By Matt Kane
Delano and Howard Lake both punched their tickets to the Class C State Amateur Baseball Tournament last weekend by winning their first two games of the Region 12C tournament.
Delano opened with a 10-3 win over Loretto Aug. 7 in the opening round and then took care of Maple Plain 7-2 Aug. 8.
Howard Lake defeated Cokato 2-0 Aug. 7 and sent Hutchinson to the elimination bracket with a 4-3 win Aug. 8.
Delano and Howard Lake play each other Friday, Aug. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at Delano Municipal Ball Park. The winner of this game moves on to the championship game Sunday, Aug. 16, at 1 p.m. The loser will play Saturday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m. against a to-be-determined opponent.
The surprise of the tournament and maybe all region tournaments in the state is the two-and-out by top-seeded and highly state-ranked Maple Lake. The Lakers lost their only two games of the tournament by a combined score of 11-0.
Maple Plain, which had to win the play-in tournament to be the No. 8 seed, shut out the Lakers 8-0 Aug. 5. Loretto, a day after the first round loss to Delano, used extra innings to defeat Maple Lake 3-0 Aug. 9.
The other first-round game saw Hutchinson defeat Mound 4-1 Aug. 7.
Mound rebounded with a 2-1 win over Cokato Aug. 9 in the first round of the elimination bracket.
This week’s games start in that elimination bracket. Wednesday, Hutchinson and Loretto play at 7:30 p.m. Mound and Maple Plain play each other Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The losers of those two games are eliminated. The winners both qualify for the state tournament and advance on to play each other Saturday, Aug. 15, at 4 p.m. The loser of that game is the No. 4 seed.
The winner moves on to play the loser of the Delano/Howard Lake game Saturday at 7 p.m. The loser of this game is the No. 3 seed.
The two teams without two losses play Sunday at 1 p.m. to determine the region’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the state tournament.
The Class C state tournament begins Friday, Aug. 21 and concludes Monday, Sept. 7. All games are in Cold Spring and Watkins.
Region 12C state tournament schedule:12D vs. 11B, Aug. 21, Watkins, 7:30 p.m.
12B vs. 2C, Aug. 22, Watkins, 1:30 p.m.
12C vs. 16B Sunday, Aug. 23, Cold Spring, 2:30 p.m.
12A vs. 13B/8C, Aug. 29, Cold Spring, 7:30 p.m.