Jimmy Larson pitched eight strong innings, only allowing two hits and striking out nine as the Prior Lake Jays rolled to a 9-1 win over the Burnsville Bobcats Sunday at “The Vet”.
The win was the third RVL East/Section 3B victory of the season, tripling last year’s total after the Jays finished 1-11 in 2017.
The Jays kicked off the scoring in the second inning. After third baseman Ryan McDonald reached on an error and shortstop Mitch Goodwin walk, catcher Ben Kelsey laid down a beautiful bunt to the right side that was fielded by Burnsville first baseman Brian VanderWoude, who threw to third to try to force McDonald out but the throw was late, loading the bases. Left fielder Rob Frederick was drilled in the elbow with a fastball a few pitches later to drive in the first run. Two batters later, second baseman Mike Edlefsen singled on a hard line drive to center field to drive in Goodwin and Kelsey, giving the Jays a 3-0 lead after two innings.
Prior Lake added another run in the fourth inning. After Kelsey walked to start the inning, A.J. Lattery pinch hit for Frederick and crushed the first pitch deep down the right field line for a double, advancing Kelsey to third. Kelsey scored when the next batter, designated hitter Jason Peter, grounded out to make in 4-0 Jays.
Burnsville got it’s only run of the game in the top of the fifth. The rally started on a groundball that first baseman Tommy Keating fielded, flipped to the pitcher covering and Larson could not find first base with his foot. A strikeout followed by a walk and a groundout set up Bobcats catcher Zach Harazin with runners on second and third and two outs. Harazin lined a single to up the middle to score the first run but center fielder Cody Kashmark scooped up the ball and unleashed a great throw home. Kelsey jumped up, caught the ball, and applied the tag at home plate to end the threat.
There was no more scoring until the eighth when the Jays really broke the game open. Keating walked, McDonald singled and Goodwin walked before Kelsey smashed a double down the left field line, scoring two runs. After a strikeout and a walk, pinch hitter Jimmy Cosgrove hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run and Kashmark and outfielder Tyler “Jonesy” Buescher each singled to score two more and put the game out of reach at 9-1.
Edlefsen worked a scoreless ninth inning on the mound to seal the victory.
The Jays will be back in action at “The Vet” on Tuesday when they host the Chanhassen Red Birds at 7:30pm.
Following the game on Tuesday, Prior Lake will be on the road for a pair, against Eagan on Thursday at 7pm at Goat Hill Park and on Sunday against Chaska at Athletic Park at 6pm.
RVL East/Section 3B standings as of 7/9/18:
Prior Lake 3-3
Taylor Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
On Sunday June 17th at 5:00PM the Prior Lake Mariners will be dedicating a bench on the fan deck at Veterans Field in honor of the late Jerry Maas to recognize his contributions to Senior Mens baseball in Prior Lake.
I first met Jerry in 2003 or 2004 when he was an officer on the Board of the Minnesota Senior Mens Baseball Association and he’d asked me about trying to form a team in the 35 & over league for MSMABA for the 2004 season. We posted a story on our web and put info in PL American but were not getting enough feedback to sustain a team. They had a team not able to participate in their 2004 State Tournament and he asked if I could make some calls to try to form a team as the “bracket” was constructed in a way that allowed 4 games to be guaranteed over the 2 weekend run of the Tournament (A NASA Engineer is needed to read it for the unfamiliar). I reached out, made calls and think we probably had 4 different rosters in each of the 4 games for our “Guest Team” but had a good time reconnecting with long time friends and former team mates which included some PL alumni, Faue, Rooney, Simmering to name a few along with some DRS opponents Masburg, ONeill, Bruder from Union Hill. I brought some old PL Mudcats tops for us to wear so we looked like a team. They did impose a “no metal bat” rule as most that played were still active in MBA townball which had transitioned to wood bats but we did our job, played the games and had a good time getting some additional baseball games that Summer.
Jerry resided in Credit River Township and had served as its Township Clerk. Following the 2004 Tournament he had, I think, attended PLABA off season meetings hoping to have someone with local connections lead the effort to form a team and in 2005, with a loan from PLABA to assist startup cost and some excess equipment from townteams (I was Mudcats player/GM and also supported Jays operations informally), PL’s 35 & Over MSMABA was formed. PLABA, who coordinates operations among user teams, was started from Jays & Mudcats and the prospect of former townball players assisting with operations made sense as it had shown to be a successful model in other townball locales such as Jordan, Union Hill, Veseli and others where former players would follow the 2PM townball game with 35 & over games.
Jerry assisted with administration of the early teams and would “count noses” leading up to games to help ensure we had players ready and as I had to explain to more than a few was fearless to get a good camera shot as he would literally stand as close as 15-20 feet behind batters & umpires “in play” to get photos for the MSMABA website that he also presided over. If you browse the MSM website you can see many of his pictures. Jerry did have a great love for the game, players, parks that showed in his work on the State MSM Board. He was inducted in their Hall Of Fame and a plaque hangs in Clancys Bar in Jordan for his efforts over many years.
