Willmar will meet Coon Rapids in Thursday's opening game of the 81st anniversary Minnesota American Legion State Baseball Tournament. The 9 a.m. game will be played at Minnetonka's Big Willow Park, one of four tournament sites. In the opposite bracket, Bemidji plays the Hopkins Royals. Two-time defending champion Eden Prairie plays New Ulm Gold in the first round. The double-elimination format concludes Sunday.
WILLMAR -- Pairings were announced Monday evening for the upcoming Region 9C amateur baseball playoffs. Raymond will host three games on Saturday before the tournament moves to Wheaton on Sunday for three more games. Benson, the Land O' Ducks Teal champion, will meet Land O' Ducks Wood runner-up Clinton at 1:30 p.m. to open the six-team tourney. Willmar, the Cornbelt South runner-up, and Dumont, winners of the Land O' Ducks Teal League, follow at 4:30 p.m.
ALEXANDRIA -- When the heat was on the Willmar Legion hitters came through. Battling temperatures nearing 100 degrees while trying to end a four-year state-trip drought, Post 167 drained Alexandria 17-10 late Saturday afternoon to capture the District 7, Division I baseball title. Willmar played long ball in the finale. Shortstop Tyler Horning hit three homers over the left-field fence, bringing in eight runs and Matt Roisum homered for the third game in a row at Knute Nelson Field. Willmar had no home runs starting the tournament.
RAYMOND -- Kyle Knott's bat led a Rocket-powered offense that exploded past Willmar 17-7 at Lilleberg Field on Sunday afternoon. One moment the Rails led 7-6 and a half-inning later it was 17-7. Game over! The victory gave the Rockets the Cornbelt South title on top of their regular-season bounty. Both teams enter Region 9C on Saturday back at Lilleberg Field. They will be joined by four teams from the Land O' Ducks.
Fairfax scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to sneak by Montevideo 12-11 for the American Legion District 7, Division II, baseball championship at Montevideo on Saturday. Fairfax and Montevideo both move on to the state tournament in Willmar this Saturday and Sunday. Statistics were not available at press time.
SUNBURG -- New London-Spicer won a nearly seven-hour long duel in the baking sun with Norway Lake-Sunburg for the Cornbelt North playoff championship on Sunday. The Twins edged the Lakers 8-6 in 14 innings to force a second game with the regular-season champions. A 14-run, first-inning rampage left no doubt and the Twins went on to win 26-4 in seven innings. Twins pitcher Darrin Ogdahl got the win in both games. Both teams move on to the six-team Region 15C tournament starting Saturday and Sunday in Regal.
MADISON -- Benson received a 4-1 forfeit win from Appleton Sunday after three A's suffered an injury or a heat-related problem to claim the Land O' Ducks Teal League title. Both teams advance to the Region 9C playoffs, which starts Saturday in Raymond. With Benson (12-7) leading 4-1 in the top half of the fourth inning, Kyle Sachs was scheduled to hit for Appleton, but the center fielder couldn't make the at bat due to heat exhaustion.
Late result Friday Alexandria 21, Litchfield 4 Alexandria took advantage of six Litchfield errors to score 19 run in the first four innings. Litchfield 001 001 2 - 4 11 6 Alexandria 561 702 x - 21 16 0 HITTING - Litchfield: David Malepsy 2-for-4, 2b; Kent Johnson 1-for-4; Marcus Buschette 2-for-4, 2b, rbi; Chris Sundmark 2-for-4, rbi; Tony Gutormson 1-for-3, rbi; Paul Zang 1-for-1; Charlie Hamm 2-for-4 ...
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Amateur Baseball Cornbelt South Raymond 17, Willmar 7 Cornbelt North NL-Spicer 4, Paynesville 0 NL-Spicer 8, NL-Sunburg 6 NL-Spicer 26, NL-Sunburg 4 Land O' Ducks Teal Benson 11, Appleton 1 Benson 4, Appleton 1 Legion Baseball District 7, Division I Championship Alexandria 11, Willmar 9 Willmar 17, Alexandria 10 District 7, Division II Championship Fairfax 12, Montevideo 11 VFW Baseball District 5 Willmar 7, Alexandria 3 Willmar 9, Alexandria 3