Bulldogs take No. 2 seed to state tournament

After beating Hampton in two one-run games with solid pitching and defense in the Section 1B playoffs, the St. Patrick Irish thumped the Cardinals, 10-4, in the series finale Tuesday, Aug. 8, to win a spot in the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Association State Tournament. (John Mueller photo)

When the state amateur baseball tournament convenes this weekend in Dassel, Delano, Litchfield and Waconia, the Dakota, Rice Scott League, a group including two favorites and a long shot to make the Class C state field will be well represented.

Class C teams Faribault, Union Hill and Veseli earned state berths at the region tournament which concluded last weekend.

Faribault entered the Region 3C tournament as the top-seeded team. Union Hill carried the No. 2 seed into the tournament and both teams won their games with relative ease until Sunday’s game to carry the region’s No. 1 seed into the state tournament. The Veseli Warriors are the surprise team of the region tournament. Veseli dropped its first game and then battled its way through the losers’ bracket to win the No. 3 seed from the region to the state tournament.

In Class B, where Class A and B have merged into a 32-team single-elimination field, St. Patrick swept its best-of-five series to make the state field in Class B. The Irish will play the St. Paul Capitals Saturday, Aug. 19, 11 a.m., in Waconia. The winner will face the winner of Baseball 365 vs. the Andover Aces Saturday, Aug. 26, at a site to be determined.

The single-elimination Class C tournament will have Veseli and its draftees – New Prague’s James Fuerniss, Montgomery’s Jack Barnett and Alex Donkers of St. Benedict – opening against Chisago Lakes Saturday, Aug. 19, 11 a.m., in Dassel. The winner will play Saturday, Aug. 26, 7 p.m., against Fergus Falls at a site to be determined.

Union Hill’s first state game is Sunday, Aug. 20, 4:30 p.m., in Dassel. The Bulldogs and their draftees – pitchers Gavin Bergman and Matt Zweber of New Prague and Ben Anderson of Montgomery – will face Maple Lake. The winner will advance to face Courtland Sunday, Aug. 27, 11 a.m., at a site to be determined.

Faribault 2, Union Hill 1 Faribault won the region’s top seed heading into state with a walk-off win over Union Hill Sunday in Faribault. The Bulldogs’ lone run came in during the eighth inning. Nate Osborne singled and later scored on Joe Becker’s extra-base hit to the gap between center and right fields. Union Hill managed only five hits in the contest. With two outs and Union Hill holding a 1-0 lead, a walk, a hit batter, an error and a base hit gave Faribault the win. The duo of Conrad Masberg and Charlie Otteson dominated Faribault. They collectively K’d 10 Faribault hitters and allowed only five hits. Faribault stranded 10 runners. Jacob Becker and Nate Lee had the Bulldogs’ other hits. Union Hill struggled for the big hit, stranding five runners.

Upstart Warriors battle their way to state Veseli, the region’s No. 6 seed, played Cinderella and defied the odds to reach the state tournament as the region’s No. 3 seed thanks to an 8-4 win over Lonsdale Saturday, Aug. 12. The win Saturday was payback for a 6-1 loss to Lonsdale in the region tournament’s opening round Aug. 3. In the losers’ bracket, the Warriors beat St. Benedict, 8-2. Aug. 5. They ended No. 4-seeded Montgomery’s season with an 8-7 win Thursday, Aug. 10 to set up the showdown with Lonsdale. Veseli jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning only to have the Aces cut the lead to 3-2. The Warriors opened a 7-2 lead with four more runs in the fifth inning. But again, Lonsdale rallied, scoring twice in the home half of the sixth frame, cutting the Warriors’ lead to 7-4. Veseli added a final run in the top of the ninth inning and then shut down the Aces in their final at-bat. Veseli outhit the Aces, 11-9. Josh Simon, Matt Perkinson and Nathan Picka all drove in two runs. Riley Schaeffer also drove in a run for the Warriors. Nick Spitt, Simon, Samuel Friedges and Nathan Picka all had two hits for the Warriors. Relief pitcher Spitt didn’t allow a hit in the final three innings of the game. He walked a single Lonsdale hitter and struck out two Aces. Veseli starter Matt Perkinson allowed two earned runs. Lonsdale’s Marty Kalina led his team with two hits, an RBI and run scored. Connor Crabtree and Isaac Pint both had two hits and scored a run for the Aces. As a team, the Aces finished with nine hits.

Irish sweep Hampton for state berth The DRS’s third team to make the state field, St. Patrick, swept Hampton in the best-three-of-five game series to make the Class B State Tournament. St. Patrick and the Cardinals played two one-run games before the Irish overwhelmed the Cardinals, 10- 4, Tuesday, Aug. 8, at venerable Bonin Field to make the state tournament.

Other DRS teams The other two teams in the Section 1B playoffs both lost tough decisive games in the best-of-five game playoffs. New Market won twice, 13-1 and 8-3. The Muskies fell, 4-3 and 8-2, to set up Sunday’s fifth game. Elko dropped a 9-6 decision to Miesville Sunday, Aug. 13, and New Market fell to Dundas in the decisive fifth game. The Express won 11-0 and 3-2 and lost, 15-2 and 4-2, to set up the decisive fifth game. Details of the decisive contests were not available when The New Prague Times went to press.

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