CLASS B RANKINGS: A near unanimous new No. 1 emerges

By Nick Gerhardt

news@mnbaseball.org

Photo via Mike Mingo/Twin Cities Photography

It’s postseason baseball time and with that comes our final Class B rankings of the season. Don’t worry, we still will have our pollsters give their take on the state tournament field once the bracket gets revealed Sunday, Aug. 13 on the MBA YouTube channel. Don’t forget to like and subscribe ahead of time. 

There are 31 state tournament spots up for grabs after Stockmen’s Irish earned an automatic berth with their Skyline League championship. There will be competitive games across the sections this year. Section 1 newcomer St. Patrick has made things especially interesting in that race this year. Section 3 with the emergence of Shakopee and Burnsville will bring excitement while Section 4 with the new-look Forest Lake Brewers will shake some things up. Over in Section 6, the St. Louis Park-Hopkins matchup should grab some attention, too.

Enough with the possibilities and on to the reality of our final rankings. For the second straight poll, there’s a new No. 1 — this time Lyon’s Pub, which earned a near-unanimous decision to wrest control from Minnetonka, which held the spot in the last poll. 

The Millers didn’t go far, dropping to the No. 2 spot and sharing it with Air Freight Unlimited, which inched up from the No. 3 ranking.

Our pollsters seem content with keeping Miesville in the No. 4 slot, we’ll see what the Mudhens will have to say about that. Just behind them came a rising Stockmen’s Irish team in the No. 5 spot, up from No. 7 last time.

Champlin Park climbed a spot to No. 6 and Burnsville rose above Rochester for the No. 7 spot while the Royals slid to No. 8. Voting totals dipped after that but Shakopee climbed to No. 9 in this poll and we ended with a free-for-all with the last spot with Dundas, St. Patrick and St. Michael garnering the same totals. 

Find out why our experts picked the way they did with their thoughts below.

Nate Behlen — Baseball 365

1. Lyon’s Pub Warriors — They’re beatable. You just have to play an almost flawless game in all respects. Because if you screw up, they’ll take advantage of it and make it hurt. Obvious, admitted, biased opinion here because in league games you tend to see the best, but they’re the most complete team I have seen this year. 

2. Air Freight Unlimited — I get the sense the Freight has gone from blue collar worker to Human Resources. I don’t mean this as an insult.*  I mean that instead of grinding it out, they have reached the point of cool, calculated, efficient execution. Be afraid. 

3. Minnetonka Millers — Still looking for that elusive Class B state baseball championship. 

4. Miesville Mudhens — Traditional powerhouse with a typical great record. 

5. Rochester Royals — Even with rumored injuries, you can’t discount them on going back-to-back. Also, can we discuss how awesome their Twitter logo is? The simplicity is glorious. Big fan. 

6. Stockmen’s Irish — Brodie Paul(son) Bunyan and the boys from St. Paul are the No. 1 seed out of Skyline. 

7. Burnsville Bobcats — Sitting atop Section 3. Very quietly having a good year.

8. Dundas Dukes — Another good team having a good year. It’s hard to give a fair evaluation regardless of circumstances, but especially when you see a team in May, it’s hard to know what they’re going to look like in August. I assume they’re better and they were good then. 

9. Shakopee Indians — A nice bounce-back year from a traditionally strong club.

10. Champlin LoGators — Leading Metro Minny again.  

Jon Sands — Victoria

1. Lyon’s Pub Warriors

2. Air Freight Unlimited

3. Minnetonka Millers

4. Burnsville Bobcats

5. Rochester Royals

6. Miesville Mudhens

7. Shakopee Indians

8. Champlin Park LoGators

9. Dundas Dukes

10. Baseball 365

Others to watch:

Chaska Cubs, Forest Lake Brewers, Coon Rapids Redbirds, Cold Spring Springers

Aldon Severson — Northfield Knights

1. Lyon’s Pub Warriors (30-6): As the first team to 30 wins, five more than the next closest team, Lyon’s Pub gets my No. 1 vote. Speculation about their rotation will raise questions headed into playoffs and state. 

2. Air Freight Unlimited (18-1): Air Freight went undefeated in July with a run differential of 76 to 5. These guys might as well book their hotel rooms in Delano today. 

