Post 45 tops Northfield, starts District play at Dundas

New Prague's Post 45 American Legion baseball team swept Northfield in two games to advance to the 16-team double-elimination Third District playoffs this week.

New Prague, the 11th seed in the tournament, was scheduled to face No. 6 seed West St. Paul at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Dundas in the first round of the tournament. The two teams met June 20, with West. St. Paul winning 3-1.

Win or lose, New Prague will play again on Thursday in Dundas against either Apple Valley or Woodbury Blue. The loser's bracket game is at 5 p.m. and the winners' bracket game is at 7:30 p.m.

Other first round games on Wednesday included Burnsville vs. Red Wing, Oakdale vs. Mahtomedi, Stillwater vs. Eastview, Woodbury White vs. St. Paul Park, Lakeville North vs. Chaska-Chanhassen and Rosemount vs. Eagan.

The tournament continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with games in Chaska, Burnsville and Apple Valley. Three teams from the Third District will advance to the State Legion Tournament August 6 to 10. Burnsville, the top seed in the Third District, will be one of those teams as they are the host team.

Last week New Prague lost a 16-2 non-league game to Lakeville North on Tuesday, then beat Northfield 12-10 and 12-9 in the best-of three series.

Lakeville North 16, Post 45 2New Prague hosted Lakeville North in an exhibition game Tuesday, July 22, and lost by a 16-2 score.

New Prague scored single runs in the first and third innings. In the first, Brad Weiers was hit by a pitch and Tyler Bergstrom and Seth Ambroz singled to load the bases. Jeff Dietz hit a sacrifice fly to left to tie the game at 1-1.

North scored three in the second and two in the third to take a 5-1 lead. New Prague got its only other run in the top of the third when Brad Weiers hit a leadoff homer.

Matt Hartman started for New Prague and gave up seven hits and six runs, five earned, in three innings to take the loss. He struck out four batters. Mitch Lunder and Bergstrom pitched in relief.

New Prague had six hits, with Weiers, Bergstrom, Ambroz, Nate Novak, Troy Kubes and Chase Buthe getting one each.

Post 45 12, Northfield 10

New Prague took the first game in the best-of-three series with a 12-10 win at Dundas Thursday, July 24.

Post 45 looked to break things open early, taking an 8-0 lead. In the first inning Justin Novak led off with a walk, Weiers singled and Kubes walked to load the bases. Seth Ambroz brought in a run with a one-out single, then Dietz hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring in the second run.

Post 45 made it 4-0 in the third. Weiers singled and Kubes walked, then Bergstrom doubled to bring in a run. Ambroz followed with an RBI single.

Nate Novak led off the fourth with a triple, then scored on a hit by Weiers.

In the fifth, Dietz and Lunder both singled, then both came home on a base hit by Connor Smisek. Justin Novak drove in the other run on a fielder's choice.

But New Prague couldn't hold on to the lead. Northfield scored four runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to pull to within a run at 8-7. Three more runs in the seventh gave them a 10-8 lead.

Fortunately for New Prague, playoff games in the Third District are nine-inning games. New Prague tied it with two in the eighth. Kubes got a leadoff single and advanced on a passed ball. He scored on a double by Ambroz. After Dietz reached on an error, moving Ambroz to third, Lunder executed a sacrifice bunt that tied the game.

Northfield's defense failed them in the top of the ninth. New Prague scored two runs with the help of four errors. Justin Novak led off and reached on an error. He was sacrificed to second by Weiers. Kubes reached on an error, bringing Novak home. With two outs, Ambroz reached on an error to bring in the final run.

Perkinson started the game and pitched 6-1/3 innings. He allowed eight runs, four of them earned, and eight hits while striking out six. Dustin Beckius pitched 1-2/3 innings, allowing two runs and two hits while picking up the win. Weiers got the save, striking out two in one inning of work.

New Prague had 13 hits, with Weiers and Ambroz getting three each and Bergstrom two. Other hits were from Kubes, Dietz, Lunder, Smisek and Nate Novak.

Post 45 12, Northfield 9

New Prague had another come-from-behind win Saturday as they defeated Northfield 12-9 at New Prague.

After Northfield scored one in the first, Post 45 took a 2-1 lead. With one out, Weiers and Kubes drew walks and Bergstrom singled to bring in two runs.

Northfield took a 3-2 lead in the third and made it 4-2 in the fourth.

New Prague powered its way to four runs in the fifth thanks to the long ball. Weiers hit a one-out solo homer to left, then Kubes singled and Bergstrom followed with a two-run homer to center. Seth Ambroz doubled, advanced on a grounder to second and scored on a hit by Smisek.

Post 45 followed with five more runs in the sixth, all with only one hit - a single by Weiers that loaded the bases with no one out. Northfield walked five Trojan batters in the inning, hit another and threw in a couple of wild pitches and passed balls.

Northfield scored four times in the seventh, with a two-run homer the big blow. However, Smisek relieved Weiers in the eighth and struck out the side.

New Prague got a run in the eighth when Bergstrom and Ambroz opened with back-to-back singles. Smisek drove in the run with a one-out base hit.

Northfield got a two-out solo homer in the ninth, but Smisek struck out the final batter to end the game.

Weiers went seven innings to earn the win. He allowed 11 hits and eight runs, seven earned, while striking out eight. Smisek got the save, allowing one run and one hit in two innings while striking out four.

New Prague had 11 hits, with Bergstrom getting three and Weiers, Ambroz and Smisek having two each. Kubes and Perkinson each had hits as well.

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