By Adam Holt
The defending champions are back to defend their title, but there are plenty of new faces in the Class A State Tournament bracket this year.
The Minnetonka Millers eye a third straight Class A title and 14th in the last 21 years. The 12-team field has just five 2016 entries returning — Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, the St. Paul Shamrocks, the St. Paul Capitals and the Minneapolis Angels. The other seven teams include the Rosetown A's, Baseball 365, the Lyon's Pub Warriors, the Hopkins Berries, Stockmen's Irish, the St. Paul Mudhens and the BARC Bullfrogs.
There are four single-elimination games Thursday and Friday to start the tournament at Dunning Sports Complex in St. Paul. The double-elimination round begins Saturday at Red Haddox Field in Bloomington. The four No. 1 seeds that earned byes are St. Louis Park, the Minneapolis Angels, the St. Paul Capitals and St. Paul Mudhens.
The tournament continues with loser bracket games at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, with championship semifinal games at 4 and 7 p.m. that day. Play resumes Aug. 19 and 20, with a potential deciding championship game Aug. 21 if necessary.
Aug. 10 at Dunning
6 p.m., Rosetown A's (No. 3 seed from St. Paul League) vs. Baseball 365 (No. 2 seed from Park National League)
Rosetown went 9-7 to finish fourth in the St. Paul League’s regular season, then won in the playoffs to earn a bid to state. The A's went 2-6 against other Class A state tournament teams, beating the Mudhens 3-1 and Shamrocks 3-1. They lost two games to the Irish, a pair of one-run games to the Capitals and got blanked 10-0 in a rematch with the Shamrocks.
Baseball 365 went 14-4 in Park National League play, with a plus-80 run differential in divisional games. Baseball 365 was 23-10 overall and 6-6 in non-league play, and had a trio of wins over other Class A state teams — a 5-4 win over the Mudhens, an 8-6 win over the Irish and a 5-3 win over the Angels in the Town Ball Classic.
8:30 p.m., Lyon's Pub Warriors (No. 3 seed from PNL) vs. St. Paul Shamrocks (No. 2 seed from St. Paul League)
The Warriors finished 13-5 in PNL play and 22-10 overall, with 89 runs for and 56 runs against during league games.
The Shamrocks were 11-5 in the St. Paul League and finished second. This is their third straight trip to the Class A state tournament, and have gone 10 of the last 11 years, missing a berth in 2014.
The Shamrocks had success against other state participants during the regular season, splitting with Rosetown and beating Minnetonka 8-5.
Aug. 11 at Dunning
6 p.m., Hopkins Berries (No. 3 seed from Riverview League) vs. Stockmen's Irish (No. 2 seed from Skyline League)
Hopkins ends a nine-year state tournament drought, after sweeping the Bloomington Bandits 2-0 in a playoff series. The Berries went 9-5 to finish third in the league standings.
The Irish went 22-9-1 overall and finished 11-5 in the Skyline League to take second place — they swept the Tri-City Sharks, last year's state runner-up, 5-2 and 7-4 in the playoffs to earn a state bid. The Irish went 6-4 against other state tournament teams, including two wins over Rosetwon and a 4-1 victory over St. Louis Park.
8:30 p.m., BARC Bullfrogs (No. 3 seed from Skyline League) vs. Minnetonka Millers (No. 2 seed from Riverview League)
The Bullfrogs went 15-12 overall and 10-6 in the Skyline League to finish third in the standings. The Bullfrogs had just one win over other teams in the field, a 4-3 victory over the St. Paul Capitals. They were swept by the Mudhens and Irish and lost a 6-5 game to Hopkins. The Bullfrogs swept the Frogtown Lake Monsters 11-0 and 6-0 in the playoffs to get to state.
The Millers are the No. 2 seed out of the Riverview League, going 12-2 in the division to tie St. Louis Park for the best record in the league. Minnetonka finished 34-9 in the regular season and seeks a third straight title. The Millers had a 14-game win streak in the middle of the season and defeated the Irish 7-5 at the Townball Classic. The Millers played St. Louis Park three times, winning one, and swept Hopkins.
Double-elimination play at Red Haddox Field
10 a.m., St. Louis Park Pirates (No. 1 seed from Riverview League) vs. Rosetown/365
The Pirates went 41-9 in the regular season, going 10-2 against other teams in the bracket. Notable wins include two over Minnetonka, by scores of 7-6 and 3-0, as well as 15-4 and 12-3 wins over the Capitals, and an 11-2 victory over Rosetown.
Adam Seaman leads the Pirates with a .399 batting average to go with a .458 on-base percentage and .708 slugging, adding 34 runs, 42 RBI, 10 home runs and 22 doubles. Chris Duda has a .320 average, team-high 53 runs scored and 22 doubles. Joe Pierce (13 homers) and Mike Lueck (10) join Seaman with double-digit home run totals.
Four SLP pitchers have at least 46 innings logged, and four have an ERA of 1.96 or lower — Pete Fuller (1.09), Andy Davis (1.48), Tony Manville (1.95) and Andy Peterson (1.96). Five pitchers have at least five wins and Mark Ehresman leads the team with six.
1 p.m., St. Paul Mudhens (No. 1 seed from Skyline League) vs. Lyon's Pub/Shamrocks
The Mudhens were 18-12 overall and went 12-4 in the division to claim the Skyline League title. In league play, the Mudhens had a plus-68 run differential. The Mudhens swept BARC 3-0 and 6-3, and split with the Irish in a pair of one-run games. They swept the Metro Knights 7-0 and 3-1 in the playoffs to earn their bid.
4 p.m., St. Paul Capitals (No. 1 seed from St. Paul League) vs. Hopkins/Stockmen's Irish
The Capitals went 13-3 in St. Paul League play to claim their fourth straight league title. Last year at state, they won their opener over St. Louis Park before falling to Continental Diamond, then dropping a one-run game to Minnetonka in the losers' bracket to end their run. The Capitals were 26-13 overall and were 5-5 against other tournament teams. They won a 13-9 game over the Irish.
Ryan Abrahamson (.424/.515/.624) and Rick Tossey (.371/.467/.596) lead the Capitals at the plate as they seek a second state title in the last four years, last winning in 2014.
7 p.m., Minneapolis Angels (No. 1 seed from PNL) vs. BARC/Minnetonka
The Angels cruised through Park National League play, winning the league with a 16-2 division record and outscoring opponents 103-25 in league games for their second straight regular-season title. The Angels were 21-10 overall, suffering most of their losses outside of the league, including one-run losses to St. Louis Park (3-2) and Minnetonka (2-1). The Angels played in the Town Ball Classic, dropping a 5-3 game to Baseball 365.
The full bracket can be found here.