Following the establishment of the team, I proposed calling them the “Codgers” and emulating the famous LA Dodgers script on the tops but Jerry hated it, we went to “MudBird” recognizing the surplus equipment that the Jays and Mudcats townteams gave to help make the team possible. Many teams in the MSM have humor in their names reflecting the older players participating. Following my tenure as player GM it evolved to the “Mariners” of today and a 2nd team, the Pacers, started up and played until 2018 in Prior Lake.
Jerry jumped into PLABA operations and was elected C0-Treasurer then sole Treasurer and came to PL at a critical time when we were generating enough income to invest into our facility, Veterans Field. His experience was valued in organizing PLABA finances and provide the detail needed for improvements such as the Fan Deck (2011), Scoreboard (2012) and field equipment that have benefited the community.
His wife Connie would assist with operation of Concessions as games and her positive personality and smile was always welcoming. Jerry attended many Jays, Mudcats and Lakers games and had season tickets for the Twins and would share his photos from his prized seats above 1st base dugout. He truly had a passion for the game that inspired the current Mariners GM Bill Gabler to pay tribute to his contributions to MSMABA, PLABA and Prior Lake Mariner baseball coordinating dedication of a fan bench to honor him. When Jerry and Connie moved to Florida in recent years, there was a void at “the Vet”. His smile and laugh will be missed by those who knew him, but his legacy will endure in the Prior Lake baseball community.
Please join the Mariners Sunday June 17 for 5:00PM Dedication to be followed by a game between the Mariners and Jerrys former team, the St Louis Park Cardinals. “Vet Cafe” will be open and no admission is charged.
Thank You Jerry & Connie Maas from the Mariners and PLABA!
*For additional information on Mariners baseball or “Maas Appreciation Day”, contact Bill Gabler 612-916-9000
NOTE: The Prior Lake Mudcats vs. Prior Lake Jays game scheduled for 3:00 pm today has been canceled due to the inclement weather. Rescheduling information will be provided at a later date.
The MBA Class B Prior Lake Jays of the River Valley League will host the MBA Class C Prior Lake Mudcats of the Dakota Rice Scott League Saturday June 9, 2018 with a 3:00PM scheduled 1st pitch. The semi annual intra city game will be a 7 inning celebration of Prior Lake townball with fan prize drawings and fun for local fans of all ages. Proceeds from the special $1 admission will be matched and a donation made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The friendly tilt will feature some of the areas best players as well special guests, music and FUN. The Vet Cafe, PLABAs full service concession has recently expanded drink selection as well root beer floats, fresh carmel corn, all the standard ballpark fare & treats and the Tastiest Wiener In Scott County will be served. Call a friend and support MBA Townball AND the Wounded Warrior Project!
The Mudcats return to the diamond Sunday 6/10 for 2PM DRS action with the Veseli Warriors, the team that swept them 2 games to nil in the 2017 DRS Playoffs while the Jays kick off Section 3B seeding games with a RVL showdown in Shakopee against the Indians at Joe Schleper Stadium of Tahpah Park at 6PM Sunday 6/10.
Lakers receive #3 seed in Section 2AAAA playoffs, will host Chanhassen to Kick Off 2018 Playoffs.
BY: Taylor Smith
The Prior Lake Lakers, who finished the regular season as South Suburban Conference champions with a 16-4 overall record, were awarded the #3 seed in the section 2AAAA playoffs based on the QRF formula and will host #6 seed Chanhassen May 29 at Memorial Park at 7pm.
The section tournament is has a double elimination format with the winner qualifying for the state tournament.
The Lakers have not faced the Storm this year but played them on the final day of the regular season in 2017, a 5-3 Laker win. Prior Lake’s seed for playoffs was up in the air during the final week of the season. After they clinched the SSC title May 21, the Lakers closed the regular season with a doubleheader at Shakopee May 23 and a single game at Edina May 26, both section foes. The Lakers were able to split with the Sabers May 23, dropping the first game 6-5 in 11 innings before winning game two 3-0 and dropped a 9-5 non league game vs Section 2AAAA #1 seed Edina Hornets, also the Lake Conference Champions for 2018.
Game 1 Recap-PL at Shakopee Wednesday May 23
Junior pitcher AJ Lattery got the start in the first game, going five innings and giving up four hits to go with six strikeouts. The only runs scored against Lattery came in the first inning after a pair of singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly. The Sabers led 2-0 after one inning.
