This season the Faribault Lakers have been riddled with something they haven't had to deal with much in recent years.  Injuries have plagued their top two pitchers and lead-off hitter.  When healthy the Lakers can compete with anybody.  They hope to be healthy today when they play the Stewartville-Racine Sharks.  Faribault is using the Tom Kelly approach, "One game at a time."

Manager Charlie Lechtenberg likes what he saw during Region action.  The Lakers executed better when called upon to bunt and were more aggressive on the bases.  I'm sure every team believes they have to be playing their best to advance in the do or die situation that is the Minnesota Class C State Amateur Baseball Tournament.

I saw the Sharks the past couple weekends in the Region 5C Tournament in Owatonna and they have a very good ball club.  Not many bad teams make it to the Minnesota Class C State Amateur Baseball Tournament.  There are 214 teams and 48 make it to state.

So far the Dakota-Scott-Rice League has done very well with New Prague winning their opener in their home ballpark 7-3 over Ortonville Friday night and St. Patrick defeating Lamberton 4-3 in New Prague Saturday night.  New Market won the Region 3C Championship so they don't play until next weekend.  They did find out their opponent though.  Fort Ripley downed Pelican Rapids 4-2 in New Prague on Saturday.  Elko lost their Class B opener 12-3 with Chanhassen in Jordan.

Former Triton Cobra ace and St. Cloud State pitcher Logan Spitzack started the game for Chanhassen and picked up the win.  He came into the game with a 2.25 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched according to the Redbirds MBA stats.

According to the Stewartville-Racine Sharks MBA stats they have four hitters clubbing over .300 this season.  Unfortunately for them their leading hitter Bill Ihrke of Chatfield did not play in the Region Tournament due to injury I believe.

Tyler Schmitz and Jade Boettcher are their top two pitchers with 1.26 and 2.12 earned run averages respectively.  Schmitz has thrown the most innings (89) and  has 86 strikeouts with 27 walks and 15 hit batters while Boettcher has thrown in 71 2/3 innings with 63 strikeouts, 18 walks and 3 hit batters.

According to their schedule results they are 18-8.

The Lakers are 19-15 gong into today's game with three players hitting over .300 this season.  Blake Langerud leads the team with a .385 batting average.  Followed by Joe Grote .372 and Matt Lane .369.

Faribault is batting .252 as a team.  The team earned run average is 2.99 and they are averaging about 5.5 runs per game.

At times the Lakers have faltered in the field with 64 errors in their 34 games.  They have also turned 19 double plays.

Dylan Valentyn has been the workhorse behind the plate logging 230 of the team total 294 2/3 innings in the field.  He has been excellent at throwing runners out.  Opponents are 18 of 27 in stolen bases.  That asset may be needed today because the Sharks like to run.  They have 30 stolen bases in their 26 games this season.

Jack Helgeson is 7-0 with a 2.98 ERA and Matt Lane 5-2 with a 2.30 ERA going into State Tournament action.  Lane has 87 strikeouts and 10 walks in 70 1/3 innings pitched and Helgeson 69 strikeouts and 22 walks in 66 1/3 innings.

I will have the call of the game on POWER 96 Radio, 95.9 FM.  The best way to listen is to download the POWER 96 app on your favorite mobile device.  Just tap the app and you can read website content while listening to the broadcast.  Please don't attempt to read the website while driving.  If we are on time coverage will begin 4:45 p.m.

Faribault Laker Pitcher Matt Lane Throws a Pitch. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld