Division I state tournament
Game 1: Brainerd vs. North St. Paul, 11 a.m., Legion Field, Marshall
Game 2: Hopkins vs. Marshall, 1:30 p.m., Legion Field, Marshall
Game 3: Chaska vs. Richfield, 10 a.m., Southwest State University, Marshall
Game 4: Northfield vs. New Brighton Tri-City Red, 12:30 p.m., SWSU
Game 5: East Grand Forks vs. Excelsior, 11 a.m., Granite Falls
Game 6: Apple Valley vs. Hermantown, 1:30 p.m., Granite Falls
Game 7: Coon Rapids vs. New Ulm Gold, 11 a.m., Milroy
Game 8: Rochester A's vs. Alexandria, 1:30 p.m., Milroy
Game 9: Loser Game 1 vs. loser Game 2, 4:30 p.m., Legion Field
Game 10: Winner Game 1 vs. winner Game 2, 7 p.m., Marshall
Game 11: Loser Game 3 vs. loser Game 4, 3:30 p.m., SWSU
Game 12: Winner Game 3 vs. winner Game 4, 6 p.m., SWSU
Game 13: Loser Game 5 vs. loser Game 6, 4:30 p.m., Granite Falls
Game 14: Winner 5 vs. winner Game 6, 7 p.m., Granite Falls
Game 15: Loser Game 7 vs. loser Game 8, 4:30 p.m., Milroy
Game 16: Winner Game 7 vs. winner Game 8, 7 p.m., Milroy
BYLINE1:By MIKE BIALKA
If pitching depth is what it takes to win a championship, the Brainerd American Legion baseball team should be one of the favorites in the Division I state tournament Thursday through Sunday at Marshall, Granite Falls and Milroy.
Eleventh-ranked Brainerd, which opens 11 a.m. Thursday against No. 2 North St. Paul at Legion Field in Marshall, has six capable pitchers from which to choose.
Chad Weiss is 7-0 with a 1.68 ERA, Drew Boland is 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA, Kevin Mertens 5-2 and 2.37, Aaron Jenkins 1-0 and 1.70, Ryan Browning 2-0 and 0.36 and Joey Tautges 3-0 and 1.40.
"You saw that the celebration wasn't as great," Brainerd coach Paul Jenkins said Monday after his team defeated Sauk Rapids 6-0 for its first District 6 title since 1995. "The kids have their goals set a little bit higher.
"With our pitching and hitting, and the way our defense looked (Monday), we've got as good of a chance as anybody to win it down there. It doesn't matter if we get in the winners' bracket or losers' bracket. We've got enough pitching to come back."
Brainerd also has enough hitting to contend for the championship.
Tautges leads Brainerd at the plate with a .456 average and team highs of 19 RBI, 10 doubles, 26 runs and 26 hits.
Other top hitters include Boland .406, Brad Gangestad .370 with 14 RBI and five doubles, Mark Germain .361, Chris Klabo .348 with 18 RBI, Fred Weiss .343 with six doubles, Browning .333, Chad Weiss .317 with 26 runs and 26 hits and Mertens .307 with three home runs.
Brainerd has romped to a 25-5 record and consists primarily of players who will be seniors this fall. Most were members of the Brainerd High School team last spring that lost early in the North Subsection 8, Class 3A tournament.
"It was pretty disappointing," Boland said of missing the state high school tournament. "I felt bad for the seniors. But a lot of us are coming back next year. Hopefully, we will be able to get there next year."
* Brainerd hopes this state trip is as productive as its last. In 1995, it finished third, defeating Rosetown 4-3, lost to Osseo 5-3, beat Cloquet 12-1 and Rochester 4-0 before being eliminated by Osseo 7-3.
* Other ranked teams in the field include Excelsior (No. 1), Apple Valley (3), New Ulm Gold (4), Tri-City Red (5), Coon Rapids (6), Rochester A's (7), Alexandria (8), Northfield (10), East Grand Forks (12), Hermantown (15) and Hopkins (17).
* Coon Rapids is the defending champion and the runner-up was New Ulm Gold.
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