CLASS C RANKINGS: Top 10 teams solidify spots

By Nick Gerhardt

news@mnbaseball.org

Photo via:Justin Braun Photography

It’s come to this, the final Class C poll of the season and much like the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline, our pollsters mainly stood pat, outside of a Bret Boone-esque acquisition.

Maybe the teams in the top 10 have separated themselves far enough from the pack or our experts just have confidence in their picks. 

For the second straight poll, Delano garnered the top spot with a consensus vote. Once again, Watertown claimed the No. 2 spot and Jordan remained at No. 3.

Nisswa moved up from No. 5 to take the No. 4 spot this time, despite a loss to league rival Buckman for the second time this year. Maybe a meeting in the Region 8C tournament proves different. 

Speaking of the Billygoats, they dropped one spot to No. 5, which they share with Raymond. The Rockets, who won the Corn Belt and enter the Region 4C tournament as the top seed, rose a spot in the final poll.

Waconia wound up in the same spot at No. 7 while Bird Island did the same at No. 8. Luverne crept up a spot after locking up a state tournament spot and Maple Lake entered the top 10 for the first time this season as the Lakers begin a tightly contested race in Region 12C. 

See how our pollsters broke down their top 10 lists and don’t forget to tune in Sunday, Aug. 13 to the MBA YouTube Channel for the state tournament bracket reveal show. Like and subscribe ahead of time so you don’t miss it.

Chad Knutson — Heron Lake Lakers

1. Delano Athletics — 30-2 Record,  win the tough North Star League with a 21-1 record, only losses to Hutch in league play and Class B Shakopee Indians. State tourney host is a team that has the talent to win it all.

2. Watertown Red Devils — 28-3 and won the Crow River North at 17-1, one game ahead of Wacionia. Deep pitching staff,  tough loss to Delano. 

3. Jordan Brewers — 28-2  overall, won the River Valley League at 11-1, Brewers are a tough veteran  team with lots of young talent.

4. Nisswa Lightning — Defending champs lost to Buckman 4-1 in early June at Buckman. Still playing very well, top team in a tough Victory League. 

5. Maple Lake Lakers — Strong season in North Star, finished second to Delano, tough playoff team.

6. Luverne Redbirds — 21-1 overall and Won the Gopher League 16-1, only loss to Fairmont Martins. Lineup 1-9 swings it well. They can get hot and make a deep run.

7. Waconia Lakers — Had a very strong season and look to make some noise. Perennial tourney ready team.

8. Raymond Rockets — 20-6 overall and won the Corn Belt League at 14-2

9. Bird Island Bullfrogs — Tough team to beat out of the Corn Belt, right there with Raymond. 

10. Clearwater River Cats — 24-5 and can really score, a couple of losses late, but may surprise some teams.

Honorable Mention

Isanti Redbirds, Hutchinson Huskies, New Ulm Brewers Elrosa Saints, Sartell Muskies, Plato Blue Jays, Watkins Clippers, Perham Pirates, Waterville Indians, Stark Longhorns, Fairmont Martins, Courtland Cubs, Ada A’s, Union Hill Bulldogs, Atwater Chuckers, Jackson Bulls, Luxemburg Brewers, Princeton Panthers, Red Wing Aces, Dilworth Raildogs  Dumont Saints, Fergus Falls Hurricanes, Avon Lakers, St. Martin Martins, Foley Lumberjacks, Faribault Lakers, Minneota Mudhens, Austin Greyhounds.

Kip Kovar — Howard Lake

1. Delano Athletics — A dominant run through the regular season has the A’s as the No. 1 seed in the Region 12C Tournament. One of the top teams in the state all season long, Delano is looking to make a magical run this year being one of the hosts of the state tournament.

2. Raymond Rockets — Another good regular season for the Rockets finishing league play with a 14-2 record. Expect them to make another run this postseason. No. 1 seed out of the Corn Belt League in Region 4C.

3. Watertown Red Devils — The Red Devils answered the call in the final game of the regular season clinching the CRVL North title with a win over Waconia. They are the No. 1 seed in Region 7C and are finding ways to win but need to get the bats going more consistently if they want to make another deep postseason run.

4. Jordan Brewers — All the Brewers do is win and they are playing well at the right time once again finishing the regular season with a 26-2 record. They are the No. 1 seed out of the River Valley League and should contend once again for the Region 6C title.

5. Nisswa Lightning — It was another solid year for the Nisswa Lightning coming off their state title run last year. The question is can they make another run? I’m excited to find out.

6. Waconia Lakers — A tough loss to Watertown to close out the regular season had the Lakers playing in the CRVL league playoffs. Waconia took care of business sweeping Norwood to earn the No. 3 seed in the Region 7C Tournament and could win it all. A potential matchup with Plato in the second round would be a game people should flock to.

