Rosemount coach Chris Swansson thought before the season that he might have one of the best teams in the state. The Irish were coming off a 19-8 season and had a senior-heavy roster with plenty of experience.
A week in mid-May left him baffled. The Irish went 1-4 with three one-run losses.
"We had to get through that stretch. That was a tough week," Swansson said. "We're playing well now."
The Irish (17-6) are riding an eight-game winning streak, and section upsets that wiped out Cretin-Derham Hall and Champlin Park left Rosemount standing as the No. 1 seed for the Class 4A tournament that starts Tuesday at CHS Field in St. Paul.
Rosemount will face Sartell (18-5), the lone returning entrant from the 2022 field, in the quarterfinals. The Sabres finished sixth a year ago.
Benilde-St. Margaret's (16-8) is looking to go back-to-back but has won only six of its past 11 games. The Red Knights haven't been the same since losing senior outfielder Easton Breyfogle, committed to Arizona, to injury midway through the season and finished fourth in the Metro West Conference.
Metro West co-champion New Prague (21-3) took the top seed. The Trojans' losses came consecutively early in May, and now they are on a 12-game winning streak.
The most intriguing quarterfinal matchup pits St. Thomas Academy (18-6) against Grand Rapids (16-10). Both took section championships with come-from-behind victories on walk-off hits.
Junior Maximus Sims delivered a game-winning RBI single to cap the Cadets' five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 6-5 victory over Holy Angels in the Section 3 championship. Senior Kyle Henke waited an inning longer for Grand Rapids, belting a two-strike grand slam in the bottom of the eighth to give the Thunderhawks a 7-5 victory and the Section 7 crown.
Section 7 top seeds
Champions of Section 7, which ranges north to Duluth, took the No. 1 seeds in the two smallest classes. Esko (24-1) sits atop Class 2A while South Ridge (22-4) holds down that position in Class 1A. Esko beat South Ridge 4-2 in April.
Fairmont (22-2) is the defending state champion in Class 2A and is seeded second. The Cardinals came out of the losers bracket to win the Section 3 tournament.
Target Field has been home of the state championship games since the stadium opened in 2010. That will come to an end this season; the Twins will be in the midst of a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers that day. The four baseball championship games will be held at CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints, on Friday.