--by Brett Kruschke
The Tigers have provided a load of postseason excitement over the last 30 years; in fact, one might say that has been the norm. The 2021 campaign, however, wasn’t one of those, as a pair of lopsided losses in the Region 6C Tournament brought the year to a finish.
After allowing a 13-run inning in a 16-2 loss at St. Clair on August 1, the Tigers had to reel off a string of victories starting with Minnesota Lake on Saturday. While BP carried a 1-0 lead into the fifth, things again unraveled.
The final record for Team Tigertown is 7-18, with a 1-7 mark in RVL regular-season play. After a season that started late in 2020, 2021 was a season that never really got going, from a Tiger perspective.
A pair of two-game winning streaks – on June 19-20 at the Miller Lite Invite over Chokio and Hamburg, and consecutive triumphs over Gaylord and Veseli on June 30 and July 7 – was as much as the locals could muster. The Tigers’ other wins came against the Shakopee Coyotes, Webster and St. Peter.
While disappointment rules the moment, hope will spring eternal once the calendar flips to a new year. Surely better days are ahead.
Bookmark bptigertown.com for your offseason hunger pangs and be sure to take in a state tournament game at Waconia, Chaska or Hamburg. We’ll see you next season at the ballpark!
BP 1 @ Minnesota Lake 8 (Saturday, August 7 – Region 6C Tournament)
As the Tigers did at St. Clair one weekend before, they got off to a good start by taking an early lead. Tyler O’Brien opened the game with a double, was bunted to third base by Carsen Ladd and one batter later, he came around to score on a single from Josh Terrio.
Terrio helped himself, as he received the pitching nod from manager Matt Ruehling. (Little did he know the Tiger hitters would collect just one more safety the rest of the day.) The right-hander stranded a pair of runners in the second and third innings but after four frames, Team Tigertown clung to a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Terrio started the home-half with his fifth strikeout. The No. 9 hitter delivered the first of three straight singles, however, and before long the Tigers trailed, 3-1.
Brody Curtiss doubled to lead off the Tiger sixth, but he advanced no further. In the bottom half of the inning, the Royals kept their previous momentum going and grabbed another three runs.
Terrio finished the inning before turning things over to Colton Kerkow in the seventh, when the hosts tabbed on two more runs for what proved to be the final margin of victory.
--by Brett Kruschke
The Town Tigers hung around early at St. Clair on Sunday, carrying a 2-1 lead to the fourth inning before giving up 15 unanswered runs – including a painful 13 runs in the sixth inning. The No. 13-seed Tigers ultimately fell to No. 3-seed St. Clair, 16-2, in seven innings.
The setback means that the Tigertown Express will play an elimination game at Minnesota Lake at 6 pm Saturday. The Tigers will have to win that game – plus four more – in order to advance to the state tournament at the plush grounds of Waconia, Chaska and Hamburg.
If the Tigers beat Minnesota Lake, they will play again on Sunday at Arlington or Waterville. Should the Tigers win that one, any remaining games will take place on the following weekend.
Track the Tigers for scoring updates at twitter.com/bptigertown, and pop in also at facebook.com/bptigertown and bptigertown.com.
BP 2 @ St. Clair 16 (Sunday, August 1 – Region 6C Tournament)
Jake Mercado got the playoff nod on the hill and after 2 1/2 innings, things were scoreless with the Tigers collecting the game’s only hit. The Wood Ducks struck first with a run in the third, but Belle Plaine shot back in the fourth with RBI singles from Josh Terrio and Garrett Boblitt for a 2-1 lead.
The Woodies didn’t let that taste linger, soon benefitting from two BP errors to take a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning that they wouldn’t relinquish. With the score still 3-2 in the sixth inning, Mercado got just one more out before a bloop and a blast chased him, pushing the score to 6-2.
A string of Tiger relievers only seemed to pour gas on the fire, and when the elusive third out was finally secured, the Wood Ducks had hung the crookedest of numbers – an unlucky 13 spot – on the board.
Aside from Terrio and Boblitt’s RBI safeties,
Carsen Ladd contributed a pair of singles.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
After enduring one of their toughest regular seasons in memory, the Town Team Tigers (7-16, 1-7 RVL) will look to tip the apple cart when the Region 6C playoffs begin on Sunday. Among the 16 teams in Region 6C, the Tigers are the No. 13 seed and will play at St. Clair, the tourney’s No. 3 seed from the 13-60 League, at 2 pm.
The Tigers and Wood Ducks have met once before – a 12-2 Tiger win behind pitcher Wes Sarsland in the Region 6C Tourney on August 3, 2019. That was St. Clair’s first season as a team, but the upstart program has gotten good quickly and this season, it has already logged 19 wins.
For all the remaining games of the tournament – except its final day, on Saturday, Aug. 14 when Arlington will host all four games – the high seed will be the host team. