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Blue Devil basbeall team is headed to nationals for the second straight year

The Blue Devils are headed back to the Division III Junior College baseball World Series.

Riverland (36-10 overall) beat Ridgewater 5-2 in the Regional Championship in St. Cloud Monday to advance.

The Blue Devils held on to a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning, when relief pitcher Brian Voigt came in and recorded a strike out to thwart a Ridgewater threat that saw two runners on with two outs.

Voigt was pitching for the first time since he severely pulled his hamstring a week ago.

“We were thin at pitching and Brian stretched a little beforehand and was ready to go,” RCC head coach Scott Koenigs said. “Hopefully that’s good news and it means he can play in the series.”

RCC took the lead for good in the fourth inning when Kyal Williams knocked in a run to make it 1-1 and RCC scored its second run when Ridgewater threw the ball away on a run-down between third and home.

The Blue Devils added three runs in the eighth for security when Winston Smith had a run scoring single and Kyle Young knocked in two runs with a two-out single.

“Everybody stepped up for us,” Koenigs said.

Renne Araujo had another big game for RCC as he went 3-for-5. The Houston, Texas native finished 11-for-16 on the tourney and he’s very excited about playing in Tyler, Texas this coming weekend.

“He really wanted to be able to play in front of his family and he’s a pretty happy guy right now,” Koenigs said.

The Blue Devils will open the eight-team double-elimination national tournament Saturday, when they play Manchester Community College at 9 a.m.

Manchester, which is ranked No. 10 in the NJCAA Division III, is based out of Connecticut.

RCC also advanced to the World Series last season.

Ridgewater 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 10 1

RCC 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 X — 5 14 1

RCC pitching: Brad Winkelman (W), 7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 5 K

RCC hitting: Jeff Huth, 1-for-5; Kyle Young, 1-for-5, 2 RBIs; Renne Araujo, 3-for-5, R; Winkelman, 2-for-4, R; Kyal Williams, 1-for-4, RBI; Dustin Fritz, 2-for-4, R; Reece Steckler, 2-for-4, R; Winston Smith, 1-for-3, RBI, R