CJ’s Blog

Posted on Aug. 15, 2014 by CJ Siewert [updated 9/2, 7:30 p.m.]

Tuesday, Sept. 2

7:30 p.m. – It’s the day after Labor Day, so that can only mean two things for players and fans of Minnesota town ball – the two championship teams are recovering from celebrating and everybody is already counting down the days until the next season begins.

I will admit that I am relieved on this day simply because the hectic three weekends of state tournament action are over and I can finally take a breath. This was my third state tournament I’ve covered for the MBA and they seem to get better every year. The games played at Belle Plaine’s Tiger Park and Jordan’s Mini Met were as good as advertised with record breaking performances and thrilling games that kept fans on edge.

It’s well documented that Sobieski ace Tyler Jendro was the story of the tournament, breaking two records and pitching a no-hitter. His record six wins broke a mark that stood for 19 years and his record 41 and two-thirds innings pitched broke a 56-year old record.

Nisswa’s Jeremiah Piepkorn also etched his name in state record books, tying the record for most home runs hit in a game with three.

This was the year of the pitcher, though, with Jendro’s no-hitter along with three one-hit performances. Winsted’s Tony Kley allowed just one hit in a 2-0 win over Pelican Rapids. A single in the eighth inning broke up the bid, but Kley finished with 21 strikeouts – just one shy of the nine-inning record.

New Market’s Nate Rost gave up a single in the fourth inning against Long Prairie, but settled in a didn’t allow another hit the rest of the way.

And Cold Spring’s Zach Femrite had his no-hitter against Dundas broken up in the ninth inning on a broken bat single. Femrite walked six and beaned four.

The three one-hitters upped the state tournament one-hit pitching performance mark to 54 in the 91 years of the Falls Classic – 10 of which have been thrown at Belle Plaine and Jordan.

There were many moments that made this state tournament memorable for me. Some that stand out include:

• Watching Kimball and Plato play at three different parks in one game – going from Jordan to Belle Plaine and finishing the game in Arlington due to wet fields and a late night.

• Thinking Blue Earth had things wrapped up in its second round game against Fort Ripley only to witness the Rebels score seven runs in the ninth inning for the 9-6 comeback win.

• Standing along the first base line at the Mini Met waiting for my game to start and watching Lastrup’s Paul Herman send a ball over the left-center field wall for a walk off home run.

• Thinking Green Isle was well on its way to the semifinals with an 8-0 lead after five innings, only to watch Faribault rally with three runs in the sixth, three in the eighth and three more in the ninth for the improbable 9-8 comeback victory.

For Sobieski, its 2-0 win over New Ulm in the Class C championship marked the first title for the Skis – an organization that has quite the history. This year was the 16th state appearance for the Skis and fifth consecutive.

For Cold Spring, it seemed to be business as usual as the Springers defended their 2013 title, while claiming the organization’s ninth championship in its record 53rd appearance.

The highlights on the field stand out, but it’s the people you haven’t seen since last year’s tournament or meeting new people that really stand out to me.

Sitting in the top row of Tiger Park’s grandstand alongside Waseca’s Tink Larson and Chaska’s Dale Welter. I could listen to them talk baseball all day. It seemed that for every situation played out during the game we were watching between Cold Spring and Dundas, Larson had a story for the same situation that happened at some point in his illustrious career. And every story told by Larson was followed by a quick joke from Welter to keep him in check.

Just let it be known that if you need a tree planted, don’t ask Welter. I’ll let him tell you the story if you ever run into him.

As I was walking around the field during the Class C championship, I had to stop myself every now and then to just take in the moment. Climbing the center field light pole to take pictures and chatting with Jordan second baseman Steven Beckman on the scoreboard platform – those are moments that not many people who watch a game at the Mini Met get to experience.

We’re officially in the offseason and I want to congratulate the state champions, but also the tournament hosts. Belle Plaine and Jordan put on a class act that will be tough to follow next year at Cold Spring and Watkins.

I also want to thank our website intern Erik Steffenson who added a significant amount of content to the website and was a great addition. Thanks, Erik, and have fun back at college.

And thank you, fans, for reading along with my blog. Can’t wait for my fourth crack at it next year.

In case you weren’t at yesterday’s post game ceremonies, here are the All-Tournament teams.

2014 Class B All-Tournament Team

Matt Mossey, Blaine

Alex Boxwell, Blaine

Casey Jacobson, Burnsville

Zach Femrite, Cold Spring

Justin Thompson, Cold Spring

Alex Jungels, Cold Spring

Todd Mathison, Dundas

TJ Evanson, Elko

Gordon Kappers, Elko

Chris Coste, Moorhead

Spencer Flaten, Moorhead

Phil Imholte, St. Cloud Beaudreau

Reese Gregory, St. Cloud Beaudreau

Steve Neutzling, St. Cloud Beaudreau

Aaron Olson, Shakopee

MVP: Zach Femrite, Cold Spring

2014 Class C All-Tournament Team

Ethan Opsahl, Ada

Adam Jensen, Faribault

Matt Lane, Faribault

Mac Zachow, Green Isle

Steven Beckman, Jordan

Scott Hollingsworth, Jordan

Garrett Fischer, New Ulm

Aaron Pfaff, New Ulm

Brady Ranweiler, New Ulm

Mitch Kelly, New Ulm

Jason Roepke, Nisswa

Tyler Jendro, Sobieski

Beau Hanowski, Sobieski

Josh Wenzel, Sobieski

Tony Kley, Winsted

MVP: Tyler Jendro, Sobieski

Monday, Sept. 1

6:30 p.m. – I’ve only been doing this website gig for the past three years and have been a part of amateur baseball for eight, so I can’t say, “I’ve seen it all.”  But I have to believe that even the old timers who’ve been around Minnesota town ball for decades would agree with me that this year’s state tournament performance by Sobieski’s Tyler Jendro was arguably one of – if not – the best by any pitcher.