7. Bird Island Bullfrogs — The Bullfrogs are the No. 2 seed out of the Corn Belt League only behind Raymond. I expect them to compete for the Region 4C title despite seeing their 15-game win streak snapped late in the regular season.

8. Buckman Billygoats — A perennial state title contender every year. The Billygoats are a team that you can never overlook.

9. Plato Blue Jays — The No. 2 seed in the Region 7C Tournament out of the Crow River Valley League. The Blue Jays have the pitching to make a run in the tournament and if the offense follows along, they will be a tough out.

10. Hutchinson Huskies — These guys were in my top 10 earlier this season before hitting a tough stretch. They finished with a bang though with wins over Buffalo, Delano and Raymond. They are a team to watch in the Region 12C Tournament in a field that is wide open and due for some upsets.

Aaron Worm — Mankato

1. Delano Athletics — One of the host teams of this year’s state tournament heads into the postseason on top of the rankings.

2. Jordan Brewers — An impressive campaign of 28-2. Twenty-nine home runs so far this season for the Brew Crew.

3. Watertown Red Devils — Best record in the Crow at 17-1, heading into the postseason.  Top three teams all have resumes suitable for the No. 1 spot.

4. Waconia Lakers —  Second-best record in the Crow heading into the postseason. I can’t put three teams from the same league in my top 10, but If I did Plato would be up here somewhere too.

5. Buckman Billygoats — Just beat the defending champs Nisswa for the second time this year last week.

6. New Ulm Brewers — Winners of the Tomahawk East and a 20-plus win season.

7. Luverne Redbirds — Fifth year in a row, the Redbirds are in the Big Dance.

8. Nisswa Lightning — Defending champions, poised to make another state tournament run.

9. Clearwater River Cats — Have no idea what a River Cat is, but they are 25-4. Welcome to the top 10!

10. Bird Island Bullfrogs — So many good teams in the state this year, could easily make a top 20 list. Bullfrogs are one of many teams that could have checked in here.

Tom Elliott — Willmar

1. Delano A’s — The top seed in Region 12C and the North Star League regular season champion should be one of the favorites at the state tournament in … Delano, Dassel and Litchfield.

2. Buckman Billygoats — A 7-5 win over Nisswa on July 30 seals the deal for this ranking. Buckman’s one of the favorites in Region 8C.

3. Watertown Red Devils — The Red Devils have won 19 of their last 20 games, with their only loss 9-8 to Delano. Watertown also is the top seed in Region 7C.

4. Bird Island Bullfrogs — Bird Island is on an impressive run, including a win over Raymond. Bird Island is one of the favorites in Region 4C.

5. Raymond Rockets — Raymond has the top seed for Region 4C in Milroy. 

6. Jordan Brewers — Jordan has won 11 in a row since a 5-3 loss to Bird Island and with a big game against a very good Waseca team coming up on Aug. 5.

7. Nisswa Lightning — Nisswa’s one of the top teams from the north and should be able to get through Region 8C, though it won’t be easy with teams like Avon Lakers, Foley Lumberjacks and St. Stephen Steves — not to mention Buckman — all state-tournament level teams.

8. Watkins Clippers — The best team in the Central Valley League must get through the playoffs, including some very good Sauk Valley League teams like Clearwater and the Sartell Muskies.

9. Elrosa Saints — Elrosa is one of the favorites in Region 15C, but must contend with New Munich in the first round. Elrosa and New Munich tied for first place in the Stearns County League North Division during the regular season. 

10. Plato Blue Jays — Plato’s the No. 2 seed in Regino 7C and will have to deal with Watertown and Waconia in a very strong Region 7C.

Class C rankings (As of Aug. 2)(Pts)(Previous)

1. Delano Athletics (40)(1)

2. Watertown Red Devils (33)(2)

3. Jordan Brewers (29)(3)

4. Nisswa Lightning (20)(5)

5. Raymond Rockets (18)(6)

5. Buckman Billygoats (18)(4)

7. Waconia Lakers (16)(7)

8. Bird Island Bullfrogs (14)(8)

9. Luverne Redbirds (9)(10)

10. Maple Lake Lakers (6)(NR)

Also receiving votes: Clearwater River Cats, Plato Blue Jays, Hutchinson Huskies, New Ulm Brewers, Watkins Clippers, Elrosa Saints, Isanti Redbirds, Sartell Muskies, Perham Pirates, Waterville Indians, Stark Longhorns, Fairmont Martins, Courtland Cubs, Ada A’s, Union Hill Bulldogs, Atwater Chuckers, Jackson Bulls, Luxemburg Brewers, Princeton Panthers, Red Wing Aces, Dilworth Raildogs  Dumont Saints, Fergus Falls Hurricanes, Avon Lakers, St. Martin Martins, Foley Lumberjacks, Faribault Lakers, Minneota Mudhens, Austin Greyhounds.

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