CJ’s Blog [Updated 8/19: 10:08 p.m.]

Posted on August 16, 2012 by CJ Siewert

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Starting Friday, August 17, I’ll be blogging to you from the State Tournament in St. Cloud. This is my first time covering the Fall Classic so obviously everything will be a first-time experience. My aim is to give you an inside look on all the “behind the scenes” action at State and my first-hand experiences.

I’ll try to post a new entry a few times each day throughout the tourney, so check back often to see how it’s going. I’ll keep each entry in the same article, but will change the title with the most recent update’s time [Updated 8/16: 1:30 p.m.] so that you’ll know when a new entry has been posted. Also, I’ll try to keep the MBA Facebook and Twitter pages fresh, so be sure to follow there as well. 

If you have questions or comments, feel free to shoot me an email (siewertc@csp.edu) or call/text (507-779-4135).

Good luck to all the teams and we’ll see you all tomorrow!

Friday, August 17

12:18 p.m. – It’s finally here. The State Tournament begins today in just over four hours with Clear Lake and Lastrup kicking it all off at Dick Putz Field. The MBA Board just finished its meeting with the hosts of the tourney – St. Cloud Sports, Inc. – to go over a few final punch-list items and everything is now ready to go.

A few things that may be worth noting here that were discussed at the meeting are:

– Hosts will be at the fields two-and-a-half hours prior to game time to direct teams to their pregame batting practice locations.

– Home teams will occupy the first base dugouts.

– Each team is allotted seven minutes for their infield/outfield routine.

– The Mayor of St. Cloud will throw out the first pitch tonight.

Now I’ll have a little downtime to get some lunch and maybe find the hot tub at the hotel with the wife. Next up is getting to the field around 3:00 to get set up. Oh, almost forgot, I should probably get my flat tire off my truck and put on the spare. At least I made it here first…

2:38 p.m. – In my down-time, I carefully rolled my truck over to Tires Plus across the street to get a new front tire (thank God it’s only two blocks away from the hotel) and that turned into me buying four new tires and finding out my alignment is out. Again, just glad I made it up here safely.

While waiting for my new tires to get put on, Kayla and I decided to make the trip downtown to visit the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. I had never been, but after going I highly recommend it. Photo Gallery

The HOF is loaded with old memorabilia and offers a great history of baseball in Minnesota. Old baseball uniforms, bats, gloves and much more line the long hallway on the second floor of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. I got a great kick out of it because for the first time I got to see my grandfather’s (Otto “Joe” Siewert) picture and baseball enshrined, along with my great-uncle (Martin Siewert).

So for those of you waiting around before or after a ballgame this weekend, make the trip downtown and visit the HOF – you won’t be disappointed.

Now that I’m checked into the hotel, it’s time to make my way over to the fields to get set up. Next blog entry will be from the press box. See you at the field!

7:41 p.m. – The first two games are complete as the Lastrup Lakers defeated the Clear Lake Lakers 5-0 behind a complete game shutout by Chad Weiss. I sent Kayla down by the field to take some pictures so go check ’em out on the MBA Facebook page – Photo Gallery Over on Faber, the Waconia Lakers (who placed second last year) topped the Stark Longhorns 5-1. Next Saturday, Lastrup will play Jordan, and Waconia will face Morris.

We are using a real slick program to live stat each game – iScore – and after a few hiccups in the first game, I think I got it down. I’ll apologize right now for a few mistakes in the Lastrup/Clear Lake game that I’ll fix when I get the chance. Go to the home page and click on the WATCH LIVE link in the scoreboard to follow the action.

The final game tonight at Dick Putz Field is a match-up between the Prior Lake Mudcats and the Richmond Royals. We’ve got a huge crowd on hand, large in part to the Richmond fan base. And by the look and sound of it, they’re already enjoying all the concession stands have to offer. Should be a great way to wrap up the first night at the State tourney with a lively atmosphere.

Check back later tonight for the final post on the day.

Saturday, August 18

9:51 a.m. – As I was trying to post this last night, the internet at my hotel room decided it no longer wanted to connect so unfortunately here is a combination of a delayed post from last night and this morning’s first entry. 

Opening day at the State tourney is complete along with the first round of the Class B Super Sections. In Class C the winners were Lastrup, Waconia, Prior Lake and Loretto. Class B saw eight Super Section games last night, four of which went into extras – Duluth 3-2 over Red Wing in 10 innings, Mankato 1-0 over Austin Blue Sox in 10, defending champ Sauk Rapids 7-5 over Coon Rapids in 10, and the Austin Greyhounds 5-4 over Moorhead in 13 innings. The other Class B finals are as follows: Victoria def. St. Michael 16-0, Chaska def. Isanti 4-3, Forest Lake def. Dundas 4-3, and Cold Spring def. Eagan 5-0. 

After Friday night’s games were complete I headed back to the hotel where Kayla and I decided to head down to the bar to get a muched needed late-night pizza. There we were greeted by some of Stark’s finest – rightfielder Dustin Mangen and draftee Andrew Woitas of Sleepy Eye. Those are class act guys and congrats on a great season. Hopefully we can make a Stark vs. St. Peter match-up work for next year. 

I suppose now I should take a shower and head back to the field for a full day of baseball – eight games here in St. Cloud and reporting on 12 more Super Section games. I’ll do my best to keep the updates rolling out, so check back often. 

5:16 p.m. – It’s been a hectic start to the day here. I’ve been covering the games played on Joe Faber Field in many different capacities – official statitician, photoprapher and web guy (updating MBA website, Facebook and Twitter). So now I finally catch a breather but in 10 minutes we start right back up with Young America and Avon. 