Jendro earned the Class C state tournament MVP after his Skis beat the New Ulm Brewers 2-0 in the championship game. Jendro pitched a complete game shutout with seven hits allowed and six strikeouts.

But that was just the icing on the cake for Jendro’s state tournament performance. The 26-year old, who played college ball for the Mustangs of Southwest Minnesota State, broke two state tournament records and threw a no-hitter as well.

Jendro broke the record for most wins in a state tournament with six, previously held by Brad Keenan of Glyndon who had five wins in the 1995 tournament. Jendro also broke the record for most innings pitched in a state tournament with 41 and two-thirds, previously held by Jim Lawler of Austin who tossed 36 innings in the 1958 tourney.

In the first round game against Hanska, Jendro went all nine and shutout the Lakers 2-0. He allowed just two hits with 12 strikeouts and a walk.

The Skis and Jendro really got the attention of everybody at the state tourney when they defeated Maple Lake 3-1 in the second round. Many avid town ball followers pegged Maple Lake as the favorite to win the whole thing. Jendro once again went the distance, allowing one run on six hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.

Jendro’s best performance of the tournament was in the third round game against New Market where he tossed the 21st no-hitter in state tourney history. Jendro struck out 14 and walked one against 32 batters.

In the quarterfinal against Fergus Falls, Jendro relieved starter Kyle Peterschick (Randall draftee) in the ninth inning with the score tied 1-1. The game went into extras and in the top of the 11th the Skis broke out for three runs and Jendro closed the door for the win after three innings of relief.

In the semifinal against Faribault – which was rained out Sunday night in the third inning and resumed Monday morning – Jendro came in relief once again, this time in the seventh inning with one out on the board and the game tied 1-1.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Jendro helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to score what proved to be the game-winner. He finished the last two and two-thirds innings of the game for another win in relief.

And in the championship game against New Ulm, Jendro and his rubber arm started on the hill and the Sobieski ace went the distance for another complete game shutout.

Jendro finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record, allowing one run in 41 and two-thirds innings, including 19 hits, 44 strikeouts, three walks and three hit-batsmen. He also did damage at the plate, batting 5-for-19 with four RBIs, two doubles, two walks, a hit-by-pitch and a stolen base. Three of his hits were game-winners.

Enjoy this one, Tyler, and the rest of the Skis. I’m sure we’ll see you at the 2015 state tournament hosted by Cold Spring and Watkins. 

1:15 p.m. – Last night’s semifinal games between Sobieski and Faribault, and Moorhead and Cold Spring were rained out and resumed today.

Sobieski trailed Faribault 1-0 in the bottom of the third. Sobieski threatened in the fifth with runners on first and second, but Faribault was able to get out of the jam with an inning-ending double play.

In the next frame, Sobieski tied the game at 1-1 after a walk, passed ball and a single by Tyler Jendro.

Faribault led off the seventh with a single and Jendro – fresh off pitching 12 innings the past two days, including a no-hitter – came in relief and got the Skis out of the inning without any damage.

In the bottom half with a runner on second, a single to left looked like it could score the go-ahead run, but the runner was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Faribault then had runners on first and second with one out in the eighth, but Jendro again struck out the next two batters to end the frame.

In the bottom of the eighth with a runner on third, Jendro came to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly that proved to be the game-winner.

Sobieski then held on for the 2-1 win.

Jendro earned the win in relief, his fifth win in this state tournament, which ties a record. He also has three game-winning hits.

And now the Class C championship is set with Sobieski taking on the New Ulm Brewers.

Starting on the hill for the Brewers is Mitch Kelly and for the Skis it’s Jendro. Did you think it would be anybody else?

Moorhead and Cold Spring are resumed in Belle Plaine with the Springers leading 3-1 in the top of the seventh. 

Sunday, Aug. 31

4:30 p.m. – We’re down to the final four in Class C. One team made it look easy, while the other three had to fight from behind to advance.

To start the day at the Mini Met, New Ulm busted out of the gates in the first inning, tagging Winsted starter Nik Franck (Young America draftee) for five runs and never looked back.

Winsted scored a run in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 5-1, but the Brewers responded with four in the fifth, two in the sixth and two more in the seventh for a 13-1 win in seven innings.

New Ulm was hot at the plate, as it has been all tournament long, with 18 hits. Catcher Brady Ranweiler, first baseman Zach Hoffmann and third baseman Landon Rewitzer led the Brewers at the plate, each with three hits.

Christopher Cariveau went the distance, allowing one run on three hits with seven strikeout and three walks.

New Ulm has not been short on runs in each of its three games this tournament, winning by scores of 9-4, 12-3 and 13-1.

Today’s opening game in Belle Plaine was much closer until a four-run ninth inning by Jordan put the host Brewers past the Nisswa Lightning 6-2.

Jordan started the scoring in the first with a run, but the lightning answered with two in the bottom half. Jordan tied the game in the third as 52-year old DH Paul Buss hit an RBI double to the right-center gap.

Both teams went scoreless over the next five innings until the Brewers put up four in the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out in the ninth, shortstop Joe Lucas hit a bases-clearing triple to give Jordan a 5-2 lead. Lucas then scored for the sixth run and the score remained a 6-2 final.

Lucas and second baseman Steven Beckman both had three hits for the winners.

Scott Hollingsworth went all nine on the mound for the victory. He allowed two runs on three hits with eight strikeouts and four walks.

The comeback story of the day has to go to the Faribault Lakers. Many of us in the Mini Met press box thought it was going to be a 10-run, seven-inning win for Green Isle after five innings as the Irish led 8-0. But the Lakers kept picking away at the lead with three runs in the sixth and three in the eighth to set up the improbable ninth inning comeback.

Trailing 8-6, Faribault started the ninth with consecutive singles to put runners on the corners. A single up the middle by Jack Helgeson scored on run, but Green Isle was able to record two outs and had the Lakers’ backs against the way. With runners on first and second, DH (and pastor) Matt Lane came to plate and lined a two-run double down the left field line to give the Lakers a 9-8 lead.

Faribault was able to hold the Irish scoreless in the bottom half, securing the comeback victory.

Helgeson led the way for the Lakers at the plate, going 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI.

Green Isle hit three home runs in the game, one each by Brian Scherschligt, Tom Juberian and Axel Twenge.

At the same time as Faribault made it’s comeback win, Sobieski outlasted Fergus Falls 4-1 in 11 innings.

With the game tied 1-1 going into the top of the 11th, Sobieski broke out for three runs and didn’t allow a run in the bottom half to hold on for the win.

After throwing a no-hitter last night, Sobieski pitcher Tyler Jendro came in relief in the ninth and tossed the final three innings for the win in relief.

Catcher Riley Hirsch led the Skis at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a run.

That sets up the final four in Class C. Jordan will take on New Ulm at 5 p.m. followed by Sobieski and Faribault at 7:30 p.m. Both games are played at the Mini Met. 

Saturday, Aug. 30

10:30 p.m. – Today’s state tournament action once again didn’t disappoint.

Of the many exciting moments, fans witnessed a record three-home run game by one batter, three late-inning comeback wins, and a no-hitter.

After trailing 4-0 midway through the fifth inning, Nisswa exploded for six runs in the bottom half, two more in the sixth and another six-spot in the eighth to force the 10-run rule in a 14-4 win over St. Patrick.

Leading the way for the Lightning was shortstop Jeremiah Piepkorn who went 3-for-5 with all three of his hits being home runs. He finished with three runs scored and seven RBIs.

Piepkorn tied a state tournament record for most home runs hit in a game. He shares the record with 14 other individuals and is the first to do so since Kane Malo of Blue Earth did it in 2012.

Winsted, Fergus Falls and Faribault performed late-game heroics today.

Trailing 2-1 going into the eighth inning, Winsted blew up for five runs in the eighth and held on for a 6-2 win over Fort Ripley. Shortstop Josh Anthony led the Wildcats at the plate, going 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and a walk.

Fairmont had a 2-0 shutout going into the ninth over Fergus Falls this afternoon in Jordan, but the Canes didn’t go without a fight. Fergus ended the shutout and took the lead with a five-run ninth, highlighted by a three-run home run off the bat of second baseman Alex Hensch, which was his first hit of the game.

Fergus then held on for a 5-3 win.

A similar scenario played out during the nightcap in Belle Plaine between Faribault and Lastrup. Trailing 3-1 in the eighth, Faribault second baseman Adam Jensen came to the plate with two runners on and blasted a three-run home run to take a 4-3 lead.

Faribault pitcher Matt Lane then struck out the side in the ninth to secure the victory.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was the final game of the day played at the Mini Met. Sobieski’s Tyler Jendro tossed the 21st no-hitter in state tournament history, beating New Market 4-0.

Jendro struck out 14 and walked one against 32 batters. His defense had four errors. Jendro also stroked what proved to be the game-winning hit with an RBI double in the fourth inning.

Other games today included two beat downs at the hands two Brewer teams – the Jordan Brewers and the New Ulm Brewers. Jordan defeated Howard Lake 10-2 and New Ulm beat defending champion Sartell 12-3.

And in a pitcher’s duel, Green Isle’s Mac Zachow outlasted Ada’s Ethan Opsahl in a 2-1 win for the Irish. Both pitchers went the distance. Zachow struck out 12 and allowed eight hits, while Opsahl struck out 14 and allowed six hits.  

So we have our elite eight in Class C and our final four in Class B, which both resume tomorrow. Check back then for more updates to the blog. 

2 p.m. – Last night kicked off championship weekend for the Class B state tournament. Four games were played and now we’re down to the final four. Moorhead, Blaine, Cold Spring and St. Cloud Beaudreau’s advanced.

Moorhead def. Shakopee 3-1

Former major leaguer Chris Coste got things going for the Brewers in the second inning. The Moorhead second baseman led off with a double and later scored for a 1-0 lead.

The Brewers increased their lead to 2-0 in the fifth with a successful suicide squeeze.

Shakopee ended the shutout in the next inning after a pickoff attempt at first was thrown down the right field fence followed by a sacrifice fly.

But that was it for the Indians as they were held scoreless the rest of the way.

Moorhead added an insurance run in the seventh and the score would remain for a 3-1 final.

Shakopee threatened in the ninth by loading the bases with one out, but reliever Mike Peschel got out of the jam without allowing a run.

Shane Bushland got the win for the Brewers with one run allowed on four hits in six innings of work. Coste and Peschel were leaders at the plate, each with two hits. Coste went 2-for-4 with a run and a double. Peschel went 2-for-3.

Blaine def. Elko 9-5

Blaine was able to erase a 3-0 deficit with a five-run fifth inning and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.

Elko put up two runs in the first and one in the fourth before the big fifth inning for the Fusion. The Express picked away at the lead and tied the game with solo runs in the sixth and seventh to make the score 5-5, but Blaine posted another big inning with four runs in the bottom of the seventh for a comfortable 9-5 lead.

Six Fusion batters had two hits each – Alex Boxwell (2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B), Matt Mossey (2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B), Alex Wojciechowski (2-5, R, RBI, 2B), Dan Mossey (2-5, R), Joe Tupy (2-4, R) and Logan Hershey (2-3, RBI).

