Class C Rankings: June 1 Edition

–by Brett Kruschke

Preseason rumblings that New Market might be really good this year have proven to be true, as the Muskies have won all 12 games to start the season and find themselves atop the latest Class C poll. New Market bumps Green Isle from the top spot, as the Irish held sole possession in the May 17 poll after tying with Nisswa in the season’s inaugural (May 3) poll.

CJ Siewert has withdrawn as a Class C pollster but we thank him for all his contributions and welcome Midway’s Chris Baso to the mix. We also thank Chris, a long-time veteran player, for joining the fray and providing a northern Minnesota perspective.

TOM ELLIOTT – St. Cloud Times

  1. Waconia Lakers – The Lakers beat Brownton and Glencoe and most importantly, stayed unbeaten while others dropped games.
  2. Howard Lake Orphans – Howard Lake also is unbeaten, adding wins over Maple Lake (2-1 in 10 innings) and Montrose (11-1).
  3. New Market Muskies – All these guys do is keep winning. They are 12-0 and have beaten all comers. I think they may be ranked too low at this point.
  4. Sartell Muskies – Sartell had a huge win over Class B state power Cold Spring, beating the Springers 3-2 in 20 innings. They also beat Maple Lake 10-1, but lost 1-0 to Freeport. Sartell is host to the Omann Insurance Classic this weekend with St. Stephen. The Muskies play Mora in the first round and are in a bracket with the New London-Spicer Twins and Bemidji.
  5. Kimball Express – The Express picked up wins over Luxemburg (4-3), St. Augusta (7-6 in 11 innings) and Green Isle (12-1) and are 7-1 this season.
  6. Green Isle Irish – Green Isle plays a great schedule. The Irish beat Plato (4-2) and Dundas (6-3) since the last poll, but lost to Kimball.
  7. Jordan Brewers – Another team that plays a great schedule. The Brewers’ losses since the last poll are to quality Class B teams, Victoria (5-4) and Chaska (5-1). They play this weekend in the Stearns County Classic, opening with a fine Sobieski Skis squad on Friday night in St. Martin.
  8. Plato Blue Jays – A 4-2 loss to Green Isle suggests Plato is among the state’s best.
  9. Fort Ripley Rebels – Fort Ripley is 6-0 in the Victory League and recently signed Jack Hegarty, who wrapped up his career at Bemidji State. He gives the Rebels yet another strong arm. Nisswa (5-1) and Sobieski (6-1) are each at full strength and right there in the Victory League.
  10. Farming Flames – Farming is 6-1 and has the best record in the Stearns County League South Division. They have one of the top pitchers in the league in Brad Mergen. The hard-throwing left-hander, who pitched for the University of Cincinnati, is 4-1 with 44 strikeouts in 33 innings.

CHRIS BASO – Midway

1.  New Market Muskies. They are undefeated and beating teams easily. An impressive 15-1 win over a solid Elko squad really jumps out. Adding a couple Henkemeyers from Sauk Rapids really adds talent and depth to this club.
2.  Nisswa Lightning. In my opinion, they have the best lineup in Class C. The Lightning play good defense and have enough pitching to get into the state tournament, where they can then add through the draft in a deep Region 8C pool. 
3.  Sartell Muskies.  It’s good to be a Muskie in MN. Sartell just beat Cold Spring in a marathon 20-inning game. They have only given up five runs in six games.
4.  Green Isle Irish.  Perennial power that plays in a tough Crow River League and schedules some quality non-league games.  
5.  Waconia Lakers. Very solid team in a solid league (see above). They can definitely hit.
6.  Fort Ripley Rebels. I am fully aware that the Rebels handed the Lightning its only loss, but it is just one game. If they get them again or Nisswa loses a few more games, look for them to overtake them in the standings. They have a solid 1-2 punch in Ethan Branum and Brett Kramer that keep opposing hitters at bay.
7.  Plato Blue Jays. Again, a Crow River Valley League squad makes the list, this time the defending state champs. This is a good team, even without help from last year’s MVP draftee, Tony Kley. They lost a 2-1 game to Class B Chaska and have a lineup that can score some runs.
8.  Jordan Brewers. The Brewers just keep winning. Wins over former section 3B foes Chaska, Prior Lake, and Shakopee show they can hang with the best. They definitely know how to win and are hungry for another run towards Labor Day.
9.  Kimball Express. Impressive victory versus Green Isle after winning a couple games in state last year. 
10.  Blue Earth Pirates. Veteran group is still hanging in there and adding some good young talent each year. Blue Earth is a mainstay in the state tournament.
 
Others laying in the weeds: 
Howard Lake Orphans. A few nice wins, including one over Maple Lake.
Fergus Falls Hurricanes. The Canes have only played a few games, but per usual, they are not allowing many runs to the opposition. They seem to be able to keep bringing in athletes that are fast and can pitch.
New Ulm Brewers. I couldn’t find much on the Brewers but I know they have a strong team.

TRENT SUKALSKI – Jackson

1.  Blue Earth (5-0): The Pirates move up to my top spot after wins over Fairmont 9-4, Morristown 4-1 and a 3-0 shutout of Minnesota Lake. Brandyn Olsen and Aaron Wendt combined for the shutout. The seasoned Pirates are off to a great start.

2.  Waconia (7-0): Wins over Glencoe, Brownton and Young America keep the Lakers perfect on the season.

3.  New Market (12-0): Maybe the most impressive team up to this point. The Muskies 10-runned Veseli, Lonsdale, Morristown, St. Benedict, and Elko since our last poll.