The Lakers struck back with two runs of their own in the fourth inning. Senior catcher Ryan McDonald was hit by a pitch and senior first baseman/outfielder Corbin Cross singled on hard groundball up the middle to get the offense going. Sophomore first baseman Jonah Hoeg then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt down the first base line to advance the runners. Senior shortstop Mitch Goodwin then grounded out to short to score senior Matt Schmidt, who courtesy ran for McDonald, and junior outfielder Alex Wattermann lined a single into right field to score Cross and tie the game 2-2. The pitchers on both sides then settled in, with the game going into extra innings. Sophomore pitcher Jett Heinen did yeoman’s work out of the bullpen, throwing five innings in relief of Lattery, only allowing four hits and one earned run, while striking out four.
Prior Lake took a 4-2 lead in the top of the tenth on a two-run homer by McDonald off of the large pine tree in left-center field after Cross led off the inning with a single. The Sabers were able to answer in the bottom of the tenth however. With two men on and one out, Shakopee shortstop Payton Chase hit a fly ball fell in front of right fielder who could not field the ball cleanly, allowing both runners to score to tie the game and Chase to reach third with only one out. Heinen was able to escape the jam and keep the game alive however by getting a groundball with the infield in and a strikeout to end the inning with the score tied 4-4. Goodwin got the lead back for the Lakers at 5-4 with a leadoff home run in the eleventh.
With Heinen’s pitch count climbing, Prior Lake skipper Greg Nesbitt made a move to the bullpen, bringing in tall, junior left-handed pitcher Russ Tanner in from the bullpen. Tanner got a popout but allowed a single and a pair of walks, prompting Nesbitt to make another move to the Laker pen for senior right-hander and St. Thomas commit Cameron Bunkers, who was slated to start game 2 on the mound. Bunkers got the first batter to strikeout swinging but Sabers first baseman Sam Meyer was able to poke an outside pitch into shallow left field, to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs, giving the Sabers the walk-off win 6-5.
Game 2 Recap-PL at Shakopee Wednesday May 23
Despite finishing the first game on the mound, Bunkers got the start in the second game and was dominant, throwing six shutout innings and gave up only three hits.
With offense at a premium, the only runs of the game came in the sixth inning. McDonald led off the inning with a hard single to center followed by a perfect bunt from Cross. The runners advanced to second and third when the throw went over the first baseman’s head and scored on another hard single to right by Wattermann, who had a huge day at the plate over both games.
Wattermann scored a few batters later when sophomore third baseman Henry Emmerich hit a double that landed perfectly on the left field line, giving the Lakers a 3-0 lead that would end up being the final score. Schmidt recorded the final three outs and earn the save.
Game Recap: Prior Lake at Edina Saturday May 26
The Lakers dropped the final game of the regular season 9-5 to Edina May 26, a scorcher with temperatures in the upper 90s in a matchup of SSC Champion PL versus the Lake Conference Champion for 2018, Edina Hornets. Prior Lake took advantage of early mistakes, using a pair of hit by pitches and a walk to load the bases in the first inning. Goodwin lined a hard single to left to score the first run and junior outfielder Sam Tanner reached on an error, allowing another to score and give the Lakers a 2-0 lead after a half inning. The Lakers could not do much after that against Edina starter Richie Holetz, who ended up pitching six innings for the Hornets.
Senior pitcher Simen Restad got the start for the Lakers. Edina got to Restad in the third inning. After a pair of walks and a pair of strikeouts, Edina got an RBI single from Drew Schmidt and a two-out two-RBI double to deep left field by Andrew Enck to give the Hornets a 3-2 lead. The Hornets added a run in the fourth to make it 4-2.
The big blow in the game came in the sixth inning. Freshman pitcher Connor Wietgrefe came in, making his varsity debut, walked three and did not record an out as a run scored on an error to increase the lead to 5-2. Wattermann then came on, getting a pop out and forcing a grounder back to the pitcher that looked as if it were going to be a double play to end the inning but after throwing home for the force at the plate, McDonald’s throw to first sailed into right field allowing another run to score.
The Hornets were able to add a couple more runs in the inning to push the lead to 9-2 but it did not end without fireworks. As the Lakers threw out a Hornet baserunner Matthew Enck at the plate to end the half inning, McDonald got an arm to the face that seemingly lit a fire under the Lakers.
With Holetz out of the game, presumably due to the big lead, the Lakers took advantage of the Edina bullpen, fighting back to score three runs and cut the lead to 9-5. Prior Lake had the bases loaded with the tying run at the plate but Goodwin flew out to center to end the game.
Following the win, the Hornets were awarded the top seed in the section based on the QRF followed by Minnetonka, Prior Lake, Shakopee, Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Bloomington Jefferson and Chaska. Shakopee leapfrogged Eden Prairie and Bloomington Jefferson jumped Chaska based on having better overall records being within the tiebreaker margin of 7.3 points.
All section 2AAAA first round games will be played at the high seeds May 29 at 7pm.
