Hopkins American Legion baseball star Jake Perry returned to action at full speed in a 10-4 victory over Excelsior July 7, after missing the Delano Stars & Stripes Tournament with a back injury on the Fourth of July week,
Two singles by Perry helped the Flyers take an early lead, and then in the sixth inning, he hit a triple to the fence in left-center at Veteran’s Field.
“It is awesome to be back in the lineup,” said Perry, who was 3-for-4 in his first game back. “I needed a few days to get healthy. The triple was fun. I got an outside pitch and took it the other way.”
Always fast on the bases, Perry looked like a track sprinter, and when he arrived at the bag he slid just to be sure he’d be safe.
“Everyone on the team had a part in the win,” Perry said. “We played against Excelsior a lot growing up, and it’s always a good game. It is fun to be part of the rivalry.”
Perry will enroll at the University of Minnesota on a baseball scholarship this fall.
“I will be moving to campus late in August,” he said. “Until then, the [Gopher] coaches expect me to work out on my own.”
With the Gophers, Perry said he would like to play third base, but he will ultimately go where he is needed. As a Hopkins freshman, he started at first base, and then in his first Legion season he started at shortstop.
In his sophomore year, he was the starting catcher on Hopkins’ state Class 4A tournament team.
Last summer on Legion, he caught some, but mainly played first or third base. Those are the positions he played in his senior year at Hopkins, as the team once again qualified for state.
Asked about the prospects for the remainder of the 2021 Legion season, Perry said, “We’re getting hot at the right time.”
Perry usually hits second in Hopkins’ order, just in front of Hopkins’ other two All-Lake Conference players, Ryan McGie and Jack Mausser. That’s a good spot for Perry because opponents can’t pitch around him with McGie and Mausser waiting on deck.
“We’ve had some injuries lately, with Jake’s back and Jack Mausser unable to throw,” Hopkins head coach Tyler Brodersen said. “The good thing about our team is that we go 18-deep. Cole Beyer and Charlie Schaefer are having huge success this summer. Cole is hitting .400 and Charlie is in the mid-.300s.”
In the win over Excelsior, Hopkins had 14 hits, including two each from Beyer, Jack Preimesberger and Brock Zimmer. McGie, Mausser and Aaron Aune added hits and Cole Anderson came up with a big 2-run double to pad Hopkins’ lead.
With the Gopher Classic only two days away, coach Brodersen split the pitching four ways between Jackson View, Ryder Lane, Gabe Olson and Americo Sculati. They mainly all pitched to contact and recorded just two strikeouts. Excelsior’s hitters put the ball in play and Walter Johnson led the way by going three-for-four with a pair of doubles. Matthew Kelly also hit a double for the Fire Club.