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.
2018 PL Lakers Results:
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
May 5 VS Eden Prairie W 10-8
May 7 VS Burnsville W 7-5, W 5-3
-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.