Two sluggers from Hopkins Legion, 18-year-olds Ryan McGie and Americo Sculati, wasted little time in putting their power to use in the Stars & Stripes Wood Bat Baseball Tournament in Delano on Fourth of July weekend.
In the opening round, a 10-9 loss to Eagan July 1, Sculati went deep on the way to a 3-for-5, four-RBI performance.
Then, in a 14-4 win over Minneapolis Southwest July 2, the game ended via the ten-run rule when McGie and Sculati clubbed back to back homers in the bottom of the fifth. McGie’s blast was estimated at 365 feet and Sculati’s long shot over the center field fence was estimated at 360.
In an elimination game played July 3, McGie hit a 370-foot home run to right field, but the Flyers lost a 10-3 decision to Wayzata.
Edina ended up the tournament champion on July 4 with a 5-0 record. Osseo took second with a 3-2 mark, while Wayzata and Eagan shared third place.
After their back-to-back homers in the Southwest game, McGie and Sculati talked about hitting with wood bats.
“I mistimed the first pitch before I hit my home run,” McGie said. “Then their pitcher left a curveball hanging that I was able to hit out.”
“My home run was also a curveball that he left hanging over the middle of the plate,” Sculati said. “We have a murderers’ row going. Everyone on our team can hit.”
Indeed, Hopkins pounded 13 hits, while also drawing four walks against Southwest.
Lead-off hitter Charlie Schaefer, the starting catcher, went 3-for-4. Jack Preimesberger and Brock Zimmer each went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. McGie’s 3-run homer and two walks gave him three times on base in four trips. Sculati was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Cole Beyer had two hits and scored a run. Aaron Aune, Jackson View and Noah Ottmar scored runs.
Ryder Lane was the winner on the mound, allowing nine hits and only one walk. His pitch-to-contact approach was successful.
Going back to the opening tournament game against Eagan, the Flyers’ offense was certainly not a problem. The team had 10 hits with Sculati getting three of them, including his home run. Boyer and Zimmer hit doubles, and Boyer also had a single. Other hits were by Preimesberger, View, McGie and Jack Mausser.
McGie started on the mound and was followed by relievers Cole Anderson and Aune, with Aune taking the loss.
The Flyers’ elimination game against Wayzata had a fairly promising start, but the Trojans broke the game open in the third when they took a 5-2 lead.
Sam Schlecht, an All-Lake Conference pitcher for Wayzata during the spring season, checked the Flyers with six hits, one of them a long home run to right field by McGie. Preimesberger continued his mastery of wood bats, going 2-for-4. Other hits were by Zimmer, Sculati and View.
Wayzata struck for 13 hits against three Hopkins pitchers – starter Sculati and relievers View and Aune.