American Legion
Minnesota Division I
State Tournament






Volume 7, No. 2 Rochester, Minnesota Friday, August 8, 2003

Twelve Contenders Move on to Second Day
Sixteen teams began play in the Minnesota American Legion State Baseball Division I Tournament Thursday at five fields in Rochester.

Twelve teams will advance, while Marshall, Hermantown, Richfield, and the Minneapolis Islanders dropped their first two games and went home.

New Ulm, Rochester A's, Cold Spring and Bloomington Blue advanced through the winners' bracket.
The action concluded on Thursday night with two late games under the lights. Rochester A's topped Eden Prairie by scoring two runs in the top of the ninth for a 4-3 win.

Cold Spring scored late in the game to defeat East Grand Forks 9-5 in the other late game of the unbeatens.

The day's action featured many high scoring games, as the tournament evolved into nine inning games this year for the first time.
Friday's action will include games between New Ulm and Bloomington Blue, and between Cold Spring and Rochester A's in the winners' bracket.

Games will be be played three fields. No games will be played in the evening at Mayo Field because of a conflict with a game scheduled by the Rochester Honkers team.

The double-elimination tournament will conclude on Sunday with the top two teams advancing to national regional play the following week. The World Series is in Bartlesville, OK.
Cold Spring Stays Very Hot
13th Ranked Team Stays Unbeaten by John Sherman
Although Cold Spring's American Legion Baseball team has been shut out in the state rankings this summer, the Springers are building a record that's worthy of a ranking.

With a 4-3 win over the Richfield Reds in the first round of the State American Legion Tournament on Thursday morning at Rochester's Hudson Park, the Springers improved to 24-3 overall.

Star pitcher Mike Heinen threw a complete game, allowing nine hits. He didn\rquote t do anyt hing fancy, he just threw strikes and let his fielders do the work. Over nine innings, Heinen had only three strikeouts and did not walk a batter.

"I went out there with the idea I would pitch a complete game," said the 17-year-old right-hander. "But I didn't know how good Richfield would be. I spotted my fastball pretty well and I was able to get some called strikes with my curveball."

Heinen's catcher David Jonas felt it was a very solid effort. "Mike hit his spots very well," said Jonas. "I thought he got stronger in the late innings."

Making it to the state tourney is a great thrill for the Cold Spring players. Many of them have played together for a long time. "I have been playing with some of the guys since we were in fourth grade," said Jeff Hommerding, who carries a .355 batting average. "It has always been our dream to play in a state tournament. We missed the chance this spring when Bemidji beat us 9-8 in the section tournament."

Cold Spring won the Sixth District championship and has had several impressive winning streaks this summer. A balanced attack is one of the keys to success. Ryan Lieser is the top hitter among the regulars with a .555 batting average and 21 RBIs. Mike Burtzel, the top RBI man with 32, is batting .393. Other top averages belong to Alex Kofoed (.432), Ryan Bell (.426), Eric Decker (.385), Nick Hervin (.380) and Jonas (.377).

Eric Schmitz, who played Legion ball for Cold Spring, graduating in 1998, is one of the youngest head coaches in the state. His players believe he is also one of the best.

"Eric is young and he's a fun coach to play for," said Hommerding.

"Our season has been exactly what you saw today," said Schmitz following the win over Richfield. "We like to play small ball. In two consecutive innings today we had successful drag bunts. We have had some great pitching performances and we're confident our guys will make the plays in the field."

Schmitz said most of the teams practices are before home games. "I like to give the guys their summer," he explained. "But we have practiced twice a week since the playoffs began." The consensus among the Cold Spring players is they haven't paid much attention to the state Legion rankings. They've been too busy winning to dwell on what pollsters think of their play.
A's Quarterbacks Pass the Test by John Sherman

Solid two-way play from Jay Kasner and Justin Grant is one reason the Rochester A's finished the regular season as the No. 1-ranked team in the American Legion state baseball poll.

Kasner and Grant are so similar they might be able to pass for twins. Kasner batted .430 for the regular season and grant batted .429. Their pitching records were similar as well with Kasner finishing 5-0 on the mound and Grant posting a 5-1 record.

Both 18-year-old honor students were starting quarterbacks at their respective high schools, Kasner at Lourdes and Grant at Century. Kasner had a big game in the first round of the state tournament on Thursday as the A's routed the Marshall Mudcats 9-2. He went three for four and drove in two runs. Grant had one hit and scored a run.

Shortstop Dan Lyons was another star of the game with a home run and a single. Mike Badger threw six strong innings to get the win on the mound.

