--by Louie Opatz, MBA freelance writer
The first weekend of the Class A state amateur baseball tournament was too much to contain in just three days.
Inclement weather pushed games to Monday and the evening’s second winners’ bracket semifinal between Kelley Fuels Diesel and Tri-City Shark was suspended late last night, with Tri-City leading 5-4 through seven complete. That game will resume Friday at 6 p.m.
The KF Diesel and Tri-City semifinal matchup was the biggest surprise of the opening weekend: Kelley Fuels upset tournament favorite Minnetonka — who had entered the weekend on a 22-game winning streak and was the consensus pick to win, by the Class A state tournament prognosticators – by a convincing 7-1 count in the second round. The Millers must now fight back through the losers’ bracket.
KF Diesel reached the second round by the slimmest of margins and the craziest of finishes: down 1-0 with two outs in the ninth, Diesel's Miles Westrich smashed a two-run, walk-off homer to beat St. Anthony 2-1 in the single-elimination round — not bad for a team that had to verify its existence by finally joining Twitter.
Tri-City reached the semis by knocking out the St. Paul Shamrocks, a popular dark-horse pick, 9-3 Saturday morning in the single-elimination round. Tri-City then beat the Minneapolis Angels, who had received an opening-round bye, 5-3 to send the Angels to the losers’ bracket and a date with KF Diesel.
CLASS A STATE TOURNAMENT BRACKET (update coming Tuesday afternoon)
In the completed winners’ bracket semifinals, Continental Diamond beat the St. Paul Capitals 5-2 to face the winner of KF Diesel and Tri-City on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Diamond Cutters received a first-round bye and dispatched the Minneapolis Cobras 8-5 to reach the third-round game against the Capitals.
In the consolation bracket, St. Louis Park bounced back from its 6-1 loss to the Capitals to eliminate the Cobras by a 6-4 score. St. Louis Park awaits Friday’s suspended game – the loser of which it will play that evening.
Minnetonka also avenged its opening loss to KF Diesel with a 4-2 victory over the Angels in an elimination game Sunday. The Millers will have to go through the Capitals Friday night to continue their steep climb the hard way and hold out hope for a 12th Class A state title.
After such a rollercoaster opening weekend of Class A’s annual battle royale, little is certain about the second weekend — except that, when the dust settles, a champion will be crowned.
The Class A state tournament will continue Friday at 6 p.m. with the completion of the third-round game between KF Diesel and Tri-City Shark. That resumed game will be followed by losers’ bracket games Minnetonka vs. St. Paul Capitals and St. Louis Park vs. the loser of KF Diesel and Tri-City. All games are played at Bloomington’s Red Haddox Field.as