Matt Mossey earned the win after seven innings of work. Mossey allowed five runs on 11 hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk.

Cold Spring def. Dundas 2-0

Zach Femrite had an interesting game on the mound for the Springers in this one. Femrite had a no-hitter going into the ninth inning, but had walked six and beaned four up until that point.

With one out in the ninth, Dundas first baseman and ScoreMonster web master Steve Loos hit a broken bat single into short right field to break up the no-no.

Femrite finished with the complete game shutout, allowing one hit with six strikeouts, six walks and four hit-batsmen.

Second baseman Garrett Fuchs led the Springers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

St. Cloud Beaudreau’s def. Bursville 2-0

Two runs in the first inning were all the Beaudreau’s needed in the 2-0 shutout.

Center fielder Brian Minks and third baseman Phil Imholte scored the two runs in the opening frame.

Imholte led the Saints at the plate, going 2-for-4.

Reese Gregory held the Bobcats bats in check, going the distance with two hits allowed, 15 strikeouts and two walks.

The Beaudreau’s play Blaine 5 p.m. Sunday, while Cold Spring faces Moorhead at 7:30 p.m. The championship is 2 p.m. Monday. All remaining Class B games are at Belle Plaine.  

Sunday, Aug. 24

11 p.m. – Today’s state tournament action featured four Class C games and four Class B games. The C games were played at Belle Plaine, while the B games were at Jordan.

Here’s a rundown of the Class C games:

Jordan Brewers def. Bemidji Blue Ox 10-1

Just as it did in its first round game, Jordan put up a big inning early in the game and cruised to a convincing victory. The Brewers put up five runs in the second inning and that was more than enough in the nine-run win.

Jordan tallied 14 hits led by shortstop Joe Lucas and catchers Trent Simek with three hits each. Lucas went 3-for-6 with a run and an RBI. Simek went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, two doubles, a run and a walk.

Mitch Bockenstedt got the nod on the hill for the Brewers once again and he went seven innings for his second state tourney win. Bockenstedt allowed five hits and struck out nine without allowing a run.

Fergus Falls Hurricanes def. Kimball Express 5-3

It didn’t take long for Kimball to get its first run. On the very first pitch of the game, Brooks Marquardt smashed a 350-foot home run over the left field fence for a 1-0 lead. But the Hurricanes answered in the bottom half with two runs to take the lead, which they would not give up the rest of the game.

Fergus Falls put up two more in the fourth inning and one in the seventh for a 5-1 advantage.

After allowing the first-pitch home run, Fergus pitcher Kyle Shaikaski settled into a groove and retired the next 19 batters until allowing a single in the seventh inning.

Kimball rallied in the eighth with two runs to cut the deficit to two, but left the bases full.

Peter Gaustad relieved Shaikoski in the eighth and earned the two-inning save.

Fergus right fielder Jake Heck led the Canes at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a run, RBI, double and a walk.

New Market Muskies def. Long Prairie Predators 2-0

New Market’s Nate Rost and Long Prairie’s Gunner Johnson (Nimrod draftee) had a pitcher’s duel going through six innings before a run was scored.

In the seventh inning, New Market got its first two batters on second and third. A passed ball scored what proved to be the game-winning run, while a throwing error scored another.

Rost went the distance for the Muskies, retiring the last 17 batters he faced, while allowing just one hit. He struck out nine and walked one.

Johnson went eight innings for the Predators, allowing two earned runs on four hits with 12 strikeouts and three walks.

Faribault Lakers def. Luverne Redbirds 4-2

The Redbirds and Lakers traded blows early in the game. In the bottom of the first, Faribault scored a run, only to be answered by Luverne’s two-run second inning. But the Lakers responded with a run in the bottom half to tie the game at 2-2.

That score held until the seventh inning when Faribault scored two runs after a bunt single and an error. Matt Lane went the distance for the victors, allowing two earned runs on 10 hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks.

Brian Beuning pitched a complete game in a losing effort. Beuning allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk.

Second baseman Adam Jensen had half of Faribault’s six hits, going 3-for-4 with two runs.

Here’s a rundown of the Class B games:

Dundas Dukes def. Eagan Bandits 5-3

The game went scoreless through the first four innings until Dundas put up three runs in the fifth. Eagan was able to answer in the bottom half with a run, but the Dukes later increased their lead to 5-1 with two more in the eighth.

With their backs against the wall, the Bandits scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but Dundas starter Todd Mathison buckled down for the final out and the complete game win. Mathison allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with 13 strikeouts.

Center fielder Carson Jones led the Dukes at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run.

Moorhead Brewers def. Coon Rapids Redbirds 5-4

One-run innings was the name of the game through 8 and a half between the Brewers and Redbirds. Coon Rapids took a 2-0 lead with solo runs in the second and third, and Moorhead answered with solo runs in the fourth and fifth to tie the game.

The Redbirds then took the lead with a run in the eighth and added an insurance run in the ninth for a 4-2 lead. But the Brewers wouldn’t go out without a fight, rallying for three runs, ending with a walk off sacrifice fly by Nick Colwell.

Former major leaguer Chris Coste led the Brewers at the plate, going 3-for-4.

Moorhead used three pitchers in the game, while Coon Rapids used four. Jason Beikle got the win after one inning of relief and leaving the mound with a two-run deficit.

Cold Spring Springers def. Austin Blue Sox 3-0

The Springers began their state title defense with an impressive shutout. Starter Mathias Butala went 6 and 1/3 innings with three hits, nine strikeouts and two walks. Newcomer Justin Thompson – formerly of the Class C Chanhassen Redbirds – earned a 2 and 2/3 innings save with one hit allowed and four strikeouts.

Cold Spring got two runs in the sixth and added an insurance run in the eighth.

Catcher Ryan Holthaus and left fielder Alex Jungels both had multiple hits for the Springers. Holthaus went 2-for-4 with home run and Jungels also went 2-for-4.

Shakopee Indians def. Forest Lake Brewers 15-5 (7 inn.)

The night game at the Mini Met was highlighted by a slugfest between last year’s runner up and Forest Lake. The two teams combined for 20 runs and 27 hits, including five home runs.

The Brewers started the scoring outburst with three runs in the first inning. But that would be their one and only lead of the game as the Indians answered with a six-run second inning. Zac Hoffman hit a three-run homer in the frame for Shakopee.

Forest Lake got a run back in the bottom half, but the Indians once again had the scoreboard operators running back and forth with five runs in the third. Aaron Olson and Mark Dolenc both hit bombs in the inning.

The Brewers added a run in the bottom of the frame, but that was their final run in the 10-run loss in seven innings.

Shakopee added one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh for the mercy rule.

Four Indians had three hits apiece – Kyle Ryan (3-5, 3 R, RBI, 2B), Mark Dolenc (3-5, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2B, HR, SB), Aaron Olson (3-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B, HR) and Zach Bohar (3-4, 3 R, RBI, HR).

Chris Rupert went five innings for Shako, allowing five runs (four earned) in nine hits with five strikeouts and one walk.

Check back on the blog tomorrow as I’ll have more in-depth analysis from this weekend. 

1 p.m. – Sorry for the delay on the blog update. After playing in last night’s late game and not getting home until early this morning, I didn’t have time to sit down and write before I had to turn around and head back up to cover the tourney.

So far in the second round of the Class C tourney, a strong case could be made that the bye week for the region champions is a hindrance rather than help. Of the 12 games played Friday and Saturday, the region champs are 3-9. The three region champs to have won include New Ulm, Sartell and Lastrup.

Right now in Belle Plaine, Region 10 champ Bemidji is losing to Jordan 9-0 in the eighth, and if that score holds up it will be a 3-10 record the region champs.

I’ve heard many opinions this weekend from both players that played the first weekend and those who had a bye, and a popular opinion is that the bye week plays in favor of the teams that get to play the first weekend. It allows those teams to play a meaningful game while the region champs have to sit for two weeks – which can cause a team that was on a hot streak in its region playoffs to go cold.

I’m guessing this factor is something the state board will review during the offseason.

Yesterday also kicked off Class B state tourney action in Le Sueur. St. Cloud Beaudreau’s upset who many believed to be the overall favorite, Victoria, by a score of 5-4. Burnsville rallied late in its game against the Austin Greyhounds for a 4-1 win. Blaine followed with a 9-4 win over Duluth. And Elko took care of business with a convincing 15-5 win over Isanti.

Check back later today as I’ll have updates from the four Class C games in Belle Plaine and the four Class B games in Jordan.

Friday, Aug. 22

11:40 p.m. – Tonight proved that anything can happen at the state tournament.

Sobieski, Region 8’s No. 4 seed, upset the popular pick Maple Lake 3-1. Many town ball followers considered Maple Lake as the No. 1 Class C team in the state.

I got a chance to talk with Maple Lake player/manager Chad Raiche after the game and he simply said, “It’s tough, but that’s baseball.”

(On a side note, the Lakers were in no mood for shoebeers, so I’m now in debt for two state tournaments worth of shoebeers.)

Just minutes after Sobieski busted up the bracket, Fort Ripley mounted an improbable come-from-behind win over Blue Earth. The Rebels trailed 6-2 going into the top of the ninth and fought back for seven runs in the frame and held on for a 9-7 victory.

The early games featured two convincing wins. Green Isle put up four runs in the opening frame against Dumont and cruised to an 8-1 win, while New Ulm topped Loretto 9-4, which included a pair of home runs at the Mini Met.

I just got home from my relatively short drive from Jordan to St. Peter and with a long day ahead of me tomorrow, I’m going to keep this post short and call it a night.

Tomorrow is a full day at the park and I’ll be playing the role of MBA web guy in the morning/afternoon and state tournament participant at night.

I’ll be in Belle Plaine for the opening game at 11 a.m., which features a rematch of last year’s Class C final – Belle Plaine vs. Sartell. I’ll stay for as long as I can to play my role as web guy, but then I’ll head back to St. Peter to take batting practice before our matchup with Ada at 7:30 p.m. in Jordan.

Thursday, Aug. 21

2:30 p.m. – We’re back for round two tomorrow of the Class C state tournament, while we welcome 16 Class B teams Saturday for round one of their newly formatted single-elimination tournament.

Check back on the mnbaseball.org homepage tonight for the Class B ranking committee’s state tourney prognostications, but for now, let’s take a look at what to watch for during round two of the Class C tourney, which features all of last weekend’s winners versus all 16 region champions that received byes.

Here’s the schedule (region champs listed first):

Friday games in Belle Plaine

5 p.m. – Dumont vs. Green Isle

7:30 p.m. – Blue Earth vs. Fort Ripley

Friday games in Jordan

5 p.m. – New Ulm Brewers vs. Loretto 

7:30 p.m. – Maple Lake vs. Sobieski

Saturday games in Belle Plaine

11 a.m. – Sartell vs. Belle Plaine

1:30 p.m. – St. Martin vs. Fairmont

5 p.m. – St. Augusta vs. Winsted

7:30 p.m. – Waconia vs. Howard Lake

Saturday games in Jordan

11 a.m. – Waseca vs. Nisswa

1:30 p.m. – Jackson vs. St. Patrick

5 p.m. – Lastrup vs. Owatonna

7:30 p.m. – St. Peter vs. Ada

Sunday games in Belle Plaine

11 a.m. – Bemidji vs. Jordan

1:30 p.m. – Fergus Falls vs. Kimball

5 p.m. – Long Prairie vs. New Market

7:30 p.m. – Faribault vs. Luverne

The second round is interesting to me, and many others, because you have proven winners at state pinned against region champions who haven’t played a meaningful game in two weeks. Does that week off help or hinder the region champs?