The winner of #3 seed Prior Lake and #6 seed Chanhassen will play the winner of #2 seed Minnetonka and #7 seed Bloomington Jefferson May 31 at 7pm. The losers of both games will play an elimination game at the same time and date.
Just a few dozen yards from the “front door” of Veterans Field positioned along 160th Street, stands a ships “screw” erected when Memorial Park was dedicated. Not a generation ago, 160th was a 2 lane county road which led to PLHS (now Twin Oaks Middle School), and beyond to Savage and Burnsville past a community park with a ball diamond set back among majestic oak trees. As alluded to in the below submission from local resident and PLHS alumni Kevin Busse, there are many stories about the park, once at the “edge” of Prior Lake as many older ballparks are. The Memorial has hosted over many years in the history of Prior Lake, a destination concluding a Memorial Day parade route and an annual recognition that had been moved to Twin Oaks as a spot to remember those who have served our nation but has moved back to Memorial Park in 2018.
Tales of a limestone mining pit beyond the ballfield, an apple orchard, an effort to keep highway 13 close to downtown business district blocking a different proposed path, an attempt to purchase and aircraft propeller as a monument and many more weave together mingling truth with rumor to form a fabric and reflection of the community. The baseball facility, Veterans Field (“of or at” Memorial Park) was dedicated and named as following upgrades that resulted from the 1997 Parks and Library referendum. The current concession building and stamped concrete patio as well the defined parking area the most visible result of that effort. The field lighting and grandstand were efforts led by local leadership and private funding, including PL baseball Legend Jack Andrews, and funded by donations and support led by PL VFW Post 6208. A notable connection between Prior Lakes past & present in the article documents the role of local baseball supporter Earl Hafermann in the 1940’s helping lead to the parks establishment. His great grandson Parker Hafermann is a member of the 2018 Prior Lake Lakers high school baseball team that plays its home games at Veterans Field.
The park has amenities enjoyed not only by thousands of baseball fans annually, but by families enjoying the pavilions, basketball court, horseshoe pits and playground as well walking path cutting a ribbon through the park from 160th and Franklin Trail to Grainwood Elementary, Prior Lakes 1st “new” High School. When you drive by, pause to reflect the parks meaning. Park your car and walk to the monument and think both of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and their families and thank them for the park that is dedicated, in part, to honoring their memory.
Please share any photos or memories with PLABA and we will compile and post. Thanks to Kevin Busse for his research. What follows is his unedited submission clarifying the history of Memorial Park in Prior Lake…
OUR PARK, OUR MEMORIAL, OUR HISTORY
by Kevin Busse
As a lifelong resident of the Memorial Park neighborhood in Prior Lake, I’ve always been intrigued by the history of the park, and the ship propeller memorial that honors those who served our nation in military service. Many years of research led to plenty of dead ends, false stories, and bizarre rumors. Several people I spoke with felt that the ship propeller came from Cargill in Savage, who made ships for the military in World War 2. Other stories said it was captured from a German or Japanese warship. Some said it wasn’t from a military ship at all. Several additional stories all proved false and misleading as well.
A few years ago, while reading the Prior Lake American newspaper, I noticed an article by Bonnie Grapper mentioning the Prior Lake Lions Club involvement in purchasing Memorial Park property and erecting the Ship Propeller Memorial. Thanks to Bonnie and the members of the Lions Club, who allowed me access to the recorded minutes of Lions Club meetings going back to the mid 1940s, I have been able to piece together the parts of the puzzle explaining much of the history of Memorial Park, and the Ship Propeller Memorial. What I found was that the Propeller has been a source of community honor and pride for many decades, although it took some hard work by many groups and individuals to make it happen.
In the mid 1940s, a small baseball field occupied some property on what was then the far eastern side of town. In July of 1947, Lion President Kemp called for the formation of a Baseball Park Committee to begin research into what would be involved in acquiring the property to be made into a community ballpark. The owners were contacted about a final price and their terms of selling the property. Lion Schmokel was placed in charge to make plans on how to finance the purchase, and by November of that year Lion Club member Dr. Kortsch motioned that a committee of Lions meet with a committee from the VFW to attempt to buy the land then referred to as The Ball Park.
In February of 1948, Lion Art Jelinek made a presentation to the club on some of the methods available for the development of a Memorial Park. It was announced at this meeting that the discussion to decide whether or not to purchase the ball park property for a Memorial Park resulted in an overwhelming majority in favor of the purchase.
To have a proper Memorial Park, it was decided that the park needed some type of a monument to honor the men who served in Military Service. In 1946, following World War 2, the Office of Emergency Management in Washington, DC, established the War Assets Administration. Their purpose was to distribute and dispose of surplus war property and decommissioned military items that were used by the United States in the war. The Lions Club began to research the possibility of purchasing some type of United States military vehicle or item that could be displayed as a monument or memorial.
