Pirates move on to regionals
The Blue Earth Pirates are off to Cannon?Falls.
An 11-1 victory over the Minnesota Lake Royals on Sunday catapulted the Pirates into the No. 3 seed for the Minnesota Baseball Association’s regional tournament, making Blue Earth the town-team champions of the 13/60 Blue Division and securing an Aug. 6 game to kick off another round of the postseason.
Veteran catcher Bobby Olson, returning after a one-game absence from the lineup,?headlined the Pirates’ 10-run win, which also served as the team’s final home game of the year.
His 4-for-4 day at the plate drove in three runs, while Olson also logged his team-leading fifth home run of the year.
Aaron Wendt took the hill for Blue Earth against Minnesota Lake, striking out four over seven innings to earn the victory.
Meanwhile, at the plate, Kane Malo was also perfect in his at-bats, going 2 for 2 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored, while T.J. Schmidtke went 2 for 4, doubling twice, driving in three runs and scoring another two for the Pirates.
Crowned division champions, the Pirates were next scheduled for a Saturday night showdown with the Waterville Indians at John Burch Park in Cannon Falls. Their 7 p.m. bout with Waterville marked the third meeting between the teams of the season.
Before Saturday, the Indians and Pirates had traded wins in their prior matchups. Waterville, seeded No. 4 for the regional tournament, handed Blue Earth its first loss of the season in a 7-6 decision on July 6, while the Pirates retaliated on July 15 with a 5-2 win.
The double-elimination regional bracket will be hosted exclusively in?Cannon Falls with the championship tentatively set for Aug. 14, and the tournament precedes a statewide competition.
“They take three of six teams to the state tournament, which is in Hutchinson and Dassel,” said Pirates player/manager Lee Hodges.
If Blue Earth were to advance, it would be making its 14th consecutive appearance in the state tournament. The Pirates last captured the state title in 2006.