To start the weekend, Friday night’s games should be great matchups, which I think could go either way in all four games. Dumont is coming off four straight wins in the Region 9 playoff where the Saints won by a combined score of 36-19. They will try to stop the hot hand of Green Isle, which beat up on Lamberton 9-1 last weekend behind veteran state tourney pitcher Mac Zachow.

Fort Ripley outlasted Spring Hill – a season-long favorite in the rankings – 2-1 in 13 innings last weekend. The Rebels take on perennial state tourney participant Blue Earth. The Pirates won the Class C title in 2004 and 2006 with many of the same key players they have this season.

To start Friday night in Jordan, the New Ulm Brewers take on Loretto, who is coming off an extra-inning walk-off win last weekend. As I mentioned last weekend, the storyline here is that Loretto’s battery features the sons of two former Twins players (who play the same positions as their fathers) – catcher Jake Steinbach (father Terry, Twins catcher 1997-99 and current coach) and pitcher Ryan Tapani (father Kevin, Twins pitcher 1989-95). I’m guessing there will be a lot of Steinbachs in the crowd since Terry grew up in New Ulm and played town team for the Brewers’ same-city rival, the New Ulm Kaiserhoff.

And to cap off Friday night in Jordan, the season-long Class C favorite in Maple Lake faces off against Sobieski. The Skis advanced with a 2-0 win over Hanska. During the 2012 Class C state tourney, Sobieski nearly knocked off Maple Lake in the quarterfinals en route to the Lakers’ state championship.

It’s an anticipated rematch for both teams and I saw on Twitter that both the Lakers and Skis are already having fun with the potential outcome.

@MapleLakeLakers “If tied after 9, Gentlemen’s agreement to settle extras with nine 1-on-1 shoebeer contestants – shootout style?”

If you’re unaware of what a shoebeer is, well, it’s self-explanatory. Pour a beer into a shoe and drink it.

Sounds like we are in for another great weekend of state tourney action at Belle Plaine and Jordan. 

Monday, Aug. 18

8 p.m. – Finally have some time to catch up on yesterday’s state tournament action after rain delays pushed games back more than three hours.

The weather affected three games Sunday evening. At the Mini Met, the Kimball and Plato matchup was called in the top of the ninth, while the 5 p.m. games at both parks were delayed – Sobieski and Hanska at Belle Plaine, and Ada and Hinckley at Jordan.

The monsoon submerged the Mini Met with the left field line looking like a stream from home to the outfield. With the field unplayable for the night, the state board did what any other Minnesotan would do – ask the neighbors for help.

The call was made to Arlington and the crew at the park was ready to help out. Arlington’s field earlier Sunday hosted the senior men’s amateur state tourney, so everything was set and ready to go.   

Kimball and Plato picked up were they left off – a 6-4 Kimball lead in the top of the ninth with runners on first and second and one out for Plato. A walk loaded the bases and the next batter hit a grounder that bounced past the first baseman to score two runs and tie the game. A line drive double play ended the inning.

Kimball came to bat and responded by putting runners on the corners with no outs. With the infield in, a ground ball that found a hole proved to be the game winner for a walk-off.

Kimball faces Fergus Falls 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Belle Plaine.

The nightcap in Arlington featured Ada and Hinckley. Ada starter Ethan Opsahl, formerly of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, kept the Knights’ bats in check for most of the game. Opsahl pitched the complete game and recorded 20 strikeouts – two shy of the state tournament record.

Ada scored solo runs in the fourth and sixth innings, but Hinckley finally got to Opsahl in the eight for two runs to tie the game. Ada answered right back, though, with a three-run bottom of the frame and held on for a 5-2 win.

Ada faces St. Peter 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Jordan.

Tournament host Jordan opened the day at Belle Plaine against Luxemburg – a town that had never seen its team at the state tourney in the 117-year history of the organization. It sure looked like the fans were waiting more than a century for this game as they packed the grandstand at Tiger Park and were as loud as ever.

But Jordan, being the state tournament veteran it is, set the tone early. A leadoff triple by Joe Lucas led to two runs in the first inning and that was all Jordan needed in a 5-1 win.

The first game Sunday at the Mini Met was last year’s host, Delano, and Luverne. The Redbirds scored two runs in the third inning and held on to a 2-0 lead through seven innings, but the Athletics rallied for two in the eighth to tie the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Luverne’s Skyler Wenninger got the game winning RBI to send his team to the second round of 32.

Luverne plays Faribault 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Belle Plaine.

The second game at Belle Plaine went 11 innings before a run was scored. Fort Ripley and Spring Hill battled back and forth and both had scoring threats throughout the game, but neither capitalized until the 12th.

In the top of the frame, Fort Ripley got a runner on first and the next batter smashed a ball into the right field ivy fence for a ground rule double. The next at-bat ended up being a swinging bunt that scored a run and a passed ball scored what proved to be the game winner.

Spring Hill had to answer with its season on the line and got its first two batters on second and third without an out. A sacrifice fly scored one, but Fort Ripley got out of the jam for the win.

The Rebels bring a lot of baseball ‘wisdom’ to the field. Four of their players on the 20-man roster are 40 or older, including two that are 50 – Rob Veith, Sr. and Jim Kramer, who was the designated hitter. Kramer still has the swing as he belted a home run in the region tournament.

On the other end of the age spectrum (we won’t say wisdom simply because I don’t know the players), Fort Ripley has four teenagers. The youngest, Mac Brink, is 15.

