Through its first nine games, the Eden Prairie American Legion baseball team had posted an imperfect 5-4 record. It had never counted a two-game win streak, nor a two-game losing streak.
That would change when it headed west to South Dakota’s Rapid City Firecracker Tournament.
On Saturday, Eden Prairie defeated Rocky Mountain, Colorado 5-2.
“They’re a defending state champion and regional qualifier,” said Eden Prairie coach Valdie Magstadt.
Ben Shepard was credited with Eden Prairie’s win. He pitched six innings, allowed four hits and struck out 10.
Offensively, Jordan Amundson and Nathan Miller counted two hits apiece.
Eden Prairie outhit Rocky Mountain 8-4.
On Sunday, Eden Prairie rallied late to defeat Premier West, Colorado 8-6.
“We were up 5-4 in the top of the sixth,” said Magstadt, “but then they got two in the bottom of six to take a 6-5 lead. In the top of seventh, Jordy (Amundson) hit a one-out bases-clearing double.”
Eden Prairie opened the game with a four-run first inning.
“We gave them all back in the bottom of the first,” lamented Magstadt. “We brought in Taylor Chase in relief and he gave us five big innings. While the plan was to always bring him in, it wasn’t the plan to bring him in that early.”
Connor Hemme pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief of Chase.
Amundson counted three hits and three RBIs, Brenden Donahue two hits and two RBIs.
“The guys say the ball travels better out there,” said Magstadt, of his team’s suddenly red-hot offense. “While I don’t know about that, we’ve certainly been stringing more hits together. That’s a good thing.
“We haven’t played the best defense,” added Magstadt, “and our pitching hasn’t been the greatest, but we’re competing. Do that, and you can live with the rest.”
Eden Prairie counted 10 walks in Sunday’s win over Premier.
“We’ve got our first three-game win streak,” said Magstadt.
Eden Prairie was scheduled to play a double header against two more state champions on Monday.
“We get Terra Haute, Indiana, and then Missoula, Montana,” said the coach. “On Tuesday, we get another Colorado team. On Wednesday, we play Rapid City.”
“We want that long week,” said Magstadt, “and you can’t have a long week without a good start. Right now, we’re 2-0.”
The tournament ends on the Fourth of July. The team returns to Eden Prairie on Friday.