Friday, July 30, 2010

Section 5B Playoffs - seedings, match-ups and preview

The Section 5B amateur baseball playoffs (featuring Elko - of the DRS - and the six Cannon Valley League teams) begin this Sunday at Burnsville’s Alimagnet Park with the seedings as follows:

1-seed: Savage Outlaws
2-seed: Burnsville Bobcats
3-seed: Elko Express
4-seed: Rosemount Black Sox
5-seed: Eagan Bandits
6-seed: Lakeville Athletics
7-seed: Inver Grove Heights Diamond Kings

The top-seeded Outlaws (13-4 CVL, 29-8 overall) have earned a bye past the first round and thus will not play until Sunday, August 8.The first round will be played from Sunday through Tuesday (Wednesday, if necessary) at Alimagnet on either Field 1 or 2.

Here are the match-ups:

Sunday, Aug. 1
4:30 p.m. 2 #7 IGH vs. #2 Burnsville
6:00 p.m. 1 #6 Lakeville vs. #3 Elko
7:30 p.m. 2 #5 Eagan vs. #4 Rosemount

Monday, Aug. 2
7:30 p.m. 2 #3 Elko vs. #6 Lakeville
7:30 p.m. 1 #5 Eagan vs. #4 Rosemount

Tuesday, Aug. 3
7:30 p.m. 1 #2 Burnsville vs. #7 IGH

Wednesday, Aug. 4
7:30 p.m. TBD TBD vs. TBD

Each first-round match-up will be a best-of-three series. If a series goes to three games, the third will be played 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Alimagnet. However, if all three series happen to go to three games, a second site will be determined on Tuesday.

The second round of the playoffs will be played at Frederickson Field in Elko from Sunday, Aug. 8 through Thursday, Aug. 12.

Playoff Preview:

Savage will undoubtedly be the favorites. The Outlaws are battle tested, having played 37 games this season, and are coming off a 2009 season that lasted into early September and a 5th place finish in the Class B State Tournament.

Manager Travis Peterson has a plethora of pitching talent, as well as a potent offense, on his Savage team roster.

Burnsville could easily offer them a battle, however, as Savage’s bitter rival finished their Cannon Valley schedule with a solid 12-5 record and beat the Outlaws two games to one in their head-to-head match-ups.
While Savage and Burnsville are certainly the top to powers of the CVL, any of the four mid-tier teams could definitely rise up and challenge them.

Elko actually would have nipped the Bobcats for the 2-seed were it not for Burnsville’s big 3-2 win over Savage on Thursday night. However, at 8-4 against CVL teams, Elko has not played CVL competition as much as Burnsville and Savage and that experience may give those teams an edge. Although, the Express have been able to beat both the Bobcats and Outlaws one time apiece this season and are certainly worthy adversaries.

Following Elko is Rosemount and Eagan, at 10-7 and 9-8, respectively, in CVL action this season.

The Black Sox had a rough patch toward the end of its season - losing five of six games from June 27 through July 16 - but rebounded to win two of its last three games, including a 9-6 win at Burnsville.

Eagan had been getting hot toward the end of its season, winning road games at Rosemount and Lakeville on July 24 and 26, but the Bandits fell in its final CVL home game against the Athletics - losing 3-2.

Conversely, the win for Lakeville at Eagan may have given the team new life. The six-seed Athletics had an encouraging 9-1 non-conference win at Northfield on July 21, but fell in their following two home games (10-1 and 7-2 losses to league foes Burnsville and Eagan). So, as they now enter the playoffs on a key win, don’t sleep on the Athletics as their season finale win at Goat Hill Park has their confidence on high.Finally, the seventh-seeded IGH Diamond Kings. The second-year squad has had a difficult season but found some signs of team pride in its gutty effort at Savage on July 26. Yes, the Outlaws eventually won 11-4, but the DKs fought tough throughout and actually out-hit Savage 6-5 entering the eighth inning. Considering they suffered losses by 23 and 18 runs to Savage earlier this season, their effort on Monday was a step in the right direction for a young team growing and developing with one another.

A lot of opportunities, dreams, and hopes will be on the line as some highly competitive baseball takes place this week in the 2010 Section 5B playoffs.

Six teams begin their post-season journey on Sunday as the Bobcats and Diamond Kings start things off with a scheduled first pitch of 4:30 p.m. on Alimagnet's Field 2.

Let’s hope for some good weather, great baseball, and ... may the best team win.

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