4. Sartell (5-1):  Impressive 3-2 win over the Cold Spring Springers in 20 innings. According to my sources it was the longest MBA game in 27 years. Their lone loss came to Freeport, 1-0. The Muskies are hosting the 2016 Omann Insurance Invitational this weekend.

5.  Nisswa (7-1):  Defeated St. Wendel 16-3 on Memorial Day, and added wins over Cuyuna, St. Stephen and a 20-1 win over the Staples Lumberbats.

6.  Green Isle (7-2):  The Irish fell from the top spot with a couple of losses to Elko and Kimball. However, they have rebounded with four straight wins, including impressive victories over Plato and Dundas.

7.  Jordan (6-3):  The Brewers play a tough schedule, with all three of their losses against solid Class B teams. I believe they’re one of the best Class C teams in the state. The Brewers play Sobieski in the Stearns County Classic on June 4. I’m excited to see that match-up.

8.  Kimball (8-1):  Winners of seven in a row, including an impressive 12-1 win over Green Isle on May 21. The Sweet 16 team from a year ago breaks into my top 10.

9.  Milroy Yankees (10-1):  The tradition-rich Yankees are off to a great start. They move to 5-0 in the Corn Belt League with wins over Granite Falls, 8-2, and Sacred Heart, 4-1. Veteran manager Ryan Rohlik has the Yankees playing great baseball.

10.  Fort Ripley (7-0):  Defeated St. Mathias 2-0 and Freeport 7-0 over Memorial Day weekend. The Rebels’ pitching staff has yielded a TOTAL of three runs over its last six games. That’s impressive stuff.

On the bubble: Howard Lake, Plato, Lamberton, Hanska, Fairbault, Maple Lake, Sobieski, Hadley, Worthington

JASON KUERSCHNER – Cologne

  1. New Market Muskies – 12-0 and a big win over a tough Elko team 15-1; they just keep winning.
  2. Waconia Lakers – 7-0 Continuing to win while others have stumbled, have a tough challenge with Chaska coming up this week.
  3. Sartell Muskies – 5-1 with a marathon win over Cold Spring Springers this past week but a stumble to Freeport, the Muskies drop one spot in my poll.
  4. Fort Ripley Rebels – 6-0 only undefeated team in the Victory League and the addition of Jack Hegarty can only help the cause.
  5. Nisswa Lightning – 7-1 outside of the Fort Ripley loss, they are outscoring their opponents 106-29!
  6. Kimball Express – 8-1 Came to play against Green Isle and won 12-1, looking strong in their quest to return to the state tourney.
  7. Green Isle Irish – 8-2 Previous No. 1, but they play a tough schedule and it ramped up these past two weeks. The Irish collected wins over Dundas and Plato but faltered against Elko and Kimball; I still look for them to remain on this poll as the season continues.
  8. Blue Earth Pirates – 5-0 remain in the top 10 as they continue to accumulate wins, outscoring opponents 56-14.
  9. Howard Lake Orphans – 5-0 and cracked the top ten; playing well enough to stay on top of the tough North Star League.
  10. Farming Flames – 6-1 currently leading the way in the Stearns County League.

Honorable Mention:  Plato Blue Jays 7-3, Midway Snurdbirds 7-1, Faribault Lakers 5-0, Jordan Brewers 6-3

CHRIS PACK – Hayfield

1. New Market Muskies (9-0) – All they do is win. The top teams from the last poll all suffered losses, so they move up to No. 1. Big game vs. Faribault was rained out and will be made up in July.

2. Blue Earth Pirates (5-0) – Haven’t really been tested, but are still unbeaten. Big test tonight (Thursday) against the Austin Greyhounds. 

3. Fort Ripley Rebels (7-0) – They just keep winning. Their win over Nisswa early is their best. We will see if they can sustain it. 

4. Waconia Lakers (6-1) – Tough loss last night to Chaska 1-0, but still off to a great start. 

5. Sartell Muskies (5-1) – Little hiccup with a 1-0 loss to Freeport, but an extra-inning win over the Cold Spring Springers was huge.

6. Kimball Express (7-1) – Destroyed Green Isle 12-1 on May 21. 

7. Faribault Lakers (6-0) – They keep pitching well, only giving up 11 runs in six games. 

8. Nisswa Lightning (7-1) – They keep pounding the ball. 107 runs, including 17 home runs in eight games, but just one run in their only loss versus Fort Ripley.

9. Howard Lake Orphans (5-1) – Nice win over Maple Lake this week. Only loss is to Minneapolis Angels.

10. Green Isle Irish (7-2) – Losses to Kimball and Elko, but a good win over Plato. They stay in my top 10 for now. 

On the bubble: Milroy Yankees, New Munich, Jordan, Plato

CLASS C RANKINGS (as of June 1):

1. New Market Muskies (46 points)

2. Waconia Lakers (41) 

3. Sartell Muskies (36) 

4. Nisswa Lightning (24) 

5. Fort Ripley Rebels, Blue Earth Pirates (23)

7. Green Isle Irish (22) 

8. Kimball Express (21)

9. Howard Lake Orphans (13)

10. Jordan Brewers (11) 

Others receiving votes: Plato Bluejays (7), Faribault Lakers (4), Farming Flames (2), Milroy Yankees (2)

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