American Legion
Minnesota Division I
State Tournament




Volume 12, No. 3 Burnsville, Minnesota Saturday, August 9, 2008

Six still in the race for Division I title;
Play begins in Division II

Full throttle
Aaron Gretz of Apple Valley flies past Eden Prairie catcher Matt Halloran to score in the 76ers 18-8 loss to Eden Prairie Friday at Alimagnet Park.

Eastview and Edina remained undefeated in day two of the Minnesota American Legion Division I Tournament at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville. They will face off in the marquee game of day three, today, at 7:30 p.m.

Four other teams will battle today for survival, while working through the losers' bracket. Eden Prairie will play the St. Cloud 76ers in the early game at 10 a.m. today at Rich VanderLaan Field. All the action will be on one field for the rest of the tourney. The Rochester Patriots will play North St. Paul at 1 p.m. The winners of those early games will then face off at 4:30 p.m.

In a key day-two matchup between last year's tournament winner and tournament runner-up, Eden Prairie defeated Apple Valley 18-8. Apple Valley had come back wtih six runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 8-8. Eden Prairie, however, ralled for ine runs in the bottom of the seventh to blow the game open. An extra run in the next inning cut the game short, invoking the 10-run rule.

In the games between the undefeateds, Eastview topped Rochester 4-2, behind a stellar pitching performance by George Jensen. Edina topped St. Cloud 18-14 in the evening's last game.

In Division II action at Sacred Heart, Jordan defeated Pipestone 3-1, Staples-Motley topped Red Lake County 7-6, Ely beat Wheaton 3-1, and LaCrescent beat host Sacred Heart 3-2 Action was delayed during the day because of rain.

In the games slated for today, Jordan will play Staples-Motley, and Ely will play LaCrescent in the winners' bracket. In the consolation bracket, Pipestone will play Red Lake County, and Wheaton will play Sacred Heart.

In Division I, the championship games will be Sunday at VanderLaan Field at 3:30 p.m. Three teams will advance to the final day, after today's contests.
Lindner gets down and dirty for EP by John Sherman
It might take more than Clorox Bleach to get Scott Lindner’s uniform clean for the first game of the day Saturday at Alimagnet Park.

A combination of slides on the base paths and dives for balls at shortstop, left Lindner’s cherry-red and angel-white uniform covered with dirt by the third inning of an 18-8 victory over Apple Valley Friday at Alimagnet. He didn’t seem to care that he’ll need some serious laundry-room magic to get the uniform back to normal.

“Scotty has the dirtiest uniform on the team,” said Eden Prairie High School coach Mike Halloran, an assistant to head coach Scott Hacker on the American Legion team. “We’re used to seeing him that way. He’s a
hard-working kid and he can do it all – hit and run, drag bunt, hit home runs.”

Lindner hit a home run over the center-field fence in the Apple Valley game, while adding a single. He also reached base when he was hit by a pitch.

“Scotty’s true position is third base, but he has been playing shortstop,” said Halloran. “He’s going to Minnesota State, Mankato next season and they should be thrilled to have him.”

Lindner had a .432 average going into the State Tournament with 16 doubles and four home runs. He was second on the team in RBI with 52. Teammate Madison Boer had 54 RBI entering the tourney.
Eden Prairie got to Apple Valley’s pitching for 21 hits in Friday’s game. “Good things happen when you hit the ball hard,” said Halloran. “It was nice to finally break the game open with a nine-run inning in the bottom of the seventh. Getting through today was huge. We have some pitching left for tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll keep swinging the bats.”

Lindner, who stands 5 feet, 9 inches and weighs 195 pounds, was happy with Eden Prairie’s hitting. “Apple Valley scored in the top of the first and we had to answer. We got a run in the bottom of the first.”

On his home run, Lindner said he got the pitch he was looking for. “I got a high fastball, up and in, and I jumped on it,” he said. “I had an idea it was going out, but I kept watching it as I ran.”
Lindner said Eden Prairie really had to focus on Friday after losing to Grand Rapids 12-9 the first day of the tourney. “We like having the pressure on us,” said Lindner. “All of us work together, and we have a lot of experience back from last year’s Legion World Series team.”

