Lakers start State Tournament play Friday


The Maple Lake Lakers start their fourth-straight Minnesota State Class C Tournament at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Jordan.  
The Lakers had the week off thanks to a first-round bye but now face the Sobieski Skis, a game that several commentators described as an early “dream matchup.” Sobieski beat the Hanska Lakers 2-0 on Sunday thanks to a nine-inning shutout by Tyler Jendro to make it to the second round.  
Maple Lake players and fans probably remember Sobieski from the quarterfinals of the 2012 State Tournament, a 3-1 Laker victory. Reports say the Skis will be a tough opponent this year, especially if Jendro is able to pitch again Friday.  
The Lakers spent their time off throwing bullpens and taking grounders. Player-manager Chad Raiche has preached the importance of good pitching and solid defense all year, a message the Lakers have executed with great results. Raiche noted that practice is tough to schedule during the regular season but is critical to staying sharp for the tournament.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.