"Our defense is strong at every position,\rdblquote said Kasner." It's nice to play both ways [pitching and playing a position] because I like to contribute as much as possible."

Grant said the seven-run inning the A's had in their win over Marshall is typical of the way the season has been going. "It seems like when one of us gets a hit the others follow," he said. "We have had eight- and nine-run innings before."Kasner said that he and his teammates are mainly concerned with their own performance, but they do keep an eye on rivals such as Excelsior and Apple Valley, who both lost their first-round games in the tournament.

We like to see who's winning and playing well," he said.

Next year, Kasner and Grant both plan to play college baseball. Kasner plans to attend St. John's University in Collegeville, an NCAA Division III school. Grant will attend the University of Tampa, a Division II school in Florida.

Grant acknowledged that playing for Rochester A's coach Keith Kangas has helped his career. "He gets us to make the fundamental play," said Grant. Coach Kangas expects the best at all times," Kasner added. He's getting it this season. Rochester came into the state tourney with an overall record of 39-3.

Game Summaries, Thursday, August 7, 2003:

Game 1
Bemidji 19, Tri-City Red 3
Lead-off man Thor Josefson led Bemidji’s19-hit attack with four hits in a 19-3 rout of Tri-City Red. Tony Lindseth added a single and a double for the winners, while Buck Dwyer had a single and a triple. Pitcher Cody Randt struck out 11 in seven innings for Bemidji. He allowed seven hits and walked only two. Rich Espeset had two of Tri-City Red’s three hits.

Tri-City Red     1 0 0   0 2 0   0         3   7   5
Bemidji     3 8 4   0 0 4   X         19   19   1

Reinke, Reinen (2), Ries (5), Raiolo (6) and M. Johnson. Randt and Fairchild. WP Randt, LP Reinke.

Game 2
New Ulm Gold 14, Minneapolis Islanders 1
Eric Austvold of New Ulm Gold had a big day at the plate with two hits and five RBIs in a seven-inning win over the Minneapolis Islanders. Jamie Hoffmann had two hits and drove in three runs for the winners, while Peter Meier contributed three hits and two RBIs. Tyson Anderson allowed seven hits in five innings to get the pitching win.

Islanders     1 0 0   0 0 0   0           1   8   2
New Ulm Gold     3 3 0   5 3 0   X           14   15   0

Keating, Fuller (4), Virden (6) and Richey. Anderson, Breu (6) and Thorson, Marti (6). WP Anderson. LP Keating. Home runs: Jamie Hoffmann, New Ulm Gold, Eric Austvold, New Ulm Gold.

Game 3
Lakeville 9, Hermantown 3

Andy Judkins led Lakeville's potent attack with two triples in the nine-inning win over Hermantown Thursday morning. Brylee Callender and Joe Masloski also had hot bats in Lakeville's first-round victory over Hermantown on Thursday morning. They both hit a triple and two singles and drove in two runs. Lakeville's winning pitcher was Brock Stimson, who allowed two hits in five innings. Andrew Vlasak pitched four innings of two-hit relief.

Lakeville     4 0 1   1 2 0   0 1 0       9   16   0
Hermantown     0 0 1   0 0 1   1 0 0       3   4   0

Stimson, Vlasak (6) and Masloski. Carlson, Chesney (5), Swartz (8) and T. Taran. WP Stimson. LP Carlson.

Game 4
Bloomington Blue 6, Rochester Redhawks 5
Pat Ottum and John Vaudreuil each had a single and a double for Bloomington Blue in a hard-fought win over the Rochester Redhawks. Vaudreuil had three RBIs for the winners and his two-run double put Blue ahead 6-5 in the top of the eighth inning. Matt Meyer had two hits and three RBIs for the Redhawks.

Bloomington Blue     0 0 1   2 0 0   0 3 0       6   8   2
Rochester Redhawks     0 0 0   2 0 0   3 0 0       5   9   2

Nelson, Olson (7), Erdall (9) and Ottum. Meyer, Anderson (8) and O'Reilly, Wahl (7). WP Olson, LP Meyer.

Game 5
Cold Spring 4, Richfield 3
Cold Spring pitcher Mike Heinen improved his season record to 10-1 with a complete-game performance. Heinen kept the ball in play, striking out three and walking none. Catcher David Jonas hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning that brought home the winning run. Jeff Hommerding drove in two Cold Spring runs with a double in the sixth inning. Losing pitcher Robert Puls had a no-hitter through four innings and a shutout through five before Cold Spring scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Richfield     0 1 0   1 0 0   0 1 0     3   9   3
Cold Spring     0 0 0   0 0 3   0 1 X     4   7   3

Barron (8) and Ellis, Graf (7). Heinen and Jonas. WP Heinen, LP Puls.

