Eden Prairie American Legion baseball

The Eden Prairie American Legion baseball team will host a Gopher Classic site this weekend. Friday at 9 a.m., Eden Prairie opens tournament play with a home game against West St. Paul.

The Eden Prairie American Legion baseball team spent a week in Rapid City, S.D., counted wins over two state champions and exited the annual Firecracker Tournament with a 4-2 record.

And oh yeah, Eden Prairie and Rapid City were named co-champions.

“It’s a little anti-climatic,” said Eden Prairie coach Valdie Magstadt. “We played 1 1/2 innings and were up by two when the skies opened up.

“The game was Thursday night and we had to catch the bus home at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning,” he added. “It’s not like they could have pushed it back.”

The game Magstadt referenced was Eden Prairie vs. Rapid City Part II.

“They beat us 4-2 on Thursday morning,” said the coach. “We made the championship game because we won the tiebreaker. We had given up the fewest runs.”

Eden Prairie, Rapid City and Terra Haute, Indiana, shared identical 4-2 records.

Eden Prairie ‘s two losses were to Terra Haute (6-4) and Rapid City (4-2); Rapid City’s two loses were to Terra Haute (11-10) and Kearney, Nebraska (6-1); Terra Haute’s two loses were to Missoula, Montana (16-4) and Premier West Colorado (9-6).

“A lot of it has to do with matchups.” said Magstadt. “We did well on some and not as well on others.

“We came away with a lot of positives,” he added. “We played 6 1/2 games and were engaged and competed. That’s hard to do when you’re on the road and staying in hotel for a week.”

Negatives?

“We weren’t very good on the bases,” said Magstadt. “And while our pitching was very good, we had some spots where we struggled to throw strikes.”

When asked for individual highlights, the coach named Taylor Chase, Joey Cornelius, Tyson Sirek and Connor Hemme.

“Those guys came out of the bullpen and not only kept us in games, but gave us chances to win,” said Magstadt. “Confidence-wise, that’s a big deal going forward.”

The coach also praised Luke Anderson.

“He’s had two really good starts,” said Magstadt.

Eden Prairie notched wins over Rocky Mountain (5-2), Premier West (8-6), Missoula (9-2) and Catalyst Colorado (8-4).

Rocky Mountain and Missoula are defending state champions.

Final push

After having a weekend off, Eden Prairie was scheduled to return to action on Monday with a home game against Eagan.

On Friday morning, Eden Prairie opens Gopher Classic play with a home game against West. St. Paul. On Friday night, Eden Prairie hosts Elkhorn, Nebraska.

Pool play continues Saturday and Sunday.

“On Sunday night,” said Magstadt, “we play a 31-1 Fargo team.”

If Eden Prairie wins its pool, it will play Monday and possibly Tuesday.

Eden Prairie ends league play next week with games Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

“A week from Saturday,” said Magstadt, “coaches seed the sub-state tournament.”

Sports editor

Dan Huss covers Eden Prairie sports and especially loves reporting on sports features and outdoors-related adventures. He lives in Shorewood with his wife, Marnie, daughters Aili and Britt, and Wilma, a pheasant-finding Deutsch Drahthaar.

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