“As a coach, you always want more practices than games,” said Eden Prairie American Legion baseball coach Valdie Magstadt. “From when we started on Monday through July 4, we’ll have four days off, and two of those are travel days.”
So no, Magstadt hasn’t been holding a lot of practices.
The Eden Prairie High School baseball team played its season finale on Saturday, June 15, while competing in the MSHSL State Tournament.
Eden Prairie’s American Legion team played its first game on Monday, June 17. For the most part, rosters for the high school team and legion team are similar.
“I think we have five guys who weren’t on the varsity roster,” said Magstadt.
Eden Prairie opened its season last Monday with a 9-7 win over Shakopee. On Tuesday, it fell 7-5 to Edina. On Wednesday, it beat Bloomington Gold 5-2.
Thursday’s rains coincided with the team’s first off day. Lucky?
On Friday, Eden Prairie opened the Burnsville Legion Baseball Snake Pit Tournament with a 9-2 loss to Wayzata. If followed with an 8-0 win over Edina.
Eden Prairie’s weekend consisted of a split with Coon Rapids, losing 3-2 before winning 7-2.
“We haven’t been on a roll yet,” said Magstadt. “Our pitching and defense have been pretty good, but our bats haven’t been as strong as we’d like.”
In its 7-5 loss to Edina, the game was tied 2-2 before Eden Prairie allowed a four-run fifth inning. In its 9-2 loss to Wayzata, the game was tied 2-2 after four.
“We could be better than our 4-3 record,” said the coach.
The Eden Prairie American Legion team’s strength is its pitching.
“With Ben (Ben Shepard), Tyson (Tyson Stritesky) and Brandt (Brandt Thompson), we have three aces,” said Magstadt. “We also have Matt Lamberty and Connor Hemme, who both have pitched in some high-level situations.”
Add Danny Pahl, Spencer Puet, Taylor Chase and Tyson Sirek into the mix, and Magstadt has options.
“We’ll need a five-man rotation,” said the coach. “We just played seven games in seven days. Before that, we had five games canceled.”
Defensively, Eden Prairie’s experience is in the middle, with Joey Danielson returning at catcher and Jordan Amundson patrolling center field.
“Middle infield is where we have some questions,” said Magstadt. “Grant (Grant Randle) and Tyler (Tyler Donahue) aren’t playing this summer.”
Randle was the varsity team’s starting shortstop, Donahue its starting second baseman.
In their places, Magstadt plans to use a combination of Nathan Miller, Joey Cornelius and Pahl.
“While they can all play,” said Magstadt, “it will be the first time at this level.”
Eden Prairie was scheduled to play games Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (today) before leaving for the Rapid City Firecracker Tournament.
“The Rapid City field includes some really good teams,” said Magstadt. “Four of the seven won state championships last year and qualified for regional tournaments.”
Ultimately, Eden Prairie’s goal is to do the same.
“If we can win our sub-state tournament,” said the coach. “we’ll be competitive at state.”
Magstadt’s team is scheduled to play some baseball first, lots of baseball.