Notebook: largest Legion baseball tourney keeps growing
Several local sites will have Gopher Classic games
The largest American Legion baseball tournament in the country just got bigger, and a number of teams from Dakota County will be involved.
Play begins July 13 at the Jim Hanus Gopher Classic, which this year expands from 66 teams to 84. Teams are coming from 10 states and three Canadian provinces, and seven of them – Apple Valley, Eastview, Burnsville, Lakeville North, Lakeville South, Eagan and Rosemount – are from Dakota County.
Pool play games are scheduled for July 13-15 at 14 sites throughout the metro area including Legion Field in Apple Valley, Alimagnet Park in Burnsville, Fredrickson Field in Elko, and Eagan High School. Five games are scheduled per day at each site from Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15. A full schedule is available at www.tricitybaseball.org/gopherclassic.htm.
After pool play, 14 bracket champions and two runners-up enter a single-elimination tournament to decide the champion. Those games will be July 16-17, with the championship game scheduled for 2 p.m. July 17 at Veterans Field in Minnetonka.
Coon Rapids defeated Eastview 7-5 in last year’s Gopher Classic championship game. Coon Rapids is back to defend its title.
Eastview has many of the same players that won the state high school Class AAA championship last month. Also in the Gopher Classic field is Bemidji, which lost 1-0 to Eastview in the high school Class AAA title game.
On the subject of big, the largest youth soccer tournament in North America, the USA Cup, begins July 13 at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
It’s actually two tournaments – a weekend event that runs July 13-15 and the weeklong event that is scheduled July 17-21. A number of local teams are expected to participate. Tournament schedules and other information are available at www.usacup.org.
Mark Dolenc’s professional baseball career stalled when the Eagan High School graduate was released last month by the Minnesota Twins. He had been playing with the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins’ Class AA affiliate. The move coincided with the major league team promoting Oswaldo Arcia, one of the top-rated prospects in the organization, to New Britain.
Dolenc, 27, played parts of three seasons in New Britain. He batted .251 with 11 homers and 100 RBI in 294 career games there, but he was hitting .168 in 46 games this season before being released. He played college baseball at Minnesota State, Mankato.