It's playoff time for the Prior Lake legion baseball team.
Can the team make a run at the Division I state tournament, which will begin Aug. 1 at four northern sites, Cold Spring, Paynesville, Watkins and St. Martin?
In 2015, Prior Lake made the state field for the first time in program history.
Prior Lake (12-6 overall) had a strong showing in the Gopher Classic, winning three of four games. The team fell 5-4 to Alexandria July 14 in a game that determined the pool champion.
Prior Lake was one of 16 host sites. The 16 pool winners advanced to round of 16. Excelsior ended up winning the title July 16.
Prior Lake's wins in pool play were 5-0 over Millard West, Nebraska and 4-1 over De Pere, Wisconsin July 13, along with a 9-2 triumph over Brookings, South Dakota July 12.
Prior Lake ends the regular season July 20 at home versus Waconia at 10 a.m. The team had its league games with Red Wing (July 17) and Inver Grove Heights (July 16) cancelled due to the fact the other two teams did not have enough players to compete.
For more information on the Gopher Classic, go to legionbaseballhub.com/gopherclassic.
In the loss to Alexandria, it was a 2-2 game heading into the seventh inning. Alexandria scored time in the top of the frame. Prior Lake answered with two runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run thrown out at home to end the game.
Prior Lake scored its four runs on just three hits, all singles. They came from Sam Tanner, Russ Tanner and Alex Wattermann. Sam Tanner and Wattermann both had RBIs, along with AJ Martins.
Cooper Schnackenberg took the loss, allowing three earned runs in one inning of work. Camden Weisz started and worked four innings, allowing two runs (one earned). Austin Gordon pitched a scoreless inning of relief, striking out two.
Against Millard West, Wattermann tossed six shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out nine. Russ Tanner pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Prior Lake broke the game open with two runs in the fifth inning and scored three more times in the sixth.
Schnackenberg smacked a solo homer, finishing 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Russ Tanner was also 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Gordon and Blake Haferman each had an RBI.
In the win over De Pere, Prior Lake scored its four runs on just two hits. Sam Emmerich doubled and drove in a run, while Sam Tanner had a hit and a run scored. Tyler Rueckert also had an RBI.
Kyle Celatka pitched six innings for the win, allowing one unearned run while striking out five. Kelley pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
In beating Brookings, Kelley finished 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Russ Tanner was 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs. Sam Tanner also doubled and drove in a run.
Henry Emmerich finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs, while Gordon was 2 for 3 with a run scored.
Haferman worked five innings for the win, allowing two runs on seven hits, while fanning three. Weisz pitched two scoreless relief innings with two strikeouts.
For the playoffs, Prior Lake is in Sub-State 6 with Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Eastview, Hastings, Northfield, Red Wing and Lakeville South.
There are 15 sub-states with winners advancing to the state tournament, along with the host team, which is Cold Spring.
For more information and playoff seeds and brackets, go to legionbaseballhub.com/statetournament.