With Prior Lake being a popular lake resort community at the time, the club made a decision to purchase a large ship propeller, and in April of 1948, Del Cates motioned that the Lions send in a purchase order to the WAA for the propeller, which was unanimously approved. Two days later, Walter Maves made a motion to the Lions Club that members make themselves familiar with the surroundings of the Memorial Park property, and to submit drawings indicating their views on how the park should be laid out.
By early May, Earl Hafermann proposed that a clean-up day be held at the park on May 27th. Every able-bodied man, woman and child were asked to “lay aside their chores and duties of the day and come out to the park at 4pm, with the intention to make a valiant effort to clean out the woods and thereby more beautify our Memorial Park.” The Lions Club also agreed to serve hot dogs and beer so as not to interupt the working schedule at meal time. Afterwards, Del Cates motioned that a committee be appointed to proceed with their building plans to begin construction of the park.
In June of 1948, the War Assets Administration office in Duluth notified the Lions Club that the ship propeller had arrived, and the club accepted an offer of $40.00 by Ray Nacey to make the trip to Duluth to pick up the propeller by truck and transport it back to Prior Lake.
Lion Al Cameron made a motion to the club in January 1949 for a Centennial Celebration, and that the park be dedicated, along with the Ship Propeller Monument, as part of the celebration. It was seconded by Walter Maves, and unanimously carried.
In July of 1949 Earl Hafermann led a discussion on payment options for the fence around the field and grandstand at the ball park. An additional discussion took place regarding the cleaning out of the park reserved for picnic grounds and the monument. Gayle Carpenter and Bill Kennedy made the motion that the Lions Club clean up the front part of the park and pay for any expenses involved “up to the extent of $50.00”. The decision was made to fence in the picnic grounds to hold 25 sheep, which would eat the grass and brush to clean up the area.
By August of 1949, Lions Cates and Russell made a proposal that the Lion’s Park Dedication Committee get together with the VFW Dedication Committee and the Village Council to make plans for an early dedication.
At 12:30pm on October 13th, Lions Club members went to Village Memorial Park, as it was being referred to at this time, to roll up and remove the snow fence, which had been used to enclose the hungry sheep while they cleaned up the brush.
In the fall of 1949, Village Memorial Park was dedicated. The propeller was installed, laying flat on the ground, in the area of what is now the picnic shelter. Keep in mind that Memorial Park looked quite different back then. Until the mid-1960s, the ball field was laid out in the opposite direction. What is now the grandstand and the left field line was then the outfield, with the large covered wooden grandstand originally located in the grassy area outside the right field line fence by Memorial Trail.
Not much exists for records of the park in the 1950s. The unmarked Ship Propeller Monument became a playground of sorts, as children used the slanted propeller blades to slide down, and the open center was often used as a fire pit by park patrons, covering the Monument in soot and ashes.
Something happened by 1961. A renewed Patriotic pride swept Prior Lake. Local businesses advertising in the Prior Lake American newspaper had American Flag graphics placed in their ad copy, the Stars and Stripes were flown everywhere on homes and businesses. The call went out to take the neglected Ship Propeller Monument and make it into a proper Veterans Memorial, and the residents of the Village of Prior Lake took on the task with passion.
The decision was made to erect a special Memorial in honor of the war dead of this area. The Lions Club, Business and Professional Organizations, The Fire Department, and VFW Post #6208 all stepped forward to donate funds for the project. Ephraim Beaudette designed and constructed a 60 foot Memorial Flag Pole for the park. Jim Cates, the project chairman, spent many hours of his time for the community. Harold Monnens, Tony Conroy, Mike Neiland, Bud Ryan, Roger Harris, Otto Johnson, Joe Link Jr., Florian Blumberg, Henry Schroeder, Harold Busse, Jim Ludowese, Norbert Borka, Philip Porter, Bobby Jones, Gordie Hennen, LeRoy Bohnsack, LeRoy Gutzmer, and many others contributed in a variety of ways to construct the Memorial.
Plans were made for a special Memorial Day Service and Dedication, to be held on May 30th, 1962. The Monument and Flagpole were erected on the east end of Memorial Park, where the paved walking path is now located next to the playground. The Prior Lake Garden Club planted flowers around the Memorial, and a plaque was installed on the propeller which read “Dedicated to men of this area who served their Nation in Military Service.”
On Memorial Day, parade participants assembled in front of the VFW club at 9:30am. Starting at 10 o’clock, the parade route began its journey along old highway 13 towards Memorial Park. A throng of over 200 people filled the picnic grounds at Memorial Park, one of the largest public gatherings in the history of the Village of Prior Lake at that time. As the parade entered the park at 10:20am, the Prior Lake School Band began to perform. Promptly at 10:30, VFW Post Commander Mike Barlage greeted the crowd and introduced Mayor Melvin Borchardt. The Mayor introduced First District Congressman Ancher Nelson who gave a rousing speech that was met with a lengthy applause. Congressman Nelson then presented a flag for the new Memorial that had been flown over the Nation’s Capitol especially for the dedication, which was accepted by Jim Cates and Harold Monnens. At exactly 11:00 the silent audience all stood at full attention as the flag was raised on the Memorial Flagpole while the School Band began to play the Star Spangled Banner.
