Joe Schleper Stadium

Shakopee’s Joe Schleper Stadium will host the 2020 Class B state amateur baseball state tournament in August after New Ulm backed out of hosting it this year.

Just two years after hosting the Minnesota Baseball Association’s state tournament, Shakopee is once again a host for the annual event.

On Monday, the MBA announced that Shakopee’s Schleper Stadium will host the 2020 Class B state tournament after the city of New Ulm backed out of hosting the event.

The New Ulm City Council, in a special meeting on July 24, voted 5-0 to not host the 2020 Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament next month.

Citing rising cases of COVID-19 in Brown County, a previous 3-2 vote in favor was overturned by city council members. A year of work in getting Johnson and Mueller parks ready for the state tournament will have to wait for another year.

“The decision came down to the health of the community of New Ulm and the people that we have to live with the rest of our lives,” Al Flor, the Chairman of the 2020 State Tournament Committee in New Ulm, said to the New Ulm Journal.

“Those are people that we have to have around every day. It was a tough pill to swallow but it was the right thing to do,” he added.

With New Ulm out of the picture to host, the MBA met on Monday to find replacements to host the three-weekend state tournament.

The association announced the original third site of Springfield will stay on as a host site and named the home field of the Milroy Yankees, near Marshall, as the second host for the Class C state tournament and Shakopee as the host of the 16-team Class B state tournament.

“We had heard that New Ulm might not be able to host this year, but we knew Springfield still wanted to. We only threw our name in the hat as a potential Class B tourney host since it’s a smaller undertaking we think we can handle this late in the game,” said Shakopee’s Gary Schleper, who is a director with the MBA Board.

He said the decision to host came with the city of Shakopee’s blessing.

“We wouldn’t have offered the field without the go-ahead from our city,” he said. “They have always been willing to help when they can.”

Schleper said all games will be played at Schleper Stadium at Tahpah Park unless rain changes that plan. He said ‘The Joe’ will host eight games the first weekend of Aug. 21-23, six games the weekend of Aug. 28-30 and four or five games Labor Day weekend.

“Class B is a 16-team single elimination tourney the first two rounds then moves to double elimination for the final four,” Schleper said. “We mostly need to tidy up the field. There’s more work to be done off the field than on it at this time to get ready.”

2018

The last time Shakopee hosted the state tournament was in 2018 along with New Prague and Jordan and it was a huge success.

The final attendance for 2018 Class B and C state tournaments was 17,349.

That’s the highest attendance totals since 1960 in Springfield and surpasses the 1998 tournament total of 17,346 in Chaska and Hamburg.

In addition to fans flocking to the three sites, Shakopee saw history made as Hutchinson’s Matt Timm threw the first perfect game in tournament history against Sleepy Eye.

Timm faced 27 batters and retired all 27 of them in a row to throw the perfect game in Hutchinson’s 6-0 win.

The Chanhassen Red Birds would beat Miesville twice on Labor Day to capture the Class B state title at Schleper Stadium while Plato would capture the Class C state title by beating the Sobieski Skis 8-5 in New Prague.

Sports editor

Todd Abeln has been the Shakopee and Jordan sports editor for more than 10 years. He enjoys highlight big accomplishments and competitive games. Todd also enjoys golf, softball and watching his kids play baseball, soccer, hockey and basketball.

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