend, which has been stalled since the Raiders defeated Eden Prairie 4-3 in the 2007 state final.
For now there's a section tournament, which Cretin-Derham Hall began Monday with a 15-3 victory over St. Paul Central at Northwestern (Roseville). The Raiders on Wednesday will play White Bear Lake, a 10-6 winner over Stillwater in the first round.
The state tournament must be kept out of mind.
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves," said Taxdahl, who hit .391 in the regular season with two home runs and went 5-0 on the mound with a 0.78 ERA.
No. 2 East Ridge, No. 7 Woodbury and unranked Stillwater, all 13-7 in the regular season, reside in powerful Section 4. The Raiders swept East Ridge and split with Woodbury and defending state champion Stillwater in Suburban East Conference regular-season play.
Cretin-Derham Hall went 11-13 last season. A bigger moment came two years ago, when the Raiders finished 11-15 but won four games in section play before they lost to Stillwater in the final.
"We lost the 2020 season to COVID-19, and that was a big deal," said Hannahan, who was an assistant coach with the Raiders then. "We brought our young guys up at that time. For us to make the section finals that year was unbelievable.
"They learned how to win at that time. Our 10 seniors really embrace winning as a team, and everybody else falls into place. We are a very deep team."
Six seniors are in the Raiders' everyday lineup, along with three juniors in Lucas Ackland, Paul Jones II and Jake Quinn and sophomore John Henry Kohorst. Jones batted .382 in the regular season with three home runs and is committed to Maryland. Quinn hit .321 with four home runs and is committed to the Gophers.
Cretin-Derham Hall averaged nearly eight runs per game in the regular season, and the pitching staff had an ERA of 2.20.
"We don't have an ace of the pitching staff, so this is really uncharted territory for us," Hannahan said. "We have a bunch of guys that like to compete."
It's on the players now, Jones said, to get Cretin-Derham Hall back to championship level.
"Everybody has to stay focused. We have to make sure we are all locked in," he said. "We have all dreamed about playing in the state tournament and winning a championship."