Members of the VFW and Auxillary then began the ceremony. Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and members of the Reserve also participated. Ed Meyer of Fairmont, Minnesota, past Second District Commander, delivered an emotional Memorial Day speech in front of six mock graves, representing the six cemeteries the VFW club visits each year.
Following the Memorial Service and Dedication, a community picnic was held in the park. Families stayed in Memorial Park all day long enjoying the grounds and the time together as a community.
“On the 30th of May let us, at the appointed time, gather around the sacred remains of our heroic dead and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors. Let no avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
— General John A. Logan, Commander-In-Chief, Grand Army of the Republic, 1868
This is our Park, our Memorial, and our History. Some towns have a steam railroad engine to show community pride, or a military tank or helicopter to honor their war veterans. Prior Lake has a Ship Propeller, an authentic piece of World War 2 United States Military History on display in a beautiful city park for all to enjoy and to remember those who served our country. I challenge the city of Prior Lake, the community groups and organizations, and our residents to follow the lead set all those years ago by the local Lions Club, to once again step forward to preserve and honor the historical buildings and locations in our community before they’re lost forever.
The Prior Lake Lakers baseball team made history May 21, beating the Eastview Lightning twice by scores of 7-4 and 7-2 to win their first ever South Suburban Conference championship under Coach Greg Nesbitt. The SSC was formed in 2010 playing its first baseball season in Spring 2011. The Lakers would have only clinched a share of the conference title with the pair of wins but won it outright thanks to Lakeville North and Shakopee splitting their doubleheader earlier in the day. The title is the Lakers first conference championship since they shared the Missota Conference crown in 2010, the final season & Conference Title of MSHSBCA Hall of Famer Darwin Busselmans illustrious career as skipper of the Lakers .
GAME 1 Recap: PL 7-4 Eastview
Prior Lake stood up to the task in Game 1 as the Lightning sent hard-throwing right-hander and University of Missouri bound Tommy Springer to the mound.
After Eastview posted their only lead of the day in the bottom of the first, the Lakers answered. Walks to Jonah Hoeg and Mitch Goodwin followed by a balk by Springer set the stage for Sam Emmerich, who hit a groundball up the middle to score Hoeg. Goodwin was able to score on play when the second baseman fumbled the ball and give PL a 2-1 lead.
The Lakers added to their lead in the third. Ryan McDonald reached on an error to start the inning and his courtesy runner Matt Schmidt advanced to second on a wild pitch. Laker Corbin Cross hit a ball that bounced off of the lip of the grass in front of the plate that could not be fielded and Cross alertly took second base as no one from Eastview was covering. Schmidt scored from third on a passed ball on the following pitch and Cross scored on a sacrifice fly by Hoeg later in the at bat.
Eastview came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 4-3 but Laker starter Simen Restad got a key strikeout with runners on first and second to end the threat. While the Lakers didn’t have a ton of success against Springer, they had many long at-bats and forced him out of the game after five innings and 96 pitches. Prior Lake took advantage of the new Eastview arms in the sixth as Alex Wattermann singled in a run and McDonald and Parker Hafermann had bases loaded walks later in the inning to increase the lead to 7-3. Eastview got a run back after a pair of hits against Lakers reliever Jett Heinen but it was too little too late as the Lakers hung on to win 7-4 with Restad getting the win, working five innings and striking out seven.
GAME 2 Recap: PL 7-2 Eastview
Game 2 of the double header started with a bang as Wattermann hit the second pitch he saw off the wall in left-center field. McDonald was then hit by a pitch to reach base and Hoeg reached on base an error before Goodwin took the life right out of the Lightning with an opposite field grand slam over the wall in right field to give the Lakers a 4-0 lead after the first inning.
The wheel kept turning in the second inning as Sam Emmerich reached to start the inning on a dropped popup by the first baseman and Matt Bornholdt singled to left. Wattermann then executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners and McDonald lined a double into the gap to push the lead to 6-0. Cross then doubled on the next pitch to score Schmidt, who ran for McDonald, dimming the Lightening hopes with a 7-0 score in favor of the Lakers. The Lightning scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning to reach the final score of 7-2.
Wattermann got the win pitching. He did not allow a run and struck out four Eastview batters in five innings of work.
After claiming the South Suburban Conference title, the Lakers will now look ahead to section play.
