Youth Baseball: Brainerd team should be force
The organized chaos will begin at 3 p.m. Friday.
That’s when the 22-team, 15-under Minnesota Youth Athletic Services Gopher State baseball tournament will begin in the Brainerd area.
Brainerd’s VFW freshman baseball team will compete along with teams from Minnetonka, Lake Elmo, Burnsville, Wayzata, Totino-Grace, Forest Lake, Shakopee, Shoreview, Apple Valley, St. Cloud, Anoka-Ramsey, Champlin, Mahtomedi, Woodbury, Eden Prairie and Bloomington.
Brainerd’s first game will be 3 p.m. Friday against Minnetonka at Don Adamson Field in Brainerd. On Saturday, Brainerd plays Wayzata 8 a.m. at Central Lakes College and then at 12:30 p.m. at Adamson Field against Burnsville.
The top eight teams will advance to bracket play, which will begin 9 a.m. Sunday. The championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Mills Field.
The tournament will use four different sites and five different fields. Those fields will be Mills Field, Adamson Field at the Brainerd High School, Central Lakes College and two fields at Forestview Middle School.
“We appreciate playing at home for the 15U state tournament of champions,” said Brainerd head coach Jay Sannes. “The tournament is here because of the work Tony Sailer and the staff at the Brainerd Park and Recreation office do. Also, former Brainerd graduate Dawson Blanck does a fine job of bringing this tournament to Brainerd each year. But the reason they’re here is because of the work the park staff does and the commitment all across Brainerd and Baxter. We’re playing at four really nice fields.”
Brainerd’s team enters the tournament with a 20-5 record. Sannes said they keys will be pitching, which he said has been a strength of this year’s team and defense.
“We have the talent to compete at the upper level,” Sannes said. “The teams from the tournament of champions are always tough and we are in a very tough bracket. We have Minnetonka to start with and then Wayzata and Burnsville. Those are very high 3A schools. We are going to be playing against the state’s best. Burnsville has been one of the top teams in the state of Minnesota.
“We’ve met all those kinds of teams in state play and this will be a good test for our freshmen. It will give them an idea of the competition level we need to be playing at.”