95th Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament Opens Friday
The Minnesota Baseball Association is praying for good weather the next few weekends so they can crown new state champions in Class B and Class C in their respective Amateur Baseball Tournaments. The Faribault Lakers will open play this year against Stewartville-Racine in Shakopee at 5:00 p.m. Sunday. The game will be broadcast on POWER 96 Radio, 95.9 FM. The best way to listen is to download the POWER 96 app on all your mobile devices. Just tap the app and read website content while you are listening to the game.
The Class C Tournament opens Friday with 48 teams to start before a champion is crowned on Labor Day. Friday games include 7:30 p.m. games in Shakopee and New Prague. The Shakopee contest features Young America and Foley and in New Prague the Orioles of New Prague play Ortonville.
The Class B Tournament begins Saturday in Jordan. The Miesville Mudhens are seeking to three peat. Winning their 6th title last year. The Classic Cannon Valley League has dominated in recent years with the Dundas Dukes winning the title in 2015 making it three straight years with the state champion coming from the Classic Cannon Valley League.
Meanwhile in Class C there have been no repeats in the past few years. The odds are greater with 48 teams versus 16 in Class B. There are 216 Class C teams in Minnesota and 40 Class B teams.
Last year the Kimball Express defeated Lake Henry with a walk-off homer to claim the title. It doesn't get much more dramatic than that.
The Dakota-Rice-Scott League did very well in the Class C Tournament last year with three of the four state qualifiers making it to the Elite Eight. Faribault, St. Benedict and New Prague. The Orioles were defeated in the semi-finals by the eventual State Champion Kimball.
In 2016 the Raymond Rockets were champions and Faribault ousted them from the tournament last year. The Plato Blue Jays were crowned champs in 2015 and in 2014 Faribault was defeated 2-1 in the semis by the eventual State Champion Sobieski Skis.
In 2015 Faribault entered the Tournament after receiving an open weekend bye because they were the Region 3C Champion and lost in their first game to Green Isle 6-2. The Lakers didn't make it to the big show in 2016.
Faribault did finish second in the State Amateur Baseball Tournament in 1931 for their highest finish. This is their 13th appearance at the State Tournament. The Lakers first appearance was in 1926. Their other appearances: 1930, 1931, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1978, 1988, 1990, 2014, 2015, 2017 and this year.
Before television the crowds were incredible at the State Tournament which started out with one site and went to two ballparks in 1981. I checked the attendance records and the largest I could find was in 1950 in St. Cloud when 35,318 witnessed the tournament. St. Cloud hosted the tournament again in 1959 and drew 21,454 people. By then most people had a television in their homes.
Let the games begin.