Prior Lake closes the regular season with three games against Section 2AAAA opponents, two final SSC games at Shakopee Sabres Joe Schleper Stadium – Tahpah Park Wednesday May 23 4:30pm and 6:30pm and one game at Edina Hornets Braemar Field #1 Satuday May 26 2:00pm. The Lakers stand at 1-0 vs Section 2AAAA having beaten Eden Prairie May 5 in Prior Lake.
MSHSL Section 2AAAA seeds teams for bracket play based on the “QRF formula” which will be confirmed and released May 27 with section playoffs beginning May 29. As of May 21, the Lakers sit in third place in Section 2AAAA based on the QRF behind Minnetonka and Edina. High seeds are scheduled to host games in the 8 team Section 2AAAA.
-Congratulations to Laker Seniors Ryan McDonald(C), Mitchell Goodwin(SS) and Derek Kay (2B) on their selection to represent the Prior Lake Lakers in the 2018 PlayBall!MN All-Star Series. The games, coordinated by the MSHSBCA, were formally known as the Lions All Star games have had numerous representatives over many years of the series from Prior Lake which features many of the states top players and is hosted at Chaska Athletic Park June 22nd & 23rd. More information to follow as the games approach!
-PL Laker Alumni Austin Truso ’14 (NDSU) and Jacob Hitz ’17 (Minnesota) are still in playoffs for their college programs. 9 PL graduates were on college rosters this Spring with Nick Hanson playing professionally in the Cinncinatti Reds and recovering from arm surgery (more to follow soon on his progress, check back).
The Prior Lake Junior American Legion & “Tournament Team” Rosters have been announced/released. Prior Lake LakerLegion will NOT be fielding Senior American Legion team Wizards for 2018 (more to follow…).
The Prior Lake Lakers have gotten contributions across the lineup and roster in the early, re-configured 2018 season. As they are just short of the 1/2 way point on the 20 game regular season, the Lakers find themselves contending atop the grueling South Suburban Conference following big wins this past week running to 5 straight in the “W” column posting an 8-1 overall and 7-1 SSC record. Solid pitching and hitting production have overcome defensive lapses and miscues in the early season surge to battle at the top of the 2018 SSC. The 2018 Lakers for Coach Greg Nesbitt have in the early season shown an ability to fight on in adversity and find ways to win. While a long path to the regular season conclusion, the Lakers appear to be finding a winning formula in 2018.
Saturday May 5 Eden Prairie Eagles at PL (Non League-Section 2AAAA game): PL Wins Section Showdown In Dramatic Fashion.
By Tex Chapman
The Lakers sent Tyler Kelley to the mound to start against the Class 4A Lake Conference Eden Prairie Eagles on a perfect day of baseball weather for the host Lakers. He recorded the 1st out and 1st 2 batters in the 1st and 2nd innings before a Laker error in the field allowed the EP lineup leadoff batter Zack Elliott to reach 1st in what would become a 6 run top of the 3rd the featured 4 hits, 2 walks and a hit EP batter before a hit to Mitchell Goodwin at shortstop stopped the damage doubling off the end of the 3rd inning on a double play and giving a lift to the assembled EP fanbase while silencing PL supporters.
With the early 0-6 hole the host Lakers went to work with catcher Ryan McDonald and firstbaseman Jonah Hoeg picking up hits and leftfielder Alex Watterman drawing a walk before DH Corbin Cross doubled to deep right center clearing the bases to post 3 Lakers runs before the 1st out. Thirdbaseman Tyler Hopkins sacrifice fly plated Cross before rightfielder Sam Emmerich singled, advanced on a passed ball the sac fly by Goodwin to 3rd before a Parker Haferman double completed the 3rd inning scoring with a 6-5 EP lead for the Eagles pitcher Matthew Lamberty who replaced starting pitcher Matt Goodburn with 1 out and 1 on in the 3rd.
The Eagles plated 2 4th inning runs on a leadoff walk and stolen base by Elliott was followed by a 1 out 2 run home run by the Eagles 3rd baseman Ryan Wrobeleski for a 8-5 lead. Russ Tanner had come in to relieve starter Kelley during the frame. The PL 9 answered with a Ryan McDonald solo homerun to deep right center field narrowing the score to 8-6 after 4 complete innings.
After scoreless 5th innings by both squads, the visiting Eagles had 1 out in the 6th before a single at the top of the order and walk with a passed ball and steals ended Tanners stint on the mound for the Lakers with Matt Schmidt entering in relief with runner on 2nd and 3rd before a called strikeout and fielding a comebacker tossed to first to end the inning stranding 2 Eden Prairie runners in scoring position. In the bottom of the 6th, EP changed their pitcher inserting Jacob Pappas to keep the Lakers down and preserve the lead. With 2 outs Alex Watterman was hit by pitch and after a walk, Tyler Hopkins re-entered the lineup delivering and RBI single narrowing the score to 8-7 Eden Prairie.
