By Adam Holt
With just one team pre-qualified for nationals, it should be plenty competitive as squads fight for national tournament berths at the Minnesota Softball Men’s D North state tournament Saturday and Sunday at Centennial Softball Complex in Moorhead.
Only Shadys/Stallions, out of Albany, already qualified for nationals, so the rest of the field of 29 teams looks to be one of the top-four finishers to earn a bid.
Shadys/Stallions finished tied for fifth at the Shakopee Lions D bracket and earned one of three first-round byes for North State. Shadys/Stallions awaits the winner of 1-Dimensional (Little Falls) and BLVD (Moorhead). GAF Sports/WillyMcCoy’s (Bloomington) also has a bye, facing the winner of Northern Invasion/SPG (Elk River) and Brushback Painting (Alexandria). Envy/Morries/VFC/BEB (Minneapolis) is the third team with a bye, awaiting the winner of Lifted/Baker (Columbia Heights) and Sarna’s (Elk River).
The other first-round matchups Saturday morning include: Elite Industries (Brainerd) vs. Mid-Central (Leaf Valley), facing the winner of Swingmen (Nelson) vs. Harold’s Bar (Moorhead); Dab Generals (Aurora) vs. Shep’s/Teehive (Brainerd), facing the winner of Team Lazy Jacks (Park Rapids) vs. River Inn (Rogers); All Over Media (Bemidji) vs. ALM/Pure X Hale (Baxter), facing the winner of 5K Transportatin/TC (Hanover) vs. Pirates (Pierz); MN Militia (Minneapolis) vs. Post 21 (Moorhead) against the winner of J&W Asphalt (Belle Plaine) and Tower Tap/Gampers (Kettle River); and Darrell’s Auto Glass (Bemidji) and Buffalo Wild Wings (Moorhead) against the winner of Horsemen/Remax (St. Michael) and Budweiser/Errico (Thief River Falls).
The winner’s bracket final is 12:30 p.m. Sunday, with the championship to follow at 2:50 p.m., and a second title game at 4 p.m. if necessary. The loser’s bracket final is 1:40 p.m.
The top four finishers without national berths advance to USA Softball Men’s D Slow Pitch Northern Nationals at either Grand Rapids, Mich., or Cape Girardeau, Mo., Aug. 29-Sept. 1.