EP legion baseball goes 3-2 in first homestand

Jason Olson
Sports Editor

One day after Eden Prairie captured the Class 4A state baseball title, the Eden Prairie Legion baseball team was on the road at Chaska Athletic Park, coming up short against Post 57 by a 5-1 score. That weekend, Eden Prairie traveled to Burnsville’s Alimagnet Field to take part in the Snakepit Tournament earning a 16-9 win over East Ridge before losing to Tri-City Red 7-2 and ended the tournament on a high note, topping Lino Lakes 8-3.

Mitchell Olson took the mound to face Oakdale in the Gopher Classic opener. Eden Prairie came out on top 13-8 but finished pool play with a 3-2 mark to place third. (Sun Current staff photo by Jason Olson)

Eden Prairie hit the road for the annual Fourth of July road trip to Rapid City, South Dakota where they earned a 6-2 record and reached the championship game. Post 22 hosts the Camping World Firecracker Tournament and Eden Prairie came up short against the hosts 10-2 in the final on July 4.

“I thought our guys played really well,” Eden Prairie coach Scott Hackett said. “We were short handed, compared to normal after one guy got sick after a couple games so we were down to 15 guys and in that kind of a tournament it makes it tougher and our regular starters played more than we’d like them to.”

Hackett noted Connor Kehl continued to play well and at one point late in the tournament only got out a couple times.

To get to the championship, Eden Prairie opened with a 1-0 win over Missoula, Montana thanks to a complete game shutout by Torben Urdahl and 12-4 win over Premier West, Colorado thanks to a 12-run third innings that included home runs by Zack Elliott and Connor Young on the opening day.

Eden Prairie used another offensive outburst in a 20-3 win over Yakima, Washington thanks to two home runs from Kehl on June 30 before closing out July 1 with a 5-2 loss to Rocky Mountain, Colorado.

Mitchell Olson pitched 6 2/3 innings to help Eden Prairie top Mountain West, Utah 3-1 which was followed by another outstanding hitting game for Eden Prairie in a 13-8 win over Las Vegas, Nevada Durangos. Will Pahl pitched four innings in the win over Vegas.

Trevor Divinski earned a complete game win, helped Eden Prairie to a 6-1 win over Post 22, snapping the Hardhats 20-game winning streak, in the semifinal round.

“(Divinski) pitched really well, kept them off balanced and had all of his pitches for strikes,” Hackett said.

That transition from the high school state tournament title run to regular season Legion baseball can be a tricky thing to navigate. Hackett added: “That’s always a tough transition for teams to change that mindset a little bit but I think that’s why it is good to get them to Rapid City to get them refocused and back in the swing of things and they definitely played well out there.”

Eden Prairie returned home to Round Lake Stadium for the 2017 Jim Hanus Gopher Classic on Friday which also served as the Legion home opener on July 8.

Eden Prairie was one of 16 sites to host three days of pool play before three championship round games on Monday. The final four played down to a championship game at Veterans Field in Minnetonka on Tuesday afternoon.

Eden Prairie went 3-2 to place third out of six teams at the site. Papillion (Nebraska) went 5-0 with Rapid City in second place with a 4-1 mark.

Eden Prairie opened the tournament with a 12-8 win over Oakdale and closed out Friday’s schedule with a 2-0 win over Grand Rapids.

Rapid City Post 22 beat Eden Prairie for the second time in a week on Saturday, 8-2. The hosts closed out the tournament on Sunday with an 11-3 win over East Grand Forks before losing to Papillion 4-2.

Follow sports editor Jason Olson on Twitter at @SunSportsJason.