Fort Ripley plays Blue Earth 7:30 p.m. Friday at Belle Plaine.

Sobieski and Hanska got underway in Belle Plaine after the rain passed through. The game went scoreless through four innings until the Skis notched a run in the fifth. That was all they needed in a 2-0 shutout victory.

Tyler Jendro pitched a complete game two-hitter with 12 strikeouts for the winners.

Sobieski plays tournament favorite Maple Lake 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jordan.

The two storylines I took away from Sunday’s action included the passion of the Luxemburg fans after their 117-year drought, and the willing-and-able mentality the Arlington crew took when asked to take on two games in a desperate situation.

Hats off to you, Luxemburg and Arlington. 

12:10 a.m. – Mother Nature had other plans rather than allowing baseball games to be played on time – or in the right location – Sunday afternoon as thunderstorms rolled through Belle Plaine and Jordan.

The final inning of the Plato/Kimball game, along with the entire Ada/Hinckley game, had to be moved from Jordan to Arlington due to the Mini Met looking like a small pond, all the while Tiger Park had another game to be played hours after its scheduled time.

With all the delays and an unexpected long day at the park, this reporter is going to bed with a 5 a.m. alarm clock on his mind. Check back this afternoon as I’ll have recaps from Sunday’s action. 

Sunday, Aug. 17

1:20 a.m. – State tournament fans at both Belle Plaine and Jordan witnessed town ball at its best today.

At the Mini Met, Loretto walked off in extras to break a 0-0 shutout against St. Benedict. Catcher Jake Steinbach hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 10th for the 1-0 victory. 19-year old Ryan Tapani pitched the complete game for the Larks, allowing four hits with 11 strikeouts.

St. Benedict’s Tanner Oakes also went the distance, giving up seven hits and stuck out just as many.

The Loretto names sound familiar to Minnesota baseball fans because Steinbach and Tapani are the sons of former Twins players Terry Steinbach and Kevin Tapani.   

The Larks move on to play Region 2 Champion New Ulm, Terry Steinbach’s hometown, 5 p.m. Friday at Jordan.

To the south at Tiger Park, Winsted ace Tony Kley nearly matched a state tournament record with his performance against Pelican Rapids. Kley threw a complete game one-hitter with 21 strikeouts – just one shy of the record for most Ks in a 9-inning game (Brian Whinnery, 22 Ks for Air Freight in 2005).

Kley had a no-hitter going into the eighth, but a bleeder up the middle proved to be the lone hit for the Lakers.

Pelican Rapids started Midway draftee Jake Lund and he allowed only one hit in seven innings of work. Lund matched Kley inning-for-inning without surrendering a hit until the seventh. The Wildcats’ first hit snowballed into two runs on two throwing errors on the same play. With runners on first and second, a sacrifice bunt resulted in a wild throw past first base down the right field line to score a run followed by an overthrow to home for the second run.

Winsted faces St. Augusta 5 p.m. Saturday at Belle Plaine.

Prior to the Winsted victory, Green Isle got its bats going for a 9-1 win over Lamberton. The Irish spread out 13 hits, led by DH Alex Twenge, who went 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs, a double and a walk.

State tournament veteran Mac Zachow went seven quality innings in the win. The 40-year old allowed one unearned run on five hits with 11 strikeouts.

Green Isle faces Dumont 5 p.m. Friday at Belle Plaine.

In the night game at Jordan, Owatonna outlasted New Munich 2-1. After the Silver Streaks scored one run in the sixth, the Aces immediately answered with a run in the bottom half. Owatonna then took the lead in the seventh.

Brandon Wolf tossed a complete game for Owatonna, allowing one run on five hits with 13 strikeouts.

The Aces move on to play Lastrup 5 p.m. Saturday at Jordan.

Yesterday’s 1:30 game at Belle Plaine featured St. Patrick vs. Richmond. The Irish erased a first-inning deficit with two runs in the second. The Royals tied it back up with a run in the third, but St. Patrick responded with three runs in the bottom half and cruised to a 7-2 win.

Five Irish batters had multiple hits. Colton Borwege led the charge, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base. St. Patrick faces Jackson 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Jordan. 

Perennial state tournament participant Fairmont punched its ticket to the second round with a 4-1 win over Hampton.

The Martins scored their first run in the fourth and starter Taylor Nawrocki held the Cardinals scoreless through six innings. In the seventh, Hampton tied the game at 1-1, but Fairmont answered with two runs in the eighth and an insurance run in the ninth.

Fairmont also took advantage of six Hampton errors. Hampton outhit the Martins 9-to-7.

Third baseman and relief pitcher Shaun McGuire led Fairmont at the plate. The 24-year old from Iowa went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, a run, a double and a hit-by-pitch.

Fairmont advances to play St. Martin 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Belle Plaine.

New Market opened yesterday’s action at Jordan with an 11-1 thumping over Mora. The Muskies belted 13 hits, including three home runs. Center fielder David Stewart went 4-for-6 with two RBIs, two runs and a home run.

Kyle and Tyler Bergstrom also sent the ball over the wall. Kyle went 1-for-3 with two walks, a run and a home run. Tyler put the icing on the cake with a grand slam in the ninth inning. He went 2-for-5 with five RBIs and a run.

Nate Rost held the Mora bats in check, giving up one run on three hits in a complete game effort.

New Market faces Long Prairie 5 p.m. Sunday at Belle Plaine.

Nisswa never trailed against Cannon Falls to start yesterday’s games at Belle Plaine. The Lightning squeaked out a 4-3 win with solo runs in the third and fourth, and a two-run seventh. Cannon Falls scored one in the fourth and two in the eighth.

