Class C Rankings: June 28 Edition

–by Brett Kruschke

The latest Class C rankings are populated with gaudy records, but none more sparkling than the undefeated Blue Earth Pirates. The pride of the 13-60 League is the new No. 1, bumping the New Market Muskies from back-to-back stays at the top of the pile. With July just a few days away, the power teams at the top of Class C are an increasingly impressive lot. 

TOM ELLIOTT – St. Cloud

  1. Green Isle Irish – Time for a new No. 1. The Irish are 14-2 and are coming off wins over Freeport (14-2), Northfield (9-4) and Hamburg (3-2) since the last poll.
  2. Plato Bluejays – Plato is 14-3 and has won 10 straight. The Bluejays also are defending state champions. Enough said.
  3. Sartell Muskies – Sartell is 16-2 and went 3-0 in the Farming Flames Tournament, beating Atwater 3-0, St. Joseph 10-0 and Farming 6-0. That’s zero runs allowed in three tournament games.
  4. Fort Ripley Rebels – The Rebels keep rolling along. They are 10-1 in the Victory League, having won 10 straight league games.
  5. Nisswa Lightning – Nisswa is 9-1 in the Victory League and we get a glimpse as to who will be ranked higher in the next set of rankings. The Lightning are host to Fort Ripley at 8 p.m. Friday.
  6. New Market Muskies – The Muskies are 19-2 and still one of the state’s top teams, though they lost to the Prior Lake Mudcats since the last poll.
  7. Jordan Brewers – Jordan is 17-5, but fell 4-2 to St. Peter since the last poll.
  8. Blue Earth Pirates – All the Pirates do is win. They are 17-0.
  9. Morris Eagles – This is another team that just keeps winning. The Eagles are 15-0.
  10. Milroy Yankees – Milroy is 18-3 and playing well.

CHRIS BASO – Midway

1.  Nisswa Lightning (13-1).  I still think they are the best overall team in C. As long as they keep winning, they are the team to beat. They have a big rematch with Fort Ripley this Friday, which should be a great game.

2.  New Market Muskies (19-2).  Another team playing a quality schedule and racking up the wins, many in convincing fashion. The Muskies have been in the state tournament the past few years with some success. With the roster additions they made, maybe it bumps them into the elite company of teams that have played on Labor Day.

3.  Blue Earth Pirates (14-0). Blue Earth hasn’t lost yet and has a mix of veterans and young players that can be dangerous. Just like in the past 10-15 years, they will be a contender.

4.  Sartell Muskies (15-2). Just won the Farming tournament and putting up impressive pitching numbers. A solid top of the rotation will carry a lot of Class C teams and they have a few proven hitters that get it done.

5.  Green Isle Irish (16-3).  Green Isle lost out in the semis in their own quality tournament. They are poised to make another run with their tough schedule.

6.  Morris Eagles (15-0). Morris has yet to drop a contest and with wins in the Mike Johnson Memorial and the Miller Lite Invite, they have proven they can beat multiple quality teams on the same weekend. The pitching has been superb and they have some solid young players that are on a roll.

7.  Plato Bluejays (14-3).  The defending champs have won 10 in a row, including a convincing win over Fort Ripley.

8.  Jordan Brewers (17-5).  Hard to find a tougher schedule than Jordan. They have competed well against their former Section 3B opponents and have been up to the task in most C games as well. This is another team with a good mix of vets and a few young guys filling in for depth. I know these guys have been close and want to make a run again. Plus they are above-average beer drinkers, which they will show next weekend in the Coors Light Classic, co-hosted with Shakopee.

9.  Fort Ripley Rebels (16-2).  The Rebels finally lost a couple games, dropping a league contest to a good Avon club and getting beat handily in the finals of the High Life Invite to Plato. Big game versus Nisswa this Friday for this solid squad.

10.  Lamberton Long Sox (13-3).  Another perennial state tournament team that keeps winning. I am not as familiar with the SW part of the state and the teams, but hard to argue with their success.

TRENT SUKALSKI – Jackson

  1.  Blue Earth (15-0):  They have went 5-0 since our last poll and still hold down the #1 spot in my poll. The Pirates defeated Lake Crystal, Minnesota Lake, Wells, Jackson and Morristown in the last two weeks, giving up a total of six runs in those games. Brandyn Olsen and Aaron Wendt each picked up two wins on the bump. 
  2. Nisswa (15-1): A very impressive 4-1 win over the Cold Spring Springers. They also picked up quality wins over Hanska, 3-0, and Howard Lake, 3-1, since our last poll.
  3. Sartell (16-2): The Muskies are on a great run right now, posting 11 straight wins – seven since our last poll. They defeated Farming, 6-0, in the championship game of the Farming Tournament last weekend. The Muskies pitching staff has tossed five consecutive shutouts. And get this, they have only give up 12 runs all year! That’s incredible stuff.
  4. Plato (15-3): The 2015 state champions are also on a roll, winning 11 games in a row. The Bluejays captured the Miller High Life Invitational Championship at Arlington and Gaylord last weekend. They also beat Fort Ripley, 10-0.
  5. Green Isle (16-3): The Irish’s 11-game winning streak came to an end with a 3-2 loss to Hutchinson in the semifinals of the Green Isle/Hamburg Miller Lite Tournament. But the 2015 runner-ups are playing great baseball.
  6. New Market (20-2): The Muskies went 4-1 since our last poll, with the loss coming at the hands of the Prior Lake Mudcats, 10-1. Their wins came against Webster, Lonsdale, Shakopee Coyotes and Veseli.
  7. Morris (15-0): The Eagles make their first appearance in my poll. Wow, 15-0 and just won the Green Isle/ Hamburg Tournament with impressive wins over Bird Island 2-0, Hamburg 9-2, Cokato 4-3 and Hutchinson 4-3 in the championship game. The Eagles are soaring!
  8. Lamberton (15-3): The Long Sox are on an eight-game winning streak and have gone 4-0 since our last poll. They defeated Springfield, 6-2, and 10-runned St. James and Searles in that stretch. Talking with veteran Long Sox and SMSU all-time homerun leader Colby Pack, he said this is the best ball we have played in 15-years. That’s saying something for a perennial state tournament team.
  9. Jordan (17-5): The Brewers play the toughest schedule of anyone, and in the long run that will make them that much tougher. I believe the Brewers are as good as anyone. 
  10. Worthington (11-2): Alright, it’s time to talk about the Cubs. They had three huge offseason pickups in Lucas Henning, Justin Saufley and Joe Ahrens. All three came over from Wilmont, whose team folded this year. Henning and Saufley provide as good of a 1-2 starting pitching punch as there is. Henning two-hit the Lakefield Frogs on Sunday and the Cubs picked up a huge 15-5 win over Luverne on Wednesday, the leader in the Gopher League. The Cubs have come to be the team to beat in the First Nite/Gopher League.

