The Region 7C tournament is always a special time for baseball fans around the area. With eight of the top teams vying for one of four spots in the state tournament, you never know what might happen.
Last year, we saw the eighth-seeded Brownton Bruins upset the top-seeded Plato Bluejays in the first round. That upset setup one of the most intriguing state qualifier games in sometime, between Plato and Green Isle.
This year, we saw the Young America Cardinals rally for three runs in the top of the ninth inning and knock off the second-seeded Waconia Lakers, clinching their first state tournament appearance since 2012.
That four-year absence was nothing compared to what the Carver Black Sox accomplished, though. After missing the tournament for 34 straight years, the Black Sox finally broke through with a 6-0 win against the Watertown Red Devils, to punch their ticket to the state tournament.
Not only did fans see some great games and incredible performances, they also got to witness all of that in two pretty awesome locations.
New Germany was the main site for the Region 7C tournament this year. By not having lights for the night games during the week, the Dutchmen called on the Waconia Lakers for some help.
With New Germany and Waconia being the hosts, it gave fans two different sides to the state of amateur baseball in Minnesota.
In New Germany, fans were treated to an old ballpark that has been a staple in the community since 1955. It may not be the prettiest ballpark to look at it, but there’s plenty of history and things to love about the home of the Dutchmen.
Eric Roepke, the son of hall of famer Gerald “Beans” Roepke, did an incredible job of getting the field ready in New Germany for the tournament. With not much time to get things ready for the tournament, Roepke did a fantastic job getting the field ready for the busiest time of the year. Oh, and he also did a great job of getting the softball fields ready for the firemens tournament that was going on in town, as well.
Not only was the field in great shape and ready to go, the volunteers and all of those involved also delivered with a great concession stand. Between the burgers, cheese curds, fries, cold beer, and other snacks, fans had all they could hope for while taking in a great ball game.
With just one little grandstand and some small bleachers normally, the Dutchmen took out all the stops. The Dutchmen brought in the football bleachers from Mayer Lutheran High School, and gave fans plenty of choices of where to sit to take in the game.
It’s safe to say, the New Germany Dutchmen and their volunteers didn’t disappoint as hosts, and breaking a new attendance record proves it. Last year, Region 7C set a new attendance record with 2,707. This year, Region 7C added another 151 to that record, making the new record 2,858. They also set the single-day attendance record with 610, as well.
The New Germany Dutchmen couldn’t have done it alone though, and that’s what made this year’s tournament so special. The Waconia Lakers, who host one of the newest, and perhaps the best, grandstands in the state were the co-hosts.
The Waconia Baseball Association did a marvelous job in getting a brand new grandstand to accompany a gorgeous field at Lions Field.
Not only did Waconia offer a special grandstand with a gorgeous field, they also knocked the concessions out of the park. Burgers? Check. Pulled pork? Check. Pulled pork on a burger? Check.
From one ballpark to another. Fans were treated to a great experience, as that’s just one of many reasons Region 7C broke their own attendance record for the second-straight year.
From the history of New Germany, to the modern beauty of Waconia, the Dutchmen and the Lakers were a perfect pair to host the Region 7C tournament.
Two towns, two ballparks, numerous volunteers, and endless memories for fans, players, and everyone who attended.