Column: State amateur baseball tournament makes some changes

Usually around the completion of regional play, amateur baseball teams around Minnesota are looking at the Minnesota State Baseball Association website.

What they are looking for is what region they will meet in the first round of the tournament.

That is not the case this year.

Sectional pairings for the Class C tournament were not released until late Sunday night and after the conclusion of all regional games.

There were some questions as to why this was being done for the first time ever.

Usually state tournament brackets are set well ahead with each region knowing what region they will meet in the tournament.

Was it a case of the state wanting to seed teams in the regions so you would not have two top teams meeting early in the state tournament and not in the finals?

“The reason for this is because there were teams were trying to manipulate where they finish in the regions based off who they are playing,” Hanska manager Chris Koob said. “So they [Minnesota State Baseball Board] wanted to avoid that. Before you would always know what region you were playing. There were some regions where you get three or four teams to the state, some teams wanted to be the four seed rather than the second seed.”

For Region 2C, the new random draw format may be a better option than in the past where you knew your poison.

Region 2C has always drawn a tough section in the past.

“It seems to be that way,” Koob said. “We [Region 2C] have always drawn teams from the Victory League or the Crow River League. They always seem to get teams in the state championship games or in the top four every year.

“I think it was seven or eight years in a row our section has seen the eventual state champion in the tournament,” Koob said. “So it would be nice to get a good draw.”

Sleepy Eye manager Bruce Woitas agreed with Koob.

“Our region has drawn some tough matchups the last several years in the first round,” Woitas said.

When the brackets came out around 10 p.m. Sunday, Hanska, Lamberton and Sleepy Eye — like the rest of the teams — knew its opponents.

Sleepy Eye gets an Elrosa Saints team that is making their third straight trip to the Class C state tournament. The Saints lost 7-2 to Richmond for the Region 15C title on Sunday.

Lamberton drew the St. Patrick Irish, who will be in their 14th trip to the state tournament.

Meanwhile, the Region 2C champion Lakers from Hanska sit for a week and wait.

They will play the winner of the Ortonville-New Prague game at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 in New Prague.

As far as the idea of seeding teams for the state? The idea has some merit but how do you go about seeding teams. The Minnesota Baseball Association does have a poll they run on their website ranking Class B and C teams each month. But they are not polling all of the coaches.

Whether the random draw is good or bad for Region 2C will have to be determined in the following weeks. But Region 2C did avoid one hazard in the Class C tournament. They will not have to play a 21-0 Sobieski team that has manhandled opponents this year by outscoring them 216-26. And in one of those games Sobieski gave up seven runs in an 8-7 win.

LAS VEGAS TO WORLD SERIES: The Las Vegas Aces, who played in this years Upper Midwest Classic in New Ulm, earned a trip to the American Legion World Series on Sunday when they defeated League City, Texas 11-2 to win the West Regional title.

The Aces, now 52-13 and coached by former New Ulm Cathedral athlete Paul Buboltz, will meet Meridan, Idaho at 7 p.m. Thursday in Shelby, North Carolina.

YOUTH HOCKEY COACHES NEEDED: Those interested in coaching youth hockey here in New Ulm can contact John Giefer at 507-382-9102.