Legion baseball tournament held at Wintercrest
Had the weather held and the scheduled played out as it was intended to, the Sub-State 9 American Legion baseball champion would have been crowned July 27.
As of late last weekend, we knew who it wouldn’t be.
Five the eight teams in the tournament – Spring Lake Park, Andover, Westphal (Armstrong), Ham Lake (Blaine) and Champlin were all eliminated by the weekend.
That left Chester Bird (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), Brooklyn Park (Park Center) and Coon Rapids alive.
Those three teams were supposed to determine a champion July 27. Instead, rain postponed all the games scheduled for the day.
That pushed the finals to July 28, and possibly even July 29. The content of this paper was sent to print before any of it was completed.
“We would have liked to know by now too,” said Brooklyn Park head coach Nathan Johnson. “But we are still playing, so I guess we can’t complain too much.”
Johnson’s team was doing just the opposite in their first two games, which ended in walk-off, 4-3 victories over Ham Lake and Spring Lake Park.
Brooklyn Park advanced into the winner’s bracket semifinals after those to wins, where they fell to Chester Bird 11-1.
That dropped Brooklyn Park into an elimination game with Coon Rapids, which was held after this edition of the paper went to press.
“We wanted to just try and hang around and play as long as we could,” said Johnson. “No matter what happens from here on out, this was a good experience for our team.”
Armstrong was another surprise factor in the tournament.
Westphal opened up a 5-0 lead on Champlin in the opener before eventually succumbing in a 6-5 defeat.
But from there, the team beat Andover 12-11 and Spring Lake Park 18-12 before a 23-17 loss to Coon Rapids ended the year.
Both Nehwon Norkeh and Brady Johnson his a pair of home runs during Armstrong’s stay.
“I was really proud of this team,” said head coach Jimmer Nunn. “We didn’t have much left when it was over, but the guys never gave in. That was good to see, and it is certainly something we can build on heading into next summer.”
Champlin followed its comeback victory over Armstrong with a pair of defeats.
The Rebels lost to Chester Bird 7-1, and then Coon Rapids 4-3.