Game 6
East Grand Forks 7, Excelsior 6
Marek's RBI double in the top of the ninth inning lifted East Grand Forks to an upset win over defending Legion World Series runnerup Excelsior. Tom Dostal had the game-tying RBI on a single in the eighth inning for East Grand Forks. Gary Molck had two doubles for the winners and the winning pitcher was reliever Mike Amundson. Jeff Engel went three for four for Excelsior and Marcus McKenzie contributed two hits.

East Grand Forks     0 0 0   0 2 3   0 1 1       7   8   3
Excelsior     0 0 0   0 5 1   0 0 0       6   11   5

O'Neil, Kaiser (5), Amundson (7) and Matt Marek, Peterson, Utoft (7), M. McKenzie (7) and P. McKenzie. WP Amundson, LP M. McKenzie.

Game 7
Eden Prairie 11, Apple Valley 7
Defending state champion Apple Valley outhit Eden Prairie 15-12 in a first-round game on Thursday morning, but lost 11-7. Troy Peterson's two-run homer staked Eden Prairie to an early lead. Ryan Langlais hit a home run for Apple Valley and his teammate, Kyle Baran, added a double and two singles. Cole DeVries was the winning pitcher for Eden Prairie and Tom Laughlin pitched four innings of relief for the save.

Eden Prairie     0 2 2   0 3 0   1 0 3       11   12   3
Apple Valley     0 0 2   0 1 3   0 0 1       7   15   3

DeVries, T. Laughlin (6) and Winegarden. Hetland, Marschel (6), Ruff (7), Foster (9) and Klefsaas. WP DeVries, LP Hetland. Home runs: Ryan Langlais, Apple Valley, Troy Peterson, Eden Prairie.

Game 8
Rochester A's 9, Marshall 2
The Rochester A's blew a close game open with seven runs in the fifth inning. A home run by shortstop Dan Lyons was the key blow for Rochester, which raised its season record to 40-3. Mike Badger cruised to the pitching win, even though his teammates committed four errors. Jay Kasner went three for four for the winners, while Lyons and Lee Anderson each had two hits.

Marshall     0 0 0   0 0 0   0 0 2       2   7   1
Rochester A's     0 1 0   0 7 0   1 0 X       9   14   4

Wiblemo, Gregg (5) and Labat. Badger, Anderson (7) and Craig, Collins (7). WP Badger, LP Wiblemo. Home run: Dan Lyons, Rochester A's.

Game 9
Tri-City 11, Minneapolis Islanders 2
Home runs by Ryan Carlson and Steve Kleppen kept Tri-City Red alive in a losers-bracket on Thursday afternoon. Luke Johnson pitched eight innings of five-hit ball for Tri-City Red. Josh Schultheis had three hits for the winners. Thomas Fuller drove in both runs for the Minneapolis Islanders.

Islanders     0 0 0   0 0 0   2 0 0     2   6   3
Tri-City Red     3 0 1   1 0 1   4 1 X     11   8   0

Royce-Diop, Fuller (6) and Pontiff. L. Johnson, Ries (9) and M. Johnson. Home runs: Ryan Carlson, Tri-City Red, Steve Kleppen, Tri-City Red.

Game 10
New Ulm 9, Bemidji 1
Dusty Wilfahrt of New Ulm Gold pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits in a victory over Bemidji in a winners' -bracket game. Wilfahrt had six strikeouts and his team made only one error behind him. Keith McClellan, Jeff Dolan and Kyle Marti each had two hits for New Ulm Gold.

New Ulm Gold     2 0 2   0 3 0   0 0 2       9   9   1
Bemidji     0 0 0   0 0 1   0 0 0       1   4   6

Wilfahrt and Thorson. Caspers and Fairchild. WP Wilfahrt, LP Caspers.

Game 11
Rochester Redhawks 18, Hermantown 2
The hard-hitting Rochester Redhawks had a total of 21 hits in their losers'-bracket win over Hermantown. Tim Gerlesberger had a monumental game, going five for five with two singles, two doubles and a home run. Andy Liesen added two doubles and two singles for the Redhawks. Ben Becker had a double and two singles. Zach Nelson went three for four, as did Josh Brady.