Eden Prairie finished second at the World Series last season.

“Tomorrow, we will obviously try to hit the ball like we did today,” said Lindner. “We have a couple starting pitchers that have not thrown yet, and we think we have a good chance.”

With two wins in the tournament Friday, Eden Prairie improved to 41-9-1 on the year.
No one fools Harazin as Burnsville wins big By John Sherman
Zach Harazin of the Burnsville Cobras American Legion Baseball team admits that he gets fooled by pitches once in a while.

However, no one was fooling Harazin Friday afternoon at Alimagnet Park during the Cobras’ 13-7 victory over Grand Rapids. Harazin went five-for-five with three doubles, two singles and five RBI.

“Zach is our No. 4 hitter, but he’s not a typical No. 4,” said Burnsville head coach Greg Nesbitt. “Zach won’t hit a lot of home runs, but he is a good hitter; he picks up whatever John Means, our No. 3 hitter, leaves for him. John is hands-down our best hitter…he is a good contact hitter and leads us in home runs (8).”

As he spoke with well wishers after the game, Harazin said, “It was one of those days. I didn’t get fooled. It is a little bit of a home-field advantage to play here in front of our friends and families.”

While Burnsville’s hitters hammered the ball against Grand Rapids, which entered the State Legion tournament ranked second in the state, pitcher Jacob Dahl was effective on the mound.

“Jacob is a first year Legion player,” said Nesbitt. “He made Grand Rapids put the ball in play.”

It was Dahl’s fifth win of the season against two losses.

He was quick to praise his teammates for the run support they provided. “It’s easier to pitch with the lead, and after we had that big second inning, it was a lot easier.”

Dahl said the Cobras came into the state tourney with something to prove. “Some people thought we’d be an average team this year, but we’ve played good baseball. We have a lot of tradition to follow.”

In his fourth season as head coach, Nesbitt has had a lot to do with forging the tradition. This is the third year in a row he has taken the Cobras to the State Tournament.

“We have showed we can play with the big boys,” said Nesbitt. “We have wins over the No. 1 and 2 teams in the state Legion poll and two wins over the No. 4 team, Apple Valley.”

The signature win this season was a 12-0 victory over No. 1-ranked Eden Prairie at the Burnsville Invitational. “That was the weekend of the Lions All-Star Series and both teams were missing players,” said Nesbitt. “At the first practice of the season, I asked the players if they wanted to go for it or just go through the motions. They took the challenge.”
A big part of Burnsville’s success has been the pitching of Anders Engberg.

“Anders is a good hitter, too,” said Nesbitt. “He batted ninth in the order last year and that’s where he started this year. I think he was kind of insulted, and he has moved up to the No. 2 spot.”

Engberg pitched for the Cobras in a 3-2 loss to Edina on Thursday. He showed his prowess in the batter’s box on Friday, going four-for-six with four singles against Grand Rapids.

“If I have a bad day pitching, I can still contribute with the bat,” said Engberg, who seldom does have that “bad day” on the mound. His record is 7-2.

“Anders throws in the mid-80s and sometimes it looks like his curve moves faster than his fastball,” said Nesbitt. “In my opinion, he’s the best pitcher in District 3 this season. Anytime we’re in trouble, he gets us out of it.”

With the win over Grand Rapids, the Cobras improved to 31-10 overall.

Burnsville teammates Anders Engberg, Jacob Dahl and Zach Harazin celebrate, following a victory over Grand Rapids Friday at Alimagnet Park.

Bloedel has a passion for the game of baseball By John Sherman
The early evening was becoming dusk Friday, Aug. 8, as District 2 American Legion Baseball Director Jack Bloedel leaned back in his chair at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville. A smile crossed his face as he watched one of the boys from the Rochester Patriots make a good fielding play.

