New Market wins Region 3C crown

Union Hill’s Tyler Busch tries to outpace Orioles pitcher Dustin Beckius’ throw to first base during the Friday, Aug. 9, game at New Prague. Busch was out at first, but he was able to advance teammate Adam Giesen to second. To see more photos go to and click on the blue button. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

           Four teams will represent the Dakota-Rice-Scott Baseball League and Region 3C at the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Class C Tournament, which gets underway Friday, Aug. 16, in Delano and Maple Lake.

            The New Market Muskies won two games last week to claim the region championship and a first round bye in the 48-team tournament. The Muskies defeated New Prague Sunday, Aug. 11, by a 3-1 score to earn the title. New Market is making its first trip to state since 1984. The Muskies will play their first game on Sunday, Aug. 25, in Delano against either Fairmont or the New Ulm Brewers. Game time is at 1:30 p.m.

            The New Prague Orioles, Union Hill Bulldogs and St. Benedict Saints are the other three teams to qualify from Region 3C. New Prague is the No. 2 seed from the region and opens at noon on Sunday, Aug. 18, at Maple Lake against Springfield. The winner will play at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, against Plato at Delano. Union Hill is the No. 3 seed from the region and will face Fairfax at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at Delano. The winner faces Fergus Falls in Maple Lake at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. St. Benedict, making its first-ever state tournament appearance, is the No. 4 seed from Region 3C. They will open the tournament at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, in Delano against Owatonna. The winner will take on Belle Plaine at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24.

            Last week's games:

Tuesday, Aug. 6

Faribault 10, Prior Lake 5

            While New Market, New Prague and Union Hill had all clinched state tournament berths, three teams were still in the hunt for the final state berth. On Tuesday, Aug. 6, Faribault traveled to Prior Lake in an elimination game. Faribault won the game 10-5. The game was suspended in the sixth inning due to storms and was completed on Wednesday.

Thursday, Aug. 8

St. Benedict 12,

Faribault 2

            St. Benedict broke open a tight game with a seven-run, nine-hit fifth inning on their way to a 12-2 win over Faribault in Veseli Thursday, Aug. 8, to earn their first-ever trip to the state tournament.

            Jacob Riesgraf and Tyler Oakes led the Saints with three hits each, while Tanner Oakes pitched seven innings and allowed just three hits to take the win.


Friday, Aug. 9

New Market 2,

St. Benedict 1

            St. Benedict struck first, getting a run in the third inning, but missed out on a chance for more when, with Saints runners on first and third, the Muskies correctly sniffed out a delayed double steal. Muskies second baseman Tyler Bergstrom cut off a throw from catcher Jay Chlan and fired it back home, nailing Jeremy Heitkamp at home for the third out of the inning.

            New Market, meanwhile, was snakebit as well, stranding runners at third in each of the first two innings. In the seventh the Muskies ahd runners on second and third with one out, but couldn't capitalize.

The Muskies finally got on the board in the eight inning. Scott Lyden and Nick Rost oepend with back-to-back doubles to tie the game. Nate Rost drove him his brother with the go-ahead run. 

Nate Rost pitched a complete game, retiring the Saints in order in six of the nine innings, striking out 11 and walking none. Mike Pauly started for the Saints, while Steve Weiers took the loss.


New Prague 4, Union Hill 2

New Prague defeated Union Hill 4-2 to advance to the region championship game.


Sunday, Aug. 11

Union Hill 3, St. Benedict 1

Lefthander Daniel Feneis picked up the win for the Bulldogs in the third-place game as Union Hill defeated St. Benedict 2-1.


New Market 3, New Prague 1

The Orioles led 1-0 after six, but New Market scored twice in the seventh and added one in the eighth to take a 3-1 win. Derek Bergstrom took the win and Chase Buthe the loss.

The game itself was overshadowed by an injury to Orioles' outfielder Ross Skluzacek. Skluzacek slid headfirst into second base and collided with New Market shortstop Scott Lyden. Both players got up slowly, and Skluzacek took his position in the field, but after a few minutes came back to the dugout. As a result of an injury, he was airllifted from the New Market baseball field to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. He was released that evening. According to Orioles' manager Jerry Plambeck he suffered a bruised spinal cord and is expected to be OK.