3. Minnetonka Millers (25-7): I’m not sure what to say about Minnetonka. They just seem to beat everybody they play. I’m excited to see these guys in the new state tournament format. 

4. St. Patrick Irish (13-9): The Irish make up for an underwhelming record by winning Section 1. This team exemplifies the importance of having your best guys show up; when they do they’re impressive. 

5. Miesville Mudhens (21-7): The Mudhens head into playoffs as the No. 2 seed in Section 1. With another 20-win season in the books, you can expect this veteran squad to contend come Labor Day. 

6. Stockmen’s Irish (20-5): I don’t know a lot about the teams in Section 7, but I know Todd Klingsporn has his guys rolling at the right time. Solid on all sides of the ball, the Irish are poised to play in another state tournament this year. 

7. Rochester Royals (20-9): Rumor has it that Matt Meyer and Matteo Finocchi will both be available for the playoffs. If so, watch out. The 2022 state champions have to be the best No. 3 seed in the state going into section playoffs. 

8. Champlin Park LoGators (21-12): The LoGators are riding a six-game win streak into playoffs. Sam Riola’s availability is a difference maker for this team come August. 

9. Plymouth HitDawgs (18-7): This team is a mystery to me but their record speaks for itself. 

10. Shakopee Indians (21-8): This pick might upset the folks of Burnsville but Shakopee just beat the Bobcats 8-2 and has a season full of wins that I’m more impressed by. 

Honorable Mention

Burnsville Bobcats, Cold Spring Springers, Dundas Dukes, Forest Lake Brewers, Minneapolis MudCats, St. Anthony Hogs

Nat Croaker — Northwest Orioles

It feels like every time I look at scores, and standings the parity is even more clear. Lots of good teams, and a large handful that have a legit shot at winning the whole thing. Here is who I have for my final top 10 going into the playoffs.  

1. Lyon’s Pub Warriors — An 18-0 record in any league is impressive, but in the Park National League … that’s worthy of the top spot. 30-6 overall. Wow.  

2. Minnetonka Millers — Won the Riverview League, and as usual are still a powerhouse, only reason they are second is because of the above teams season. 

3. Air Freight Unlimited — Only one registered loss all season and winning the St.Paul League, this is a really good team.  

4. Stockmen’s Irish — A 20-5 overall record and a top finish in a consistently solid Skyline League. That’s a good season.

5. Minneapolis MudCats — A really good 14-4 record in the Park National and have seemed to be there all year.  I don’t know much about them but you gotta be good to finish second in that group.

6. Champlin Park LoGators — Won the Metro Minny and accumulated a 21-win season. These guys are young, talented and are a problem on the basepaths.  

7. Plymouth HitDawgs — I have seen it first hand now multiple times, but these guys can seriously hit, and have a couple really good arms. With a second-place finish in the Riverview and an 18-7 record overall these guys can beat anyone.  

8. Miesville Mudhens — Even though they did not win their league, these guys finished with a 21-7 record and as always will be trouble in the playoffs.

9. Burnsville Bobcats — A finish at the top of their league and a 19-4 record on the year, this team has got to be good. 

10. Shakopee Indians — Second-place finish to the above mentioned Bobcats, but with 21 wins and some impressive ones in there, they deserve a top 10 spot. 

Jordan Wiggins — St. Anthony Hogs

1. Air Freight Unlimited — One loss on the season and there haven’t been many close ones. The St. Paul League isn’t a gauntlet, but this team is stacked and showing up every night. 

2. Champlin Park LoGators — 10-2 in Metro Minny and 21-12 overall vs. a very tough non-league schedule. Tons of postseason experience and loaded with talent. Should have a good chance to be there the final weekend. 

3. Minnetonka Millers — Riverview champs though they’ve shown some chinks in their armor. Not sure how often the main core has all been there but I assume they’ll be locked and loaded for the postseason. 

4. Stockmen’s Irish — Skyline champs due to tie breaker. Very deep lineup and great arms lead by Ryan Duffy. Have to put a full game together against these guys to take them down. 

5. Lyon’s Pub Warriors — Hoping these come out after our game on Tuesday because this is probably entirely too low. Hoping for no ear holes. Undefeated in the Park National and play as tough of a schedule as anyone. Really good squad. 