He has seen so many great plays over the years, and that’s what keeps him coming back to the ballfield year after year.

Bloedel has been serving youth since he first volunteered to help run a Legion baseball tournament in New Ulm in 1974.

After 34 years, he announced recently that he will step down at the end of the 2008 season. Bloedel won’t totally walk away from the game, but he does want to cut back on his day to day involvement

“It’s time for new blood,” said Bloedel, who will turn 80 in March of 2009. “It has been wonderful being involved in Legion baseball all these years. I had three very good sub-district chairmen, who started with me and stayed with me.

State American Legion Baseball Director Darwin Berg said, “You’ve got to give Jack a lot of credit. He has hung in there for a long time. I know he has a lot of passion for the game and a love for the kids.”

Bloedel had six kids of his own, along with his wife Marlys. As fate would have it, they were all girls, and none of them were able to play Legion ball.

“I had the surprise of my life this year, when one of my granddaughters gave birth to twin boys,” said Bloedel. “They’re big kids…and they look like they will be ballplayers.”
Bert Marth, secretary for District 2 Legion Baseball, has worked with Bloedel for many years, along with District 2 assistant director Dick Miller.

“Jack is all for the kids and he believes in following the rules,” said Marth. “This was probably the hardest year for him because two of his teams didn’t turn in their paperwork and couldn’t participate in the District 2 Tournament.”

During his tenure, Bloedel hosted three State Tournaments in New Ulm. The community has been awarded the bid for the 2009 State Tournament, and Bloedel said he will volunteer to help with the administration.

Bloedel had a rewarding career in the armed services, he said. He served during the Korean War as a tank retriever operator. He was partially disabled with an injury to his left arm.

“I joined the American Legion the day I went into the service in 1951 and I have been a member ever since,” he said.

Born in Bird Island, Minn., Bloedel moved to New Ulm with his family when he was 7 and has lived there since.  At New Ulm High School, he played football and wrestled. His claim to fame was qualifying for the State Wrestling Tournament two years in a row.

Bloedel said he appreciates the passion for baseball in District 2. “We are fortunate in our district to have a baseball field every seven miles or so,” he said.

In addition to volunteering in the Legion Baseball program for 34 years, Bloedel was Commander for three terms at New Ulm Legion Post 132 and he was elected District 2 Commander in 1979.

Asked to explain his long record of success in the Legion Baseball program, Bloedel said, “The best advice for anyone running a youth baseball program is: Be honest with the parents and the kids.”

Jack Bloedel

Stats for the Day
Through Friday's Action:
Batting Average:
1. Erik Nelson, Edina, .714
2. Daniel Fagerhaug, Eden Prairie, .647
3. Jordan Smith, Willmar, .643
4. Spencer Brady, Rochester Patriots, .625
5. Brandon Peterson, Apple Valley, .611
6. Mike Dunham, Willmar, .563
7. Troy Larson, North St. Paul, .550
8. Andrew Fink, Edina, .533
9. Erick Fabry, Appley Valley, .500
9. Mithcell Wieneke, St. Cloud, .500

Runs Scored
1. Brian Ness, Rochester Patriots, 9
1. Scott Lindner, Eden Prairie, 9
1. Brandon Peterson, Apple Valley, 9
4. Erik Nelson, Edina, 8
4. Jeremy Hericks, Eden Prairie, 8
4. Collin Stinogel, St. Cloud, 8
4. Nathan Laudenbach, St. Cloud, 8
4. Matt Seehausen, Willmar, 8
4. Matt Puhl, orth St. Paul, 8
4. Madison Boer, Eden Prairie, 8

1. Troy Larson, North St. Paul, 11
1. Brandon Peterson, Apple Valley, 11
1. Daniel Fagerhaug, Eden Prairie, 11
4. Spencer Brady, Rochester Patriots, 10
4. Erik Nelson, Edina, 10
6. 6 tied at 9