Not much time to blog right now so check out the home page for results and photos. More to come later…

Sunday, August 19

2:03 a.m. – The second day of the Class C State tourney (and Class B Super Sections and Class A State tourney) is finally over. We made it through most of the day without an issue until Mother Nature decided to rear her ugly head during the last games of the day. It only delayed play for about an hour, though, and all games were played to completion.

I spent the entire day at Joe Faber Field as the official statistician and took a bunch of photos as well. Check ‘em out on the MBA Facebook page. The action was pretty much non-stop to say the least. The day opened up with a pitcher’s duel between Blue Earth’s Lee Hodges and Chanhassen’s Justin Thompson. Hodges won the battle, though, as the Pirates defeated the Red Birds 2-1.

The next game at Faber set up an unfortunate trend that would occur on the field for the remainder of the day. Lake Henry took advantage of multiple Union Hill errors and came out victorious 9-3. The ensuing game saw Avon top Young America 6-2 (Young America committed two errors). And the final game of the day at Faber was one for the ages. A combined 11 errors were committed between New Munich and Winona as New Munich came out as the victor (after an hour rain delay during the seventh inning) 7-3 despite being outhit 7-to-4.

Over on Putz, Maple Lake defeated New Ulm 6-1, Winsted beat Jackson 8-5, Maple Plain topped Bertha 3-2 and Bird Island won 6-1 over Ada.

The Class B State tourney field was also set – the following eight teams will compete for the Class B crown over the next two weekends at St. Cloud and Cold Spring: Sauk Rapids, Cold Spring, Mankato, Victoria, Dundas, Austin Greyhounds, Red Wing and Chaska.

At Red Haddox Field in Bloomington, the Class A title match-up has also been decided – the Minnetonka Millers will take on the Minneapolis Angels on Sunday at noon.

My teammate Ty Kaus (draftee for Belle Plaine) joined me in the press box for the final two innings at Faber tonight and he got the pleasure of listening to Ken, the best PA guy at the State tourney. After the game, Ty and I made our way to Buffalo Wild Wings for a couple drinks and some wings were he beat me soundly in sports trivia. But I’ve got him beat in the clean clothes department since he has to wake up early to find a laundromat to clean his baseball uniform that has been rotting in his baseball bag for the past two weeks. 

Time for bed now. Tomorrow I’ll be back at Faber to stat and take photos for two more games beginning with Belle Plaine vs. Leavenworth at 1:30 p.m. Come visit me in the press box if you feel like chatting. See ya there. 

10:08 p.m. – The first weekend of play at the Class C State tourney is over, Class B Super Sections are complete and a Class A champ has been crowned. It’s been a great weekend for amateur baseball in Minnesota and that’s just the beginning of a three-weekend showcase.

Sixteen teams advanced in Class C with 11 “upsets” (lower seeded team out of its respective Region defeated a higher seeded team out of its respective Region). Regions 8 and 12 have the most recognition with all three of their teams participating in the opening weekend picking up victories – Avon, Lastrup and Nisswa for Region 8; Loretto, Maple Lake and Maple Plaine for Region 12.

Since I was limited to physically watching only half the games over the weekend as the official statistician, I can’t give you a full report on which teams looked to be the most competitive. But what I will do is offer you my list of teams (that I witnessed this weekend) to keep an eye on next weekend – three came to mind.

After being ranked No. 1 in Class C throughout most of the regular season, Lastrup proved its worth in the opening game of the tourney. The Lakers defeated Clear Lake 5-0 behind a five-hit shutout by Chad Weiss. He showed a good mix of pitches and kept hitters guessing all night. And with a week’s rest, I’m sure he’ll take the mound against Jordan on Saturday. 

Blue Earth upped its record to 31-5 with a 2-1 victory over Chanhassen on Saturday and the Pirates proved to be the veteran team. In a pitcher’s duel between Blue Earth’s Lee Hodges and Chanhassen’s Justin Thompson, the Pirates outlasted the Red Birds with solo runs in the seventh and eighth before giving one up in the ninth. Aaron Wendt came in to close the door in the ninth and with those two veteran pitchers, Blue Earth is going to be a tough out for Detroit Lakes on Saturday.

In the final game of the opening weekend, Midway showed its power at the plate. The Snurdbirds collected just eight hits in their 5-1 win over Shakopee, but nearly every ball was hit hard. Jake Lund tossed a complete game and allowed just four hits, while Zach Etter was a homerun shy of the cycle (3-5, 2 R, RBI, SB). Although the 2010 Class C champs committed two errors in the game, they still looked solid in the field making numerous tough plays. Midway will take on Howard Lake on Sunday night.

In Class B the Super Sections wrapped up and eight teams punched their ticket to State – Cold Spring, Austin (Greyhounds), Victoria, Dundas, Sauk Rapids, Chaska, Mankato and Red Wing. All eight teams have had a great season up to this point and deserve to be competing for the title. It’s good to see last year’s champ Sauk Rapids has the opportunity to defend its title and for Cold Spring to play in front of its home crowd Saturday.

The Class A dynasty that is Minnetonka continued on Sunday at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington as the Millers won their 11th State title with an 11-5 victory over the Minneapolis Angels. Minnetonka went 4-0 in the Class A tourney with wins over the River Pirates (10-0), Stockmen’s Irish (5-1), St. Paul Capitals (16-0) and Minneapolis (11-5) for a scoring difference of 42-to-6. Congrats to the Millers on yet another great season. 

Now that I’m back home in Minneapolis I can finally take a breather from sports reporting. Oh wait, it’s back to work tomorrow at Concordia-St. Paul in the sports info department. Never mind on that break, but I guess I can’t complain when I deal with sports for a living.

Blogger is taking a break until next weekend. See you all back in St. Cloud on Friday. 

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