6. Burnsville Bobcats — Wasn’t there when they took us down in June. Sounds like a really solid squad and the record shows. 

7. Miesville Mudhens — Down year for them in league play but their 21-7 record speaks for itself.

8. Dundas Dukes — Impressive record with a bunch of good wins in their section and vs. high end non-league opponents. 

9. Rochester Royals — Solid year and I’m sure they will be motivated to defend their 2022 title. 

10. Baseball 365 — Talented team with a mix of veterans and youth. Will be a tough matchup for anyone.

Matt Marek — Champlin Park LoGators

1. Lyon’s Pub (30-7) — The Pub went through the Park National undefeated and are rolling into the playoffs. Great talent + attendance seems to be paying dividends for the Warriors.

2. Air Freight Unlimited (18-1) — To be completely honest, I thought these dudes had folded earlier in the year, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. I don’t think Laubscher has allowed a run all year. The only question mark is do they have the pitching depth for a three-game weekend?

3. Minnetonka Millers (26-7) — Riverview champs yet again, a ton of quality wins yet again. The machine keeps chugging

4. Miesville Mudhens (22-7) — Just like the great male model Hansel, those Hens are “so hot right now.” The crazy part is with a loss on Tuesday they could fall to the No. 3-seed in Section 1, which speaks to the depth of that section.

5. Stockmen’s Irish (20-6) — Nary a bad loss on the 23 slate for the Irish. Duffy is tough, but will the sticks play outside of the bandbox that is McGuire?

6. Burnsville Bobcats (20-4) — Already a win away from state, have put together a sterling record, again, dinged a bit for a weaker Section 2.

7. Rochester Royals (21-9) — Crazy to think they could be the No. 3 seed in that section come Tuesday night.

8. Shakopee Indians (23-8) — Section 2 has started playoff ball and the Tribe is one win away from going back to state.

9. Champlin Park LoGators (23-12) — Gators getting hot at the end of the season, posting seven straight wins. Team ERA of 2.95 has carried the club this year.

10. St Patrick Irish (14-10) — Sleeper club of Class B with all the Mankato talent. Fetching the No. 1-seed in Section 1 ain’t no joke.

Honorable Mentions

Dundas Dukes (21-11)

Minneapolis Mudcats (17-8)

Cold Spring Springers (18-7)

Chaska Cubs (18-13)

St. Michael Saints (15-5)

Minneapolis Cobras (19-17)

Plymouth HitDawg (18-7)

St. Anthony Hogs (19-10)

St. Paul Mudhens (14-7)

Highland Park (17-11)

Tim Flemming — Hamel Hawks

1. Lyon’s Pub Warriors

2. Champlin Park LoGators

3. St. Michael Saints 

4. Minnetonka Millers

5. St. Louis Park Pirates 

6. Moorhead Brewers 

7. Cold Spring Springers  

8. Rochester Royals

9. Miesville Mudhens

10. Coon Rapids Redbirds 

Patrick Sheehy — Highland Park Beavers

1. Lyon’s Pub Warriors

2. Air Freight Unlimited

3. Burnsville Bobcats

4. Minnetonka Millers

5. Stockmen’s Irish

6. Miesville Mudhens

7. Rochester Royals

8. Shakopee Indians

9. Highland Park Beavers

10. Baseball 365

Class B rankings (as of Aug 1)(Pts)(Previous)

1. Lyon’s Pub Warriors (76)(2)

2. Air Freight Unlimited (63)(3)

2. Minnetonka Millers (63)(1)

4. Miesville Mudhens (39)(4)

5. Stockmen’s Irish (36)(7)

6. Champlin Park LoGators (32)(7)

7. Burnsville Bobcats (31)(NR)

8. Rochester Royals (29)(5)

9. Shakopee Indians (14)(10)

10. Dundas Dukes (8)(NR)

10. St. Patrick Irish (8)(NR)

10. St. Michael Saints (8)(NR)

Also receiving votes: Baseball 365, Plymouth HitDawgs, Minneapolis MudCats, St. Louis Park Pirates, Moorhead Brewers, Cold Spring Springers, Coon Rapids Redbirds, Highland Park Beavers.

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