Laker Legion emerges as Substate 4 champs; state-bound this week

By Justin Braun


Laker Legion pitcher Tyus Smith waits for a sign. (Photo by Justin Braun/

With a 5-4 win against the St. Louis Park Railcats Post #282 on Saturday afternoon, the Prior Laker Laker Legion advanced to the American Legion Baseball Substate 4 championship game last Saturday evening against the Hopkins Post 320 Flyers and came out victorious by a score of 15-1.  The Laker Legion’s successful run through the Substate playoffs saw them head into the losers bracket early but reemerge to make their way to the eventual championship game and victory.  They’ll kick off their American Legion Baseball State Tournament appearance with their first game on Thursday, July 27th at 10:00 AM when they take on the Winona LeJetz Baseball 18U team at Adams Alumni Field in Rochester (MN).

Prior Lake Laker Legion 5 – St. Louis Park Railcats 3

Laker Legion pitcher Benton Blattner delivers a pitch in the rain. (Photo by Justin Braun/

Tyus Smith was dominant on the mound, as he rang up 11 strikeouts in the Laker Legion’s 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Park Railcats Sr. Legion Post 282 on Saturday. Smith surrendered six hits and two runs over six innings while walking three.  JJ Jerdee and Matthew Johnson each appeared in relief for the Laker Legion.  Miles Marggraff started for the Railcats, giving up seven hits and five runs (two earned) over six and one-third innings, striking out five and walking three.

Prior Lake opened the scoring in the top of the second thanks to doubles by Spencer Keeney and Noah Slates. PL got on the board when Keeney doubled, scoring two runs.  The Laker Legion would strike again in the seventh inning, scoring two runs from a double by Dominik Giancarlo and a sacrifice bunt by Nate Bodine.

Jaxson Barrett, Joe Stelzig, Derek Gust, Trevor Mong, Giancarlo, Johnson, Slates, and Keeney each collected one hit for the LakerLegion. Giancarlo and Keeney each drove in two runs while Gust stole two bases. Prior Lake was error-free in the field during the ballgame.

Prior Lake Laker Legion 15 – Hopkins Flyers 1 (6 inn.)

Laker Legion third baseman Dominik Giancarlo makes contact in the 2023 Substate 4 championship game. (Photo by Justin Braun/

The Laker Legion took advantage of the ten errors made by the Hopkins Post 320 Flyers in Saturday evening’s Substate 4 championship game at Big Willow Park in Minnetonka.

Prior Lake jumped out to the lead in the top of the second inning, scoring six runs.  While the Laker Legion mustered one hit during the inning, Hopkins made eight errors in the field, leading to a number of unearned runs.

Prior Lake would strike again in the fourth inning with another two runs.  Jaxson Barrett and Nate Bodine would both single and be driven in by a double from Dominik Giancarlo.  In the sixth inning, another six runs would come across, with Giancarlo and Joe Stelzig both reaching on base hits.

Benton Blattner stepped on the bump first for the Laker Legion. Blattner allowed four hits and one run (zero earned) over six innings, striking out one and walking three. Will Tomanek started for Hopkins. He surrendered nine runs (three earned) on six hits over four innings, striking out two and walking one.

Giancarlo went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead Prior Lake. Slates seized on opportunities, leading the Laker Legion with three runs batted in from the number nine spot in the lineup.

Laker Legion State Tournament Schedule

Thursday, July 27, 2023 – 10:00 AM (Adams Alumni Field)
Prior Lake Laker Legion vs. Winona LeJetz Baseball

Thursday, July 27, 2023 – 5:30 PM (Adams Alumni Field)
Prior Lake Laker Legion vs. Delano Post 377

Friday, July 28, 2023 – 12:30 PM (Adams Alumni Field)
Prior Lake Laker Legion vs. St. Michael Mike’s Post 567


Prior Lake Laker Legion 2023 American Legion Substate 4 Champions. (Photo by Justin Braun/


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