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Saints march toward conference playoffs

The 2000 St. Scholastica baseball team has been steaming ahead like an out-of-control locomotive, piling up wins and smashing school records at a vicious pace.

The 2000 St. Scholastica baseball team has been steaming ahead like an out-of-control locomotive, piling up wins and smashing school records at a vicious pace.
At 29-8, the Saints have easily ridden two 13-game winning streaks this season to a fourth connsecutive UMAC title. They did so with a sparkling 12-0 conference record, but UMAC titles have become fairly common for the Saints. Their sights are set on NAIA Regional competition, where they will presumably face stiffer challenges from teams like Bellevue University and Briar Cliff, which CSS played to a 1-2 record this season.
Individually, several Saints stars have shone brightly, but none brighter than the record-breaking trio of Corey Kemp, Justin Harriman and Chris LePine.
Kemp tied the CSS all-time record for career pitching wins last week, earning his 20th, which tied a mark set by Hinckley native Ben Sickler.
Harriman slugged his way to a new CSS all-time record for career hits, breaking Aaron Homolka's record of 199.
Close behind Harriman is LePine who also broke Homolka's record. Currently Harriman's hit total sits at 210, while LePine's is at 208.
Individual records, however, mean little to the Saints for the moment.
"I don't know that these kids are even aware of where they are career-wise," said CSS head coach John Baggs. "When the season's over they'll look back and be proud of what they've accomplished.
"The guys set a team goal of winning the (NAIA) World Series. In post season play, the key is pitching, and I think our pitching can take us a long way."
If the regular-season numbers mean anything, Baggs might just be right.
The Saints staff has been solid, led by Kemp and Hermantown native Kevin Kuklis, who is tied for second on the team in wins with Josh Lamppa. Both hurlers have five wins so far.
Freshman Nick Bjerken has become a fixture in the CSS lineup, both on the mound and at the plate. Bjerken sports a 1.61 ERA, good for second on the team behind Kemp, and is batting at an impressive .419 clip.
The number-one seeded Saints will open UMAC Tournament play on Thursday in Waconia and Victoria.

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