By Nick Gerhardt
The season gets underway wholeheartedly this week as several other teams get in their first games of the season. Among the highlights this week will be an exhibition game at Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville with the St. Paul Saints and the South Metro All-Stars.
As teams start to find their way back to field, we’ll preview upcoming games that will be worth taking a look at. Each week we’ll pick some featured matchups and preview the games.
If you’ve got a big game coming up, let us know on Twitter @MinnBaseball, Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know of any schedule changes, too, so we can keep up-to-date on the upcoming games.
Wednesday, May 9
St. Louis Park at Dundas, 7:30 p.m.
Two perennial powers in their respective classes will collide when St. Louis Park heads to Memorial Park in Dundas. St. Louis Park fell in the Class A state championship last season to Minnetonka 11-9 after their forced a winner-take-all game against Minnetonka with a 4-3 win.
St. Louis Park won its opening game of the year 10-9 over Watertown and defeated the Minneapolis Angels 12-2.
Dundas and St. Louis Park last met in 2016 where St. Louis Park won 4-1 at the Dukes’ tournament.
Dundas, which is ranked No. 4 in Class B, has reached the state tournament seven the past 10 years and won the 2015 Class B championship over Moorhead. The Dukes defeated Hampton, a Class C state tournament participant last year, 11-4 to begin the season. Dundas beat the Minneapolis Angels 2-0 May 4. Haydn Lanoue went 2-for-3 with both RBIs for the Dukes.
Friday, May 11
Cold Spring at Raymond, 7:30 p.m.
Raymond, which is ranked No. 9 in Class C, will open its season May 11 against the Cold Spring Springers in Raymond. The 2016 Class C champion Rockets return after bowing out in the round of 16 last year to Faribault.
The Springers, who are ranked No. 6 in Class B, won last year’s meeting 6-2 and it will also be their first game of the season when they meet the Rockets.
Cold Spring fell in the first round of the 2017 Class B state tournament against Chaska but won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014, and finished third in 2015.
Saturday, May 12
South Metro Amateur All-Stars vs. St. Paul Saints, 7 p.m. at Miesville
The St. Paul Saints have always had a strong tie to Minnesota town team baseball with several amateur players making their way to the Saints roster through the years. For the past 10 years the Saints have made their way into the town ball parks in an exhibition game. This year for the 10th anniversary they return to Miesville where it all started.
Players from Burnsville, Cannon Falls, Dundas, Hastings, Lake City, Miesville, Northfield, Randolph and Red Wing will make up the roster for the South Metro All-Stars.
Tickets are $5 and children 5 and under are free. The game will help raise money for Jack Ruhr Field. There will be a raffle, prizes, a silent auction and activities for kids throughout the night.
Sunday, May 13
Chanhassen at Jordan, 2 p.m.
Chanhassen, fresh off a runner-up finish at the 2017 Class B state tournament, will begin its run through the River Valley League, starting with Class C state tournament participant Jordan at the Mini Met.
The Red Birds’ lineup remains intact from last year’s run and the team begins the year ranked No. 2 in Class B, behind two-time defending champion Miesville. Chanhassen opened the season with a 7-5 win over Forest Lake.
Jordan received votes in the preseason rankings but expect the Brewers to be excellent once again. Jordan reached the elite eight of the Class C tournament last season before falling 2-0 to New Prague.
Jordan opened this season with a 12-0 drubbing of Arlington but will try to bounce back from a 3-1 loss May 6 to Gaylord.
Buffalo at Hutchinson, 2 p.m.
Buffalo is back after reaching the Class C state tournament for the first time in seven years last season. The Bulldogs reached the state tournament with a 4-1 win over Hutchinson. They then reached the round of 16 at state before losing 3-2 to eventual runner-up Lake Henry.
Hutchinson went on to claim the Region 12C crown after beating Buffalo 14-4, their third win of the season in four meetings with the Bulldogs, and Maple Lake 4-2. But their state tournament run ended in the first round 6-1 to St. Peter.