On the bubble:  Fort Ripley, Waconia, Kimball, Milroy Yankees, Sobieski, Midway

JASON KUERSCHNER – Cologne

  1. Blue Earth Pirates – 17-0 my new #1, they haven’t lost!
  2. Morris Eagles – 15-0 they also haven’t lost and they just recently won the GI/Hamburg Miller Lite Tourney.
  3. New Market Muskies – 20-2 they keep winning, but a slight stumble in league play to Prior Lake Mudcats drops them in my poll.
  4. Green Isle Irish – 16-3 they also continue to win but as gracious hosts in their own tourney they fell to the Hutchinson Huskies in the semis.
  5. Sartell Muskies – 16-2 all they did is win five games since the last poll, winning the Farming Tourney and didn’t give up a single run in those three games they played.
  6. Nisswa Lightning – 15-1 continuing to roll through their season. Big league game this coming Friday as they host Fort Ripley Rebels.
  7. Fort Ripley Rebels – 10-1 in league play and looking strong; faceoff with Nisswa later this week!
  8. Plato Bluejays – 15-3 All they do is win – and win big – lately. Big test this week as they go to play at Waconia Lakers on Wednesday. Some serious jockeying for standings in the CRVL on the line in this one.
  9. Milroy Yankees – 19-5 have amassed a nice record and after falling to Wanamingo 1-0 in the GI/Hamburg tourney over the weekend, they collected three straight wins to take the consolation championship away from the Hampton Cardinals.
  10. Kimball Express – 7-0 in league play with some other great wins outside the CVL.

Honorable Mention:  Jordan Brewers 17-5, Dassel-Cokato 14-5, Lamberton Long Sox 12-2, Midway 11-2, Mora Blue Devils 10-5

CHRIS PACK – Hayfield

1. Blue Earth Pirates (15-0) – Followed up their tournament championship at BP with five straight wins, outscoring their opponents 38-4 in those five games. Have done nothing to lose the top spot in my mind. 

2. Sartell Muskies (16-2) – Winners of 11 straight. Their pitching and defense continue to amaze. They have now given up only 12 runs in 18 games and have five consecutive shutouts! David Deminsky leads the Muskies staff with a 5-0 record and a 0.25 ERA. He has only given up one run in 35.2 innings.

3. Nisswa Lightning (13-1) – Nice 4-1 win over Cold Spring Springers on the road. Also a solid 3-1 win over Howard Lake as well.   

4. Plato Blue Jays (14-3) – 11 straight wins, including an impressive one over Fort Ripley to win the Miller High Life tournament. Big game with Waconia tomorrow night.  

5. New Market Muskies (20-2) – A 10-1 loss to the Prior Lake Mudcats since the last rankings, but in the other four games they won they outscored their opponents, 59-13.  

6. Fort Ripley Rebels (16-2) – Tough loss to Plato in the finals of the Miller High Life tournament after four shutout wins to start the tourney. Big game against the Cold Spring Springers Wednesday night.

7. Morris Eagles (15-0) – Nice tournament win at Hamburg/Green Isle, defeating Hutch in the finals. Favorable schedule could find them undefeated heading to the playoffs. 

8. Green Isle Irish (16-3) – Tough loss to Hutch in their own tournament snapped an 11-game win streak. Still looking good heading into July. 

9. Jordan Brewers (17-5) – Dropped a game to St. Peter Sunday, but still playing well while playing a tough schedule. 

10. Lamberton Long Sox (15-3) – Winners of eight in a row and leaders of the Tomahawk East American Division, as usual. Big win over 2nd-place Springfield after a 16-inning win over Essig.  

CLASS C RANKINGS (as of June 28):

1. Blue Earth Pirates (41 points)

2. Sartell Muskies, Nisswa Lightning (38)

4. New Market Muskies (33)

5. Green Isle Irish (32)

6. Plato Bluejays (30)

7. Morris Eagles (24)

8. Fort Ripley Rebels (18)

9. Jordan Brewers (11)

10. Lamberton Long Sox (5)

Others receiving votes: Milroy Yankees (3), Kimball (1), Worthington (1). 

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