After one day of play, four teams are in prime position to advance to the Central Plains Regional in Dickinson, ND. Waconia, Eden Prairie, Ham Lake and Tri-City all swept their first round game at their respective sites and are two wins away from a slot in the Regionals.
Waconia rallies past Excelsior
In a day that had plenty of dramatics, Waconia rallied with four runs in the bottom half of the 8th inning to erase a 6-4 deficit and turn it into an 8-6 lead and ultimately win by a score of 8-7, sending Excelsior to the elimination bracket. Excelsior never trailed in the game held at Bethel University until the fateful 8th stanza.
Leadoff hitter TJ Rogers was a 4-5 with an RBI on the game including belting homerun and double for his team. Gus Steiger was 3-4 with a pair of doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored. Excelsior rapped out 19 hits on the game and had six players in the lineup with 2 multi-hit games including four players with 3 or more.
It would not be enough as Waconia went to work in matching Excelsior’s effort with a 13 hit effort led by Alex Logelin who was 3-5, 2 doubles and a run scored. Robbie Smith was 2-4 with a double and 3 RBI. Jack Jahnke picked up the save in relief.
Waconia (18-9-1) will lock horns with Tri-City on Saturday.
Eden Prairie rolling along
Eden Prairie has been a fixture in Minnesota American Legion baseball holding 7 state titles, 4 regional titles and 1 World Series title in 2011. After nipping nearby rival Waconia by a score of 4-3, Eden Prairie but the pedal down and hammered Stillwater 10-1. They took advantage of a Stillwater team that came off an emotional 7-6 10 inning victory over Burnsville. Trevor Divinski worked 9 innings against Stillwater and only allowed 5 hits while striking out 11 Stillwater batters.
Mike Espe is a sizzling 5-7 with two walks in his first two games of play. Zach Elliott and Will Pahl are both 4-8 on the season.
Ham Lake turns up offensive volume
Ham Lake put up 23 runs in their two opening round games to improve their record to 18-13-1 on the season. Wins over the Rochester Patriots (9-0) and Moorhead 14-5 set up a third round game with Eden Prairie.
Coner Melton sizzled out of the gates on Friday going 7-9 at the plate with a pair doubles and 5 RBI. Not far behind was Joey Messler who posted a 6-10 effort on day one with a homerun and 6 runs scored. Messler also knocked in 4 runs for his team’s winning efforts. Ham lake ripped off 29 hits in two games and will be an interesting foe for Eden Prairie’s pitching depth.
Sam Riola pitched 7 ⅔ innings of shutout baseball and recorded 8 strikeouts in his win against Rochester. Seth Miller earned the victory in relief against Moorhead.
Tri City not so gracious hosts
Tri-City was the 16th team in the tournament as the hosts but don’t tell them that. Boasting an impressive 27-9 record, Tri-City was upended by Forest Lake in Substate 8 play that ultimately saw Stillwater win the berth.
No matter as Tri-City dispatched the Mankato Nationals 6-3 in their opening round game and won a slugfest by a score of 16-9 over Eastview. The game featured a mind blowing 34 hits between the two teams with 8 extra base hits between the two. Jack Young was awarded a homerun that appeared to have bounced on the warning track and out of play for what would have been a ground rule double. Instead, he touched em all and opened the door for his Eastview team to mount a 3-run rally in the 5th inning to cut what was a commanding Tri-City Red lead to 11-4. Another 4 spot by Eastview cut the deficit to 11-8 after 7 innings.
Like Tri-City Red does so often, the hit back and with authority as they delivered 5 runs in the top half of the 8th inning.
Every player that was in the Tri-City lineup had hit today including 7 players with two or more hits and 6 with three or more hits. Ross Indlecoffer was 5-8 with 1 double and 3RBI. Nate Fredrickson and Ryan Nickel each have four hits and Tri-City belted 5 doubles over the two games. A date on Saturday looms with Waconia at 7pm at CHS Field.
Four teams eliminated
Four teams were eliminated from the tournament on opening day. Spring Lake Park was beaten 12-2 and 18-3 by Eastview and Mankato National respectively at CHS Field in St. Paul, MN. Jack Marthaler was 2-6 on the day at the plate for Spring Lake Park Sam Knight also delivered two hits while going 2-7 with an RBI for Spring Lake Park. They closed out a successful season with a 20-5 record.
Mahtomedi lost a pair of one-run games, the first to Waconia by a score of 2-1 and the second the St. Cloud 76ers by a score of 7-6 in their elimination game at Bethel University. The state tournament appearance caps off a 20-10 season for Mahtomedi as they were led at the plate by Carter Shook (4-8, 2 runs), Austin Jerylo (3-6, 2r, 1 double, 1rbi), and Connor Henningsen (2-2, 2rbi). Grant Tairal started the loss to Waconia and worked 5 innings with 7 strikeouts 2 earned runs against. Jack Schweitz was impressive on the mound in his work against the 76ers as he pitched 5 solid innings.
The Burnsville Cobras played two riveting games and fell up one run short in both games to be eliminated from State Tournament action at Siebert Field on the Campus of the University of Minnesota. They lost to Stillwater 7-6 in 10 innings and then turned right around to play game two and fell to St. Michael 4-3. The Cobras were led by Brandon Hugo (2-8, 2r, 2rbi), Henry Rosevedt (2-7, 1r, 2rbi), and Zach Anderson (2-5, 1r, 1rbi) at the plate while Rosevedt (6ip, 8K) and Mitch Kohler (5 ⅔ 2k) led the way on the mound. They ended the season 21-11.
The games at Dunning Field in St. Paul, MN saw Duluth Lakeview bow out in two games. They opened by losing in a shutout to Moorhead by a score of 4-0. Then, the Rochester Patriots closed out a 10-8 win over Duluth Lakeview ending their 2017 campaign with a record of 17-11. Tyler Orr had a homerun and was 2-8 on the day with 3rbi. Jack Payette was also 2-8 and he had a double and an rbi in the effort as well. Tyler Seymour was 2-8 with an rbi as well.
On the brink
Teams fighting to keep their seasons alive with one loss in the tournament include: Excelsior, St. Michael, Eastview, Rochester Patriots, Stillwater, St. Cloud 76ers, Moorhead, and the Mankato Nationals.