Town ball roundup: Class B tourney moved, but still on

Luke Dahl of the Eagan Bandits makes contact during a regular-season men's amateur baseball game against Excelsior. The Bandits are expected to have their first playoff game Sunday night.

Section playoffs start next week

The state Class B men’s amateur baseball tournament is still on, but it’s also on the move.

It will come to Shakopee in August following last week’s decision by the New Ulm City Council to not allow the tournament to be held in that city. The council, which approved the motion on a 5-0 vote, cited an increase of COVID-19 cases in the city and Brown County.

On Monday, the Minnesota Baseball Association approved moving the Class B tournament to Shakopee, where it will run for three consecutive weekends beginning Friday, Aug. 21. The Class C tournament will be in Springfield and Milroy. Springfield was originally selected as a 2020 state tournament site, and officials there are going ahead with plans to hold tourney games. Attendance will be limited to 250 at each game.

The Class B tournament site change potentially affects teams such as Eagan, Burnsville, Elko, New Market and Hampton, all of which begin section playoffs next week.

New Ulm officials struggled with the decision about whether to go ahead with holding the state tournament in light of coronavirus-related restrictions on gatherings. The city council last year approved a $1.375 million renovation of the baseball field at Johnson Park, which was to be completed in time for the 2020 state tournament.

New Ulm’s baseball association last month asked to withdraw as a state tournament site before changing its mind several days later. The city council in early July voted 3-2 to go ahead with the tournament before the increase in COVID-19 cases caused the council members to change course.

The Class B tournament will run through Labor Day weekend, with the championship game scheduled Monday, Sept. 7. Sixteen teams advance. The first round is single-elimination, with the eight winners advancing to the double-elimination portion of the tourney.

Playoff preview

The Class B regular season concludes this week, to be followed by playoffs to determine the 16 qualifiers for the state tournament.

Burnsville and Eagan will be among eight teams in Section 3B seeking four berths in the state tournament. All eight teams are members of the River Valley League East.

The Section 3B tournament will be double elimination, with first-round games scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. Seedings and pairings were not complete at presstime because teams still had regular-season games remaining.

As of Tuesday, Burnsville and Eagan both were 4-5 in RVL East regular-season games, which determine playoff seeding. The teams are scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville.

Two-time defending state Class B champion Chanhassen (8-0), Victoria (7-1) and Chaska (6-3) had the best RVL East records as of Tuesday.

After Sunday’s first-round games, winners will play Tuesday, Aug. 4, and losers will play Wednesday, Aug. 5. The two teams that win their first two games in the playoffs will clinch state berths. The Section 3B championship game will be Thursday, Aug. 13, with a rematch, if necessary, Aug. 14.

Elko, Hampton and New Market will play in the seven-team Section 1B playoffs. The sixth and seventh seeds in the section will face each other in a play-in game at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, at the home field of the sixth seed. As of Tuesday, Hampton (3-7 in Section 1B games) and New Market (3-8) were the sixth and seventh seeds, although both had regular-season games remaining.

The winner of the play-in game joins the top five seeds for three best-of-three playoff series beginning Friday, Aug. 7. The series winners advance to the state tournament. The series losers play in the “Redemption Round” on Aug. 14 and 16, with one of those teams earning the section’s fourth spot in the state tourney.

Miesville (8-2) and Elko (7-3) had the best records in regular-season Section 1B play, with both teams expected to bypass the play-in game and advance to the best-of-three round.

Load comments