What set the tone for what turned into seven complete game performances on the day (out of 16 starters), Nisswa’s Jason Roepke and Cannon Falls’ Keith Meyers (player/manager) both went the distance. Roepke allowed three runs on 11 hits with five strikeouts, while Meyers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and eight strikeouts.

Nisswa faces Waseca 11 a.m. Saturday at Jordan.

Enough about baseball, let’s talk about the important stuff… the food. My lunch was a pork burger at Jordan and supper was a pulled pork sandwich at Belle Plaine. Yes, a solid healthy diet of pork for the day and it was well worth it. If you haven’t tasted either yet, I highly recommend them.

Despite the heat throughout the day, the crowds at both ballparks were great. I couldn’t give you an exact number, but there weren’t many open seats throughout the day. Between the games I attended, I would have to say Green Isle and Lamberton drew the best crowd.

Later today (I guess I am writing this early Sunday morning…) I’ll be in Belle Plaine for the first two games and then head up Hwy. 169 for the final game at Jordan.

Out intern, Erik, is going to be at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington, taking in the Class A championship between the St. Paul Captials and the Minnetonka Millers. So be sure the check back for more updates on the blog.

The 16-team Class B state tournament pairing will be announced later today. Looks like another busy day at the office. 

Saturday, Aug. 16

11 a.m. – We got the opening night of the state tournament out of the way and now it’s on to a full slate of games today – four at each park.

Last night in Jordan, last year’s state runner up Belle Plaine beat Detroit Lakes 10-2. Detroit Lakes took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Phil Kirchner singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Kirk Mclead single.

After a scoreless second inning, Belle Plaine tacked on five runs for a comfortable lead it would never give up. The bases were walked full, but with two outs Detroit Lakes had an opportunity to get out of the jam. The Lakers were not able to get out of it, though, as the Tigers started a two-out rally. Dan Huber hit a two-run single, followed by another two-run single by Ryan Diers. Brad Lawson finished off the frame with a one-run single that barely landed fair down the right field line.

Belle Plaine added three runs in the fourth and single runs in the fifth and eighth for a 10-spot.

With the win, tournament host Belle Plaine faces Sartell in a rematch of last year’s Class C state championship, which the Muskies won 10-0 in seven innings.

Town team baseball is known as a family affair, so it was cool to see 22-year old Pat Riewer and 50-year old John Riewer pitch in the game. Both Riewers are draftees from Bertha. Pat started the game for Detroit Lakes and took the loss, while John tossed a scoreless ninth inning. 

Today I’m back at the Mini Met for the first two games of the day and then I’ll head to Belle Plaine for the last two games. Intern guy Erik Steffenson has the opposite schedule.

Patrick Reusse is in the press box today for his Saturday morning talk show on ESPN 1500. It was fun to listen to him on the drive up to the park – talking to Belle Plaine’s Jeff “Dog” Miller.

The first game of the day just started between New Market and Mora. In the top of the second inning, New Market first baseman Kyle Bergstrom gave his team a 1-0 lead with a solo shot over the left-center field wall, just to the left of the old-school manual scoreboard.

Erik’s notes:

Last night opened up the first of many state tournament games in Belle Plaine. The Howard Lake Orphans and Montevideo Spartans got the honor of opening the tourney in Belle Plaine.

The first two batters of the game walked and were driven home later in the inning on a RBI single by John Stueven and a sacrifice fly from Jason Mix. Right away it was a 2-0 Orphans lead.

Adam Koch pitched a solid game for Howard Lake as he only got in trouble a couple times but managed to get himself out of the inning without any damage on the scoreboard.

In the top of the eighth, Minneota draftee Matt Musser had come in relief for Spartan starter Eldon Evans with one out. Matt Donovan hit a single right away to drive in Mix for a 3-0 lead. From there Musser walked the first two batters in the top of the ninth and was relieved by Clinton draftee Mike Adelman who had a fielding error to the first batter he faced to load the bases. Adelman struck out the next batter, but then Steve Boger hit a single up the score two more runs for Howard Lake. The next two batters grounded out and it was on to the bottom of the ninth.

Chris Hardie switched from third base to pitch the final inning and had a one, two, three inning with two strikeouts to secure the 5-0 victory for the Orphans. Adam Koch pitched eight shutout innings allowing only four hits, three walks, and struck out seven.

Howard Lake will face Waconia next weekend. 

Friday, Aug. 15

5:45 p.m. – Hard to believe I’m already in my third season as the web guy for mnbaseball.org, but here we are. Another state tournament is about to kick off and that means another state tourney blog comes with it.

I got to Belle Plaine at 3 p.m. today for a meeting with the official scorekeepers. We all had a little refresher course on how to input the scores for the iScore app. All games will be scored live online and to follow the action as it happens, simply click on the “Watch Live” button on the schedule page.

Now I’m sitting at Belle Plaine’s Tiger Park and it’s in the best shape I’ve seen it in, and I’ve seen this park plenty of times having played against the Tigers for the past eight years.

Erik Steffenson, our website content intern, and I have gone over our game plan to provide you with comprehensive coverage of the state tourney all weekend. Erik will be in Belle Plaine tonight covering the Howard Lake/Montevideo game, while I’ll be in Jordan for Belle Plaine/Detroit Lakes.

If you remember my blogs from the past two state tournaments, my goal is to give you all the details in regard to game summaries, but also give you an inside look at some of the events going on “behind the scenes.” This year’s blog will be different than year’s past because I’ll also be able to give you the player’s perspective.

I play for St. Peter and we were fortunate to steal the top seed out of Region 6, earning a first round bye, so the player experience won’t be reflected in this blog until next weekend.

To stay updated on all the goings-on in Belle Plaine and Jordan, be sure to check back here on the blog. Every time I add a new post, I’ll be sure to note the date and time of the update at the top of the article.

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