Carver Black Sox - Rudolf

First-year Carver Black Sox pitcher Wyatt Rudolf fires a pitch in an exhibition game against Minnetonka June 13 at Woody Swanson Field.

Just when you thought the 2020 amateur baseball season couldn’t get any weirder — starting six weeks later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic — how about the Cologne Hollanders having to postpone three games after a visiting player tested positive to the virus.

Welcome to 2020, where this could be the common theme.

Teams are in, teams are out.

Craig Pexa, manager for the Hollanders, said all Cologne players tested negative for COVID, the team ready to hit the field again on Tuesday, June 30.

After outscoring Union Hill (14-4, seven innings), New Germany (12-2, seven innings) and Glencoe (2-0) by a combined 28-6, Cologne certainly wasn’t ready to take a week off, including a missed opportunity to participate on FOX-9’s Town Ball Town tour at non-league Bird Island.

Cologne led 14-0 in the season opener, versus Union Hill, a grand slam from Torben Urdahl, while Casey Clemensen and Alex Eichner combined for five shutout innings.

Cole Pengilly, who homered in the opener, drove in five runs with two home runs versus New Germany. The Hollanders trailed 2-0 after the first inning. Tanner Luebke and Austin Pysick each had triples, while newcomer Jayce Luna struck out seven batters over five innings in the win.

Urdahl fanned six batters in seven innings in a league shutout of Glencoe. Carter Clemensen singled three times with an RBI, while Kyle Brazil also plated a run with a double in the 2-0 score.

AIM TO MOTIVATE

Beaten 4-3 at Brownton and 8-2 at Watertown to start the season, a little social media ribbing may have gone a long way.

Or the Carver Black Sox, which have qualified for state the last three seasons, remain one of the teams to beat in the Crow River Valley League and they showed it in back-to-back wins over Mayer 16-3 and Plato 9-0 on June 27 and 28.

Cole Kirchoff had six RBIs with newcomer Jay Bresnahan plating four runs in the middle of the line-up for Carver over Mayer. David Dolan, who pitched all seven innings in the win, added a solo home run.

Carver led 9-0 through three innings.

Versus Plato, Andrew Weber threw eight shutout innings, finishing with three hits including a home run to help his own cause. Dolan and Bailey Melz each collected three hits as well as the Black Sox outhit the Bluejays 18-3.

PITCHERS DOMINATE

Chanhassen, only able to get in five innings in a scheduled doubleheader at Hampton June 21, shutout amateur baseball newcomer MacStrength 10-0 and Cokato, a Class C state qualifier in 2019, by a 9-0 score, on June 25 and 26.

Miles Nablo (four innings), Tommy Thompson (two innings) and Chris Choles (two innings) combined for nine strikeouts and no hits allowed in the June 25 contest played in Green Isle. Only one Grizzly reached base in the contest.

Nick Smith hit his second home run of the season, while Ryan Diers plated four runs, clearing the bases with a double.

A pair of Riley Johnson doubles was part of a Chanhassen hitting attack that saw seven different batters drive in a run at Cokato June 26.

John Straka scattered two hits with five strikeouts in five shutout innings of work before Zach Hartford threw three shutout relief frames.

Region 3B decided to use a 10-game league schedule to determine playoff seeding for August. Chanhassen’s division includes Eagan, Burnsville and newcomer Excelsior. The Red Birds will play those teams twice, and Chaska, Prior Lake, Victoria and Shakopee once.

Visit the Chanhassen Villager home page for a video story from the Red Birds’ season opener at St. Patrick last month.

WAITING FOR THE OPENER

First it was waiting for the OK to play games at Athletic Park for the Chaska Cubs. Then it was waiting for a league schedule to be developed. Then it was waiting for a team to play.

Victoria was unable to play June 28. St. Peter double-booked for June 30 and had to bail.

The Cubbies, retooled with nine new players this summer, were set to open the 2020 season on July 1 at Prior Lake. It was the first of 16 games on the schedule for the month of July including home games tonight (July 2) versus St. Louis Park and July 9, 10 and 12.

Chaska will play in a River Valley League division with Victoria, Shakopee and Prior Lake. A 10-game league schedule will determine playoff seeding for August. The Cubs will play those teams twice, and Chanhassen, newcomer Excelsior, Eagan, and Burnsville once.

Chaska will be without a Lane for the first time in two decades as Tony has retired. Former Cub Grif Kilber was persuaded back on the team, while Riley Swenson (University of Minnesota), Carter Tibbits (New Mexico) and Trent Thinesen (Northwestern College of Iowa) bolster the roster.

Chaska Class of 2020 graduates Grif Wurtz, Charlie Dardis and Mac Born also are members of the Cubs, while Casey Garven, a former St. Louis Park player, is also on the roster. Garven played the role of “Larson” in the hit 1990s movie Mighty Ducks.

BACK TO BASEBALL

Corey Binger pitched Victoria to a 6-0 win over Hamburg in the Vics’ season opener June 16. The Vics were one of the first teams in the state to return to baseball, also playing Minnetonka on June 20 in an 11-5 loss.

New to Victoria this season is former Chaska Cub Jon Leighton as well as collegiate pitcher Ryan Och of Chanhassen High School and former Southwest Christian High School star Graham Burke.

Excelsior, in its first year of existence, began play with a road game at Coon Rapids June 26, a 12-2 loss.

The Islanders, set to play two games at its home field of Lake Susan in Chanhassen, has an initial roster of 15 players including Carson Funk of Chanhassen High School, Nick Hays of Chaska High School, and PJ Barrett of Holy Family Catholic High School — all 2019 graduates.

All but one player lists a hometown of Chaska-Chanhassen-Minnetonka-Excelsior-Shorewood-Deephaven.

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