After Schmidt allowed a hit and faced 3 batters in the top of the 7th blanking the Eagles, the Lakers got a “bingle” flared over the outstretched 3rd baseman Wrobleski by Goodwin to start the last Laker at-bat. Parker Haferman attempted to sacrifice bunt but unsuccessful in 2 attempts, fought back including fouling balls off to draw a walk to put the potential winning run on base with the top of the lineup coming up for the Laker 9. The Eagles tallied a force out at 3rd of Goodwin on a hit by 2nd baseman Derek Kay leaving runners at 1st and 2nd and 1 out. Working to the traditional “hitters count” of 2 balls and 1 strike, Ryan McDonald brought the Laker faithful to its feet with a blast to deep left center, his 2nd homerun of the game plating the winning runs while the Laker dugout stormed the field welcoming him home as cheering cascaded over the Cinco de Mayo celebration that ensued at the plate for the Section 2AAAA Lakers win.
Lakers Return To SSC Taking 2 Wins VS. Burnsville.
by Taylor Smith
The Lakers continued their 2018 winning ways May 7 against rival Burnsville Blaze, claiming both games of a doubleheader on a warm late Spring day at Veterans Field of Memorial Park.
Simen Restad was strong on the mound in Game 1, striking out six over five innings, allowing only two hits and no earned runs. Despite Restad’s performance, the game was in the balance in the top of the sixth in large part due to five Laker errors. After Burnsville cut the Laker lead to 5-4, Jett Heinen was able to get Burnsville catcher Will Bramley to pop out with the bases loaded to end the threat. The Lakers extended the lead in the bottom of the inning and won Game 1 by a final score of 7-5.
Prior Lake had to come from behind in Game 2, trailing 2-0 in the early innings before tying the game 2-2 in the fifth inning. The Lakers had stranded bases full twice early in the game.
Pitcher Alex Wattermann kept the Lakers in the game despite being hit in the face with a line drive early in the game. He went six innings, allowing five hits and one earned run.
Corbin Cross broke the 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded cross popped up into the twilight sky but the Blaze infielder could not field the ball, allowing it to drop in for a two run double. Cross finished with six hits over the two games. The Lakers added another run on an error later in the inning.
AJ Lattery came in to pitch and gave up a run but got the save pitching the seventh inning, securing the 5-3 win and sweep of the Blaze in South Suburban Conference action.
As the 2018 season turns down the backstretch, the Lakers are battling both for the SSC as well for positioning in Section 2AAAA. The Lakers defeat of EP is the 1st of 4 Section games that, in addition to SSC record, will determine their draw for playoffs. Scheduled games VS. Edina 5/22 and doubleheader at Shakopee 5/23 can help determine Section record. The Section uses QBR (formula) to determine playoff position.
UPCOMING PL LAKER GAMES:
Thursday May 10 HOST Farmington(2 games-Game 1 430, Game 2* 630)
Monday May 14 At Lakeville South (2 games-300, Game 2* 500)
*Estimated start time following umpire change and field repairs.
-PL Summer HS age team tryouts for American Legion Wizards and Junior American Legion Team were held May 6 and scheduled to post on PLABA website May 13 according to Coach Kevin Nagel.
-Congratulations to Allen Iverson, member of the PL Lakers Coaching Staff, on his selection to join Jordan Hubmen head coach Brent Goracke in leading the Metro South for the 2018 Play Ball MN! All-Star Series. Iverson has Coached in the annual series previously having been a successful long time head coach in Lakeville (South) and for the Apple Valley Eagles. The games, formerly known as the Lions All Star Series, have featured a long history of Prior Lake participants and brings together some of the best high school players in Minnesota. The 2017 series featured Jacob Hitz (Minnesota) and Lucas Pumper (Century College) to represent the Lakers before continuing college level play.
The 2018 late Spring shuffled the season schedule adding doubleheaders and the 2018 PL Lakers have risen to the challenge posting a 3-1 record thus far in twinbills with 2 10 run/shortened victories. The Lakers have compiled an early 5-1 record in the grueling South Suburban Conference overcoming various miscues and fighting back behind solid starting pitching. The next 3 games will provide a measure for playoff potential as we approach mid-season with perennial MSHSL powerhouses Burnsville & Eden Prairie visiting the friendly confines of Veterans Field in coming days.
PL High does NOT charge admission for regular season games and the Vet Cafe concession serves up the tastiest wiener in Scott County along with a full assortment of cool drinks and value priced options while supporting PL baseball.
April 26 W @Rosemount* 11-1
April 27 VS W Rosemount* 5-3
April 30 VS W Apple Valley* 5-4, L 5-3
May 3 @ Eagan* W 11-0, W 4-3
Saturday May 5 1:00PM HOST Eden Prairie Eagles
Monday May 7 4:00PM HOST Burnsville Blaze* (Doubleheader)