--by Nick Gerhardt, freelance writer
Three state tournaments with national tournament berths on the line are set for this weekend across Minnesota. The weekend is expected to bring plenty of excitement via lots of action on the field.
A total of 32 teams will compete in the Men’s Class D South Slow Pitch State Tournament at North Alexander Park in Faribault, while the Men’s Class C Slow Pitch and Men’s Open Slow Pitch State Tournaments will take place at Tahpah Park in Shakopee. A total of 27 teams are playing in the Men’s C Slow Pitch State Tournament, with another 13 teams competing in the Men’s Open State Tournament.
The state champion in Men’s C will get a berth to nationals in Oklahoma City on Sept. 2-4, while the Men’s D champion will compete in nationals at Treasure Island in Red Wing Sept. 2-5.
USA Softball Minnesota Commissioner Dan Pfeffer expects plenty of high-scoring games in the Men’s Open State Tournament, where teams routinely score 20 or more runs. Last year All Season/DSTI beat Bud/Promolink, 41-33. BBS/Mr. D's/Rip City went on to win the tournament with a 5-1 record.
“The scores will be really high,” Pfeffer said. “We might be there really late on Sunday night.”
Royal Pains from Sauk Rapids, last year’s Men’s D Northern state champs, will also be at this year’s Men’s Open State Tournament. OC from Des Moines, Iowa, and All American Restoration/UNRL/Monsta from Champlin, are among the other contenders.
The home-run limit in Men's Open Slow Pitch will be six per team per game.
Bryan Rock won last year’s Men’s C state title over MN Maniax. MN Outkast, which is back again this year, finished tied for fifth. The home-run limit in Men's C Slow Pitch will be four per team per game.
Down in Faribault the Men’s D South Slow Pitch state title will be decided and there will be a premium on defense, with a two home-run limit for each team.
“I don’t know if there’s a real favorite,” Pfeffer said. “Michelob Golden Draft Light is coming off a good Firemen’s (Tournament, in Bloomington). There are a lot of really good young teams down there. Runs are sometimes hard to come by.”
Clobes Sanitation won last year’s Men’s D South state title, with Precision Lining and Sewer finishing as runner-up.
“I just put the best product out there,” Pfeffer said. “We just put the best show out there that can.”