The final Region 13C amateur baseball state tournament entry was established last weekend. And now, the tournament schedule is set, too.
The Hadley Buttermakers will open state tournament action in Delano on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Cologne. The Luverne Redbirds will play Carver at 7 p.m. Saturday in Maple Lake. The Region 13 champion Fairmont Martins have a first-round bye and will play either Fort Ripley or Lake City on Aug. 24 at 1:30 p.m. in Maple Lake.
Forty-eight teams will wind down to a single champion, with the title game scheduled for noon on Sept. 2 in Delano.
Luverne became the last Region 13C team to qualify for the tournament with a 4-1 victory over the Milroy Irish Saturday afternoon in Luverne. The second game of a best-of-three series for the final playoff spot was begun on Friday night, but it was suspended by rain in the sixth inning with the teams tied, 1-1.
Fairmont used a Windom Pirate draftee, Kobe Lovell, to secure its standing atop the region playoff field. Lovell threw eight and one-third innings of shutout ball Sunday as the Martins trimmed Hadley 1-0 in the decisive third game of the seeding series. On Saturday, Hadley beat Fairmont 6-3 behind another Windom draftee, Luke Gilbertson, who earned the win in an eight-inning mound effort.
Hadley’s Jacob Van Dam pitched seven outstanding innings in Sunday’s game, but it wasn’t enough as Fairmont improved its record to 25-7.
“We had a no-hitter going till the seventh,” said Hadley manager Myron Bennett. “They got a hit, then the next inning a guy (Tyler Tennyson) led off with a home run in the eighth.”
The Buttermakers, known in recent years as a strong hitting team, will hope to shore up its defense in the state tournament. It’s been spotty, at times, according to Bennett.
“You go back and look at the games we’ve lost, it’s usually about defense, and too many errors,” he said.
In the Cologne Hollanders, the Buttermakers will face a team that qualified for state this year for the first time in 47 years. Cologne beat Carver 12-5 in its state qualifier game.
The Carver Black Sox, meanwhile, advanced to state for a third straight year after a 34-year absence. In the decisive 4-2 regional victory over Brownton, Carver’s 6-9 Jacob Booden recorded the final seven outs on the mound. Booden is a former minor leaguer with the St. Louis Cardinals organization.