Runs Batted in
1. Nick Schneider, North St. Paul, 9
1. Matt Puhl, North St. Paul, 9
3. Lucas Skjefte, Eden Prairie, 8
3. Aaron Gretz, Apple Valley, 8
3. Jordan Smith, Willmar, 8
3. Daniel Fagerhaug, Eden Prairie, 8
7. 6 tied at 7

1. Joseph Wentzel, Eden Prairie, 5
2. Jordan Smith, Willmar, 4
2. Jeremy Hericks, Eden Prairie, 4
4. 9 tied at 3

Home Runs
1. Nathan Laudenbach, St. Cloud, 3
2. Brian Ness, Rochester Patriots, 2
2. Matt Puhl, North St. Paul, 2
2. Collin Stinogel, St. Cloud, 2
2. Madison Boer, Eden Prairie, 2
6. 17 tied at 1

Earned Run Average
1. Derek Hovick, Rochester Patriots, 1.00
2. Cole Nelson, Edina, 2.00
3. Colte Hinz, Richfield, 2.57
4. Collin Stinogel, St. Cloud, 3.00
5. George Jensen, Eastview, 3.86
6. Nicholas Dolsky, Eastview, 4.00
6. Joe Moen, Rochester Patriots, 4.00
8. David Anderson, Willmar, 4.50
9. John Wenker, Maple Grove, 5.87
10. Adam Johnson, St. Cloud, 6.43

Strike Outs
1. Goerge Jensen, Eastview, 15
2. John Skrbec, Grand Rapids, 13
3. Anders Engberg, Burnsville, 12
4. Nicholas Dolsky, Eastview, 11
5. Jordan Smith, Willmar, 9
5. William Shaw, Grand Rapids, 9
5. Collin Stinogel, St. Cloud 9
8. Sam Wikoff, Edina, 7
8. Joe Moen, Rochester Patriots, 7
10. 5 tied at 6

Division I
Game Summaries, Friday, August 10, 2007:

Game 17
Apple Valley 15, Willmar 11

The two teams combin ed for a 2008 tournament high of 40 hits. apple Valley pitcher, Erik Fabry, pitched eight innings to get the win, and he also led the 76ers at the plate, going four-for-six. Aaron Gretz had a big day for apple Valley, going four-for-five with four RBI. Cory Eul had a triple and a single for the 76ers. Mike Dunham led Willmar with four hits. Alex Malmberg had three hits and three RBI, and Matt Seehausen added three hits.

Apple Valley     4 2 0   2 0 0   1 0 4     15   22   2
Willmar     0 0 0   1 0 1   0 5 4     11   18   2

Fabry, Lynch (9), Gretz (9) and Buck. Jacobson, Smith (4) and Malmgren. WP Fabry. LP Jacobson.

Game 18
Eden Prairie 9, New Ulm Gold 3

Eden Prairie's 18-hit attack was good enough to eliminate Distrit 2 champion, New Ulm Gold, Friday morning at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville. Madison Boer hit a home run for Eden Prairie, while J.T. Canakes, Lucas Skjefte, Tim Miller and Daniel Fagerhaug each had three hits. Ben Wolf had two of New Ulm Gold's six hits. Andrew Richter was the winning pitcher for Eden Prairie, which raised its season record to 40-9-1. New Ulm Gold finished the season 19-12.

Eden Prairie     1 1 0   1 1 0   2 1 2     9   18   2
New Ulm Gold     0 0 0   0 1 2   0 0 0     3   6   2

Richter, Willey (8) and Halloran. French, VanRoekel (9) and G. Fischer. WP Richter. LP French. Home runs: Boer, Eden Prairie.

Game 19
North St. Paul 12, Maple Grove 5
Matt Dominik pitched a complete game in the North St. Paul 39ers' 12-5 victory over Maple Grove in an elimination game Friday afternoon at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville. Designated hitter, Ross Metcalf, hit a home run to lead North St. Paul's attack. Patrick Ellwanger had four hits for NSP. Erik Sorensen and Matt Butorac each had two of Maple Grove's nine hits.

