On June 5, 1972, the Alexandria baseball program qualified for its first-ever state tournament. Rick Banke threw a shutout in both the semifinals and finals on that day. Now five decades later, Banke and Bob Close, who knocked in the game-winning run in the Region 6 finals, look back on the team's trip to the 1972 state tournament.
A critical thinker by nature, Carlsen -- a former three-sport standout for the Cardinals -- is shining at Bethel University in the classroom and on the baseball field where he set multiple single-season records for the Royals in 2022.
At age 67, Backhaus is a coach in Alexandria's baseball system. He also has many fond memories of staying active in multiple activities under the Minnesota State High School League after working more than four decades as an official.
Alexandria bounced back from a loss to top-ranked Mankato West in the semifinals on Wednesday to win the third-place game in six innings against Grand Rapids. It gives the Cardinals a top-three finish in state for the first time in program history.
The Cardinals led 2-0 and drove Mankato's starting pitcher from the game before recording an out in the first inning. But Mankato reliever Tanner Shumski allowed just two hits the rest of the way, and the Scarlets rallied with two runs in the fifth to earn a 3-2 win. Alexandria will play in the third-place game later on Wednesday.
The Cardinals had three hits and a run in the first inning against the Cadets' ace, and they never trailed in a 4-2 win that sends them on to a game against No. 1-seeded Mankato West on Wednesday in Chaska.