VETNEWS April ’22: JV kick off home season, RIP Denny Keating, Shakopees Schleper HOF

By Joseph Chapman

PLLaker JV opened the ’22 Vet season blanking Lakeville South 4/11/22-TEX

The ISD719 PL Laker Junior Varsity opened the 2022 Veterans Field season blanking Lakeville South 5-0 April 11.

Sophomore Laker Hudson Johnson  got the ball and struck out 7 Cougars the first 3 innings while centerfielder Noah Slates led off the game for the Lakers with a single, error on LS pitcher and advancing to 3rd on a passed ball before scoring the game winner in the 1st inning on a wild pitch.  PLJV plated 1 in the 4th and posted a 2 run 5th.  Johnson (SP/WP), yielded 3 hits, 0 runs and struck out 9 in 5 innings work on the mound.  Blake Helberg tossed scoreless 6th and 7th innings to hold the shutout coming in with 2 runners aboard in the 6th inning.  PL’s offense had contributions across the lineup and also topped the Lakeville South D playing error free while the Cougars had 3 errors in the loss.  PL Laker Varsity dropped in opening game action at Lakeville South 3-2 to open their 2022 season.  Veterans Field annually hosts 120-150 games and is operationally supported by the PLABA & User teams in coordination with the City of Prior Lake and ISD719.

The SSC has been impacted by recent cold and wet field conditions scrambling the 2022 schedule.  The Lakers JV and Varsity are generally alternating playing home/away vs the same team with Varsity appearing likely to kick off their 2022 season (0-1) at the friendly confines Tuesday April 19 with a 430PM 1st pitch for skipper Al Iversen against the Lakeville North Panthers.  The Vet Cafe should be open with many of your ballpark favorites all season long.  Many Spring 2022 Laker Varsity games will also be streamed by

South Suburban Conference PL Lakers Web 2022 Schedule


IN MEMORIAM: Denny Keating

The PLABA executive board and teams send condolences to 2022 President Mike Keating and his family on the loss of Denny Keating April 10.  Denny, a longtime resident of Prior Lake was a regular visitor to Veterans Field and as a fan and former baseball player and supported sons Mike and Mark.  Mike is familiar to most in the area for serving the PLAY and PLABA executive boards for many seasons dating back more than a decade.  Recent Laker and Jays standout Tommy, Dennys grandson,  kept Denny regular as a fan in recent seasons and he extended his support and skills in metalwork repairing rakes and carts for PLABA & Veterans Field.  His generosity is appreciated by those he impacted and he will be missed by many beyond baseball in the Prior Lake Community.  Thanks Denny, and best to his family and friends in honoring & remembering him. 

A Time of Gathering to celebrate Denny’s life will be held at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation (4565 Pleasant St SE, Prior Lake, MN) from 4:00 – 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, and from 10:00 – 11:00 AM with closing prayers at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Interment at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery, Prior Lake. Memorials preferred to American Heart Association, Pheasants Forever-4 Metro Area MN Chapter, or



CONGRATULATIONS Tom Schleper, Shakopee head HS Coach on HOF

Padilla and Schleper meet before PL Post 447 VS Shakopee Post 2 American Legion baseball in 2021. PHOTO-JBraun

Longtime Shakopee Sabers (nee Indians) Coach Tom Schleper has been selected for induction to the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.  Schleper, still active as skipper of the Sabers, was a standout as a player and graduate of Shakopee, moving on to play at Southwest State Mustangs and for the Shakopee Indians townteam where he distinguished himself as a catcher.  Tom also Coaches Shakopee Post 2 American Legion and his father Joe, a longtime Shakopee Coach whose name graces the ball Stadium in Shakopees Tahpah Park.  He joins both his father Joe Schleper (2013) in the Hall and also legendary Prior Lake Laker Coach Darwin Busselman (535 wins) who was inducted in 2007.  Schleper got his 300th win last season in his storied career.


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