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Searles, Hanska among four sites to host 35-over state tournament

Photo submitted by Al Drexler Searles will be one of four hosts for the 35+ state amateur baseball tournament that begins this Saturday. Searles, along with Hanska, St. James and Mankato, will all host games during the weekends of August 14-15 and August 21-22. The state kickoff game will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Veteran’s Field in St. James, with a Hall of Fame Ceremony at 6 p.m. and a social hour at 5 p.m. at that site.

SEARLES — Al Drexler has been a member of the Searles Baseball Association for more than 30 years. And while he’s seen plenty of great moments at the Searles Ballpark in that time, this weekend’s events may be one of the moments that sticks out.

Beginning this weekend, Searles, along with Hanska, St. James and Mankato, will host the 35-over Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association state tournament. The event will kick off this Friday in St. James with a social hour beginning at 5 p.m., the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at 6 p.m., and a game at 7:30 p.m.

Games will continue on Saturday and Sunday at three sites. Searles will have four games on Saturday with games at 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. when the Searles Bullheads play Becker.

Hanska, meanwhile, will also see four games on Saturday, all at the same time as Searles. St. James will host three games Saturday at 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Prior to this year, the tournament has been hosted by the likes of St. Peter, Jordan and Belle Plaine to name a few. But this year, there will be four new sites.

“We’ve got our coaching staff that’s part of the league meetings and they were kind of wanting to come down here for a few years already,” Drexler said. “We gotta have three parks, and this year, St. James got a team in there and I think Mankato, so they’re going to be the other host sites.”

Drexler, who is the President of the Searles Baseball Association, will be busy doing minor work this week at the field. There were some upgrades prior to this season, including new bathrooms.

“I haven’t done anything different, if you maintain your field every year, it’s ready in a short notice,” Drexler said. “We’re just watering two weeks longer than we normally water so the grass is green. We do major upgrades every couple of years, like this year we put new bathrooms in. In a minute’s notice, this park is clean and ready to go, so I like to dress it up a little bit.”

Drexler also said the field looks ready to go.

“I think it’s beautiful,” he said. “We put that big batter’s eye out there and it just ties everything together.

“We’ve come a long ways, I’ve been pretty much a part of all of the upgrades and we’re following an old tradition where you take pride in your ballpark and we’re putting the program on for the kids and the adults and having a nice place to call home,” Drexler said.

Editor’s note: Here is a list of the games on Saturday, August 14.

Hanska games

Minnetonka vs. Luxemburg, 12 p.m.

Menahga/Sebeka vs. Waconia, 2:30 p.m.

Jordan Millers vs. Prior Lake, 5 p.m.

St. Peter vs. Eden Prairie, 7:30 p.m.

Searles games

Clarissa vs. Le Center, 12 p.m.

St. Louis Park vs. K-Town, 2:30 p.m.

Rosemount vs. Belle Plaine, 5 p.m.

Searles vs. Becker, 7:30 p.m.

St. James games

Fergus Falls vs. Urbank, 2:30 p.m.

Mankato vs. Apple Valley, 5 p.m.

Burnsville vs. Northfield, 7:30 p.m.

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