Rochester Redhawks     1 7 4   4 2 0   0           18   21   2
Hermantown     0 2 0   0 0 0   1           3   3   3

Anderson, O'Reilly (3), Becker (5), Senne (7) and Wahl, O'Reilly 6. Peterson, Petkoff (3), Swartz (6) and T. Taran. WP O'Reilly, LP Peterson. Home run: Tim Gerlesberger, Rochester Redhawks.

Game 12
Bloomington Blue 11, Lakeville 9
Steve Edlefsen went four for five to lead Bloomington Blue (35-11) to a come-from-behind victory over Lakeville. Blue trailed by six runs in the fifth inning, but Blue came up big with five runs in the sixth inning and four in the seventh. Edlefsen drove in four runs and teammate Pat Finley had three hits. Aaron Larson went four for five for Lakeville. Larson and Brylee Callender had home runs for Lakeville.

Bloomington Blue     0 0 0   0 0 5   4 2 0       11   16   1
Lakeville     0 3 1   2 0 0   0 2 1       9   16   4

Seal, Olson (4), Erdall (8) and Ottum. Hahn, Vlasek (7), Englund (8) and Headding. WP Olson, LP Hahn. Aaron Larson, Lakeville, Brylee Callender, Lakeville.

Game 13
Excelsior 12, Richfield 5
Excelsior kept its championship hopes alive by holding off the Richfield Reds in a game at Hudson Field in Rochester. Jeff Engel, Zach Peterson and Kevin Martin had three hits each for the Fire Club. Kris Pulford's home run was the offensive highlight for Richfield.

Richfield     1 0 0   0 1 1   0 2 0       5   8   2
Excelsior     1 0 4   1 2 4   0 0 X       12   14   1

Neal, Peter (5), Barron (8) and Ellis, Graf (5), Christian (8). Mason, P. McKenzie (8), Ulrich (8) and Spevacek. WP Mason, LP Graf. Home run: Kris Pulford, Richfield.

Game 14
Cold Spring 9, East Grand Forks 2
The game was tied in the 6th at 5-5, when Cold Spring pushed a run across. The Springers then scored 2 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th to win the game of unbeatens. Ryan Bell went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI's for Cold Spring. Matt Marek drove in 3 for East Grand Forks.

Cold Spring     2 0 0   2 0 1   0 2 2       9   14   4
East Grand Forks     2 0 2   0 1 0   0 0 0       5   7   4

Rief, Heinen (7) and Jonas, Marek, Gast (7), Mavek (9) and Amundson. WP Heinen. LP Gast.

Game 15
Apple Valley 16, Marshall 3
Apple Valley, the defending state champion, unleashed its power with four home runs agai nst the Marshall Mudcats. Kyle Baran, Andy Heieie, Ryan Langlais and Kyle foster hit the ball out of the park for Apple Valley. Langlais was the 76ers' most productive hitter with four hits and four RBIs. Apple Valley's season record improved to 33-13.

Apple Valley     1 5 2   0 3 4   1           16   20   0
Marshall     0 0 1   0 0 0   2           3   4   1

Lundin and Klefsaas. Kost, Maki (2), Pollock (5) and Labat. WP Lundin, LP Kost. Home runs: Kyle Baran, Apple Valley, Andy Heieie, Apple Valley, Ryan Langlais, Apple Valley, Kyle Foster, Apple Valley.

Game 16
Rochester A's 4, Eden Prairie 3
The Rochester A's thrilled their partisan crowd at Mayo Field Thursday night with a 4-3 come from behind win over Eden Prairie. Rochester scored the tying run in the top of the 9th inning when Jay Kasner drew a walk with bases loaded. Justin Grant followed with a sacrifice fly to short right field that scored Dan Lyons with the go ahead run. After Aaron Craig pitched the first 8 innings for the A's, Mike Badger retired the first 2 batters in the bottom of the ninth on strikeouts, then got the final out on a ground ball to 3rd. The win gave Rochester a season record of 41-3. Neal Wagner pitched a complete game for Eden Prairie.

Rochester A's     0 0 0   0 0 0   1 1 2       4   7   3
Eden Prairie     0 0 0   1 1 0   0 1 0       3   4   2

Craig, Badger (8) and Collins. Wagner and Winegarden. WP Craig. LP Wagner.

Additional Issues:

The Gazette, Thursday, August 7, 2003
The Gazette, Saturday, August 9, 2003
The Gazette, Sunday, August 10, 2003
2003 State Tournament Homepage


Last updated: 8/08/03
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