Lakers take a long road to state

The Minnesota State Amateur Baseball tournament in Chaska and Shakopee is the next stop for the Maple Lake Lakers. It is a long-awaited opportunity for the Lakers since their last state appearance was in 1995, thirteen years ago.

The squad is state-bound as they finished off their Region 8B run in second place, which earned them the number two seed from their region. After picking up a big first-round victory over Hutchinson, the Lakers moved on to the second round where they fell to St. Michael. Coming back through the loser’s bracket, Maple Lake beat Delano in a thrilling game and earned a berth in the state tournament. In the final round of the regional play-offs, the Lakers fell to St. Michael, which left them with the second 8B seed in State.

Maple Lake vs. Hutchinson

In their first game of the second round of Region 8B play-offs, the number four seeded Maple Lake Lakers took on the first seed, Hutchinson on August 6.

With Maple Lake as the visiting team on the scoreboard, they stepped to the plate first. After two straight outs, Todd Fuller recorded the Lakers’ first hit of the game as he cracked a single, but a ground-out would put the Lakers in the field. Chad Raiche took the mound for the Lakers in the bottom of the first and they shut down the Huskies one, two, three.

In the second and third innings both teams exchanged a few hits, but defense prevailed as neither team put a run on the scoreboard.

Things were looking good for the Lakers in the top of the fourth as Fuller and Jerpseth recorded back-to-back singles to start the inning off, but three straight fly-outs left the runners stranded. In the bottom half of the inning, Eric Wurm recorded the first out as he fielded a ground-out at the third base position. Then a Huskie player reached first base as he was hit by the pitch, but he was caught stealing as catcher Cody Decker threw him out. Raiche finished the inning off with a strikeout.

Tyler Decker got the Lakers’ only hit in the fifth inning and he was left stranded at second, but in the bottom of the fifth Hutchinson scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch.

The Lakers didn’t allow Hutchinson to hold the lead long, though, as they scored one run in the top of the sixth. Fuller reached the base paths for the third time of the game with an error to start the inning off, and then Jerpseth drove him in as he ripped a triple. Raiche and company held the Huskies scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, with just one man reaching the base paths with a two-out walk.

With the score all tied up at one apiece, both teams went three-up and three-down in the seventh inning. But the game took a change of pace in the top of the eighth as C. Decker, with Nate Johnson and Jerpseth aboard, crushed a three-run home run. The Lakers took their momentum into the bottom half of the inning and held the Huskies scoreless as Raiche picked up his sixth and seventh strikeout of the game.

It was a one, two, three inning for the Lakers in the top of the ninth, but with the score at 4-1 all they needed to do was maintain their lead in the bottom of the ninth. The first Huskie batter reached on a walk, but the Lakers managed to get him out at second on a fielder’s choice. Raiche recorded the second out of the inning as he took matters into his own hands and got the strikeout. Then, Jerpseth recorded the final, game-winning out as he caught a line-drive in the first base position.


C. Raiche – 5 – –

N. Johnson 1 4 1 –

T. Fuller 3 4 1 –

K. Jerpseth 2 4 – 1

R. Decker – – 1 –

C. Decker 1 4 1 3

M. Johnson 1 4 – –

M. Zahn – 4 – –

B. Fobbe – 4 – –

T. Decker 2 4 – –

Maple Lake vs. St. Michael

After picking up a victory over Hutchinson in the second round of playoffs, the Lakers needed just one more win to advance on to the state tournament. However, Maple Lake failed to win their bid to state on Friday, August 10, against the St. Michael Saints.

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