North St. Paul     1 0 1   3 2 3   2 0 0       12   16   1
Maple Grove     2 1 0   2 0 0   0 0 0       5   9   6

Dominik and Rubbelke. Werner, Hess (6) and Enger. SP Dominik. LP Werner. Home runs: Metcalf, North St. Paul.

Game 20
Burnsville 13, Grand Rapids 7
Burnsville pounded 22 hits and catcher Zach Harazin went five-for-five as the Cobras eliminated Grand Rapids. A big eight-run second inning helped Burnsville's cause. Wining pitcher Jacob Dahl pitched eight inings, allowing 12 hits.

Burnsville     1 8 0   0 1 0   0 0 3       13   22   1
Grand Rapids     0 3 0   1 0 0   0 3 0       7   12   3

Dahl, Hanson (9) and Harazin. Hovet, Skrbec (2) and Shaw. WP Dahl. LP Hovet.

Game 21
Eden Prairie 18, Apple Valley 8
(8 innings)
Eden Prairie put nine runs on the board in the bottom of the seventh to cruise past Apple Valley at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville. Eden Prairie's 21-hit attack was led by Jeremy Hericks, who went five-for-five. Scott Lindner homered for the winners. Apple Valley finished the season 31-15 overall.

Apple Valley     1 0 0   1 0 6   0 0     8   14   5
Eden Prairie     1 0 2   5 0 0   9 1     18   21   2

Eul, Bodin (4) and Buck. T. Miller, Gotham (6) and Hallora. WP Gotham. LP Bodin. Home runs: Lindner, Eden Prairie.

Game 22
North St. Paul, 7, Burnsville 5
North St. Paul eliminated host Burnsville from the tournament at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville on Friday. Each team had eight hits. Troy Larson and Nick Schneider each had two his for North St. Paul, while John Means and Dylan Peterson countered with two hits each for Burnsville. Both of Peterson's hits were doubles.

Burnsville     0 0 0   0 2 0   2 1 0       5   8   4
North St. Paul     2 2 0   0 0 1   2 0 X       7   8   5

Lassonde, Emery (7), Hanson (8) and Simonson. Hubbard, Humbert (8) and Rubbelke. WP Hubbard. LP Lassonde.

Game 23
Eastview 4, Rochester Patriots 2

Eastview advanced to the winners' bracket final by defeating the Rochester Patriots Friday at Alimagnet Park. It was a well-played game all-around, with just one error. Eastview ace, George Jensen, improved his pitching record to 13-2 with a complete game. He allowed only five his. Eastview's offensive star, Nick Gorski, was three-for-four with an RBI. Joe Moen pitched a complete game for the Patriots, scattering 11 hits.

Eastview Thunder     0 0 1   0 1 0   2 0 0     4   11   1
Rochester Patriots     0 0 0   0 0 0   2 0 0     2   5   0

Jensen and Peters. Moen and Nelson. WP Jensen. LP Moen.

Game 24
Edina 18, St. Cloud 76ers 14

In a game that featured a whopping total of 43 hits, Edina outlasted the St. Cloud 76ers. Shortstop Andrew Fink had five hits for Edina, while teammates Erik Nelson and Cole Nelson each had four. Ryan Spengler had four hits for St. Cloud, and Nathan Laudenbach hit two home runs. The game was completed in 3 hours and 31 minutes.

Edina     1 3 0   0 2 8   0 3 1     18   24   4  
St Cloud     1 1 2   0 0 3   2 0 5     14   19   4  

Smith, Weinberg (5), Wikoff (6), Carroll (9) and E. Nelson. Roeder, T. Euerle (6), K. Euerle (7) and Blitvich. WP Wikoff. LP Roeder. Home runs: Nathan Laudenbach, St. Cloud (2).

Additional Issues:

2008 Tournament Home Page
The Gazette, Thursday, August 7, 2008
The Gazette, Friday, August 8, 2008 (Thursday's Action)
The Gazette, Sunday, August 10, 2008,
(Saturday and Sunday's action)


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