By Adam Holt
National berths will be plentiful in a field already full of qualifiers as the Minnesota Softball Men’s C State Tournament plays Saturday and Sunday at Prairie Island Athletic Complex near Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing.
The top eight finishers without berths advance to USA Softball Men’s C Slow Pitch Nationals Aug. 31-Sept. 3, which will also be played at Prairie Island.
Nine teams in the field already have nationals berths, and with eight more available this weekend, 17 of the 26 teams in the field can play at nationals.
The teams already owning nationals berths include: MN Heat/Gameworks/King of Ram/KeyGuys/Hybrid Nation/Cardinal Bar (Lakeville); Paul Davis Restoration (Otsego); Showbombs/Commercial Systems/Suburban Framing (Woodbury); Silverbacks (St. Paul); Freeway Ford/SBI (Burnsville); B&G Plumbing Heating &AC/Pest Pro II Exterminators (Litchfield); Blueline/Cr’s/Hegarty/Joebuck/Heintz&Clark/Lennox/Bridgetavern (Brooklyn Park); Knutson Construction/Warriors (Welch); and Stagecoach/CA (Albertville).
The field features plenty of teams that fared well in tournaments this season. Stagecoach/CA and Blueline/Cr’s/Hegarty/Joebuck/Heintz&Clark/Lennox/Bridgetavern faced off in the Shakopee Lions C final. Knutson Construction/Warriors was tied for third in the 6’s Wild C division. MN Heat/Gameworks/King of Ram/KeyGuys/Hybrid Nation/Cardinal Bar won the Dakota Days D bracket.
The first-round matchups include: Main Event/Shantytown (Bloomington) vs. Precision Lining/Hodgman Concrete (Waseca), the winner advancing to face Stagecoach/CA; MN Maniax/BSA (St. Paul) vs. MN Heat/Gameworks/King of Ram, the winner facing Paul Davis Restoration; Coors Light/RiverLink Financial (Shakopee) vs. Team Buzzkill/Brainerd Hardwoods (Brainerd), with the winner facing the winner of Lionshare/Greater Than (Houston) and B-52/Hanson/Cro Hall (South St. Paul); Knutson Construction/Warriors vs. Paradis/RDO/ThermoKing (Thief River Falls), the winner moving on to face B&G Plumbing/Pest Pro II; Schmidt Roofing (Eagan) vs. Fairline/Pizza Man/Clark Builders (Coon Rapids), the winner advancing to face Showbombs/Commercial Systems/Suburban Farming; Blueline/CR’s/Hegarty/Joebuck vs. Buffalo House/PBR/The Jack/Cold One (Duluth), with the winner facing the winner of Silverbacks and Klimek Brothers (Alexandria); OSS/State Farm (St. Cloud) vs. Trettin Dairy (New Auburn), the winner facing Freeway Ford/SBI; and A&B Transmissions (Mankato) vs. Dick Raimann Farms/Garage Force/Excel Homes (Eyota), the winner facing The Gringos/Jet Enterprises Wyoming (Climax).
The winners bracket final is set for 12:45 p.m. Sunday, with the championship at 3:15 p.m., and a second championship at 4:30 p.m. if necessary. The losers bracket final is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, the winner moving on to the championship.