Cobras, Thunder qualify for state Legion tourney

Burnsville and Eastview earned places in the Minnesota American Legion baseball tournament by winning sub-state tournaments last weekend.

Zach Kadlec pitched a complete game in Eastview’s victory over Northfield in the Sub-State 6 tournament Saturday. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Burnsville (20-9), which won the Sub-State 5 championship at Alimagnet Park, plays Stillwater in a first-round state tourney game at 1 p.m. Friday at Siebert Field. Eastview (21-9), which won six games in a row to win Sub-State 6, faces Spring Lake Park at 10 a.m. Friday at CHS Field. Sixteen teams will play games at four sites in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament. The championship game will be 1 p.m. Monday at CHS Field, with the state champion and runner-up advancing to a regional tournament in Dickinson, N.D.

Legion baseball is for players ages 16-18, many of whom played for their high school varsity teams last spring or will play varsity baseball next spring.

The tournament also includes Eden Prairie, which has some of the same players that won the Class 4A high school championship in June. Eden Prairie was fourth in the final state Legion poll. The highest-ranked team that made it through to state was No. 2 Tri-City Red, which was guaranteed a spot in the tournament as the host squad.

Burnsville went 4-1 in the Sub-State 5 tournament and defeated fifth-ranked Woodbury Blue 6-2 in the championship game Sunday afternoon. Winning pitcher Henry Ristvedt worked the first 7 1/3 innings and also drove in two runs. Andrew Hanson had three hits and Will Bramley drove in two runs.

The Cobras defeated New Prague 17-3, Rosemount 16-2 and Farmington 8-2 in the first three rounds before losing to East Ridge 17-3. Woodbury Blue then beat East Ridge in an elimination game, setting up the game with Burnsville for the sub-state championship.

Hanson had four hits and four RBI in the Cobras’ victory over Rosemount. Ryan Brunner pitched the first seven innings against Farmington, holding the Tigers to one run, while Ristvedt and Sam Schliemann each drove in three runs.

Farmington won its first two games in Sub-State 5 over Lakeville North (5-4) and St. Paul Park (7-3) before losses to Burnsville and Woodbury Blue ended the Tigers’ season. Rosemount went 1-2, dropping its final two games after defeating East Ridge 4-2 in the first round. Lakeville North lost both its games in the Sub-State 5 tourney.

Eastview lost to Eagan 4-3 in the first round of the Sub-State 6 tournament. Then the Thunder’s bats heated up as the team scored 73 runs in its next six games, all victories. Needing to sweep two games Sunday against Prior Lake to win the tournament, the Thunder responded with 35 runs in 20-15 and 15-13 victories.

Kathan Decker had four hits and Zach Kadlec drove in four runs in the tournament-clinching victory. Jack Young had three hits and three RBI, and Logan Tollefson also drove in three runs.

Brady Miller had four hits, five RBI and pitched six innings in the first game against Prior Lake. Young had four hits and Tollefson three RBI for the Thunder, which scored eight runs in the top of the eighth inning to turn an 11-10 lead into a 19-10 lead.

Kadlec pitched a complete game in Eastview’s 11-2 victory over Northfield on Saturday night to send the Thunder to the finals against Prior Lake.

After defeating Eastview in the first round, Eagan lost to Prior Lake and Hastings to drop out of the Sub-State 6 tournament. Lakeville South defeated South St. Paul 10-1 in the first round, but losses to Northfield and Eastview ended South’s season.

Burnsville is making its sixth state tournament appearance. The Cobras finished second in 2013, then went on to win their regional tournament and qualify for the American Legion World Series. Eastview is going to the state tournament for the seventh time in 12 years. The Thunder won the state championship in 2008.