State VFW baseball: Post 3958 awaits Gold rematch
DAILY GLOBE NEW ULM -- Worthington will open up the 2015 State VFW Baseball Tournament against a familiar foe on Thursday. Post 3958 -- which won the District 3 championship on Monday -- will begin its run at a potential state title at 10 a.m. Th...
NEW ULM - Worthington will open up the 2015 State VFW Baseball Tournament against a familiar foe on Thursday.
Post 3958 - which won the District 3 championship on Monday - will begin its run at a potential state title at 10 a.m. Thursday at Johnson Field in New Ulm against hosting New Ulm Gold.
That is one of the few squads who has been able to get the best of Worthington this season, which sports a 30-8 record going into state. Gold defeated Post 3958 9-5 on July 11 during the Alexandria Tournament in a game Worthington head coach TD Hostikka called “ugly.” Of New Ulm’s nine runs, only two were earned.
“You’re not gonna win many ballgames that way,” Hostikka said at the time.
Worthington will hope to put forth a cleaner performance when it opens the state tournament. A win would push it into the second round to take on District 8 champion Grand Rapids - a perennial VFW state tournament contender.
Post 3958 will enter state with some good vibes after playing a solid game against Marshall Black for a 5-1 win in the district championship game. New Ulm Gold enters state with a similar record to Worthington at 30-6, but suffered a couple setbacks at districts. They lost 9-4 Glencoe before a 6-5 defeat at the hands of Hutchinson, but received an automatic qualification as the host team.
That is another team Worthington has faced off with in state tournament play. In 2008, one year before Hostikka took the reins, Post 3958 played Grand Rapids in the first round at Perham. A run in the top of the seventh put Worthington on top 4-3, only for its opponent to score two in the bottom of the inning and steal a 5-4 win. Grand Rapids took second at state last year.
Worthington is playing in its first state tournament since 2010. That year, it finished in third place after winning in the first two rounds before losing to Bemidji and St. Paul RanView in Austin.
Though teams like Grand Rapids are regulars at state, others are getting their first taste.
Owatonna clinched its first state tourney berth on Sunday with an 8-1 win over top-seeded Northfield in the District 1 championship. Sleepy Eye advanced to state for the first time since 2006 when it fought back from the elimination bracket to beat Mankato 3-2 and 4-1 for the District 2 title.
Fergus Falls will have to tangle with RanView in another first round matchup with the winner advancing to play Maple Grove out of District 7. Starbuck (District 5) will give Owatonna its first challenge at state with Sleepy Eye slated to take on Lake Elmo (District 4) on Thursday afternoon.
Win or lose against New Ulm, Worthington will play again on Thursday afternoon in the double-elimination tournament. State runs August 6-9 with all games being played in New Ulm.