New Prague, Shakopee to host 2018 state baseball tourney

New Prague and Shakopee will co-host the 2018 State Amateur Baseball Tournament. The two Dakota-Rice- Scott (DRS) League teams were notified on Saturday, June 15, that they had been selected.

"The DRS has never hosted this tournament," said Jerry Plambeck of the New Prague Orioles. He noted while Shakopee hosted it 2008, they are associated with other leagues.

The tournament is held over three weekends starting in mid-August, with championship games held on Labor Day. Games will be held simultaneously at both fields. Plambeck said a lot of work will be done before the 2018 tournament.

"It’s why they put it five years out, it gives you time to do a lot of the requirements," he said. For New Prague’s field, located along Lexington Avenue S., there will be improvements to the press box, the concession stand and restrooms and seating will be expanded. The infield was recently redone, which cost about $25,000. Other field work may be done. Plambeck said they will approach the New Prague City Council and apply for grants.

Shakopee is working on a new scoreboard this year, which is approximately $50,000. It will be the first LED scoreboard in the state. Next year, the park will receive $100,000 from the city for new lights. Plambeck noted that Shakopee is a larger community with the population base to handle those costs.

He noted there are many benefits to hosting the tournament, hundreds of people come into the area, staying at local hotels, visiting local shops and eating at local restaurants. "We’ve been working on this for six months," said Plambeck. Originally New Prague and Prior Lake were working on a bid, but Prior Lake bowed out. Plambeck received a call from a representative of the Shakopee team a few days later asking about partnering for the tournament. Plambeck had worked with Shakopee when they hosted the 2008 tournament.

"I know how it’s done," he said.

Plans are being made, including having fireworks one night of the tournament. "We want to make this a memorable moment," said Plambeck, adding they want the fans and other teams to come back. He expects they will need between 200-300 volunteers. Plambeck has already received calls from people about helping.

"All of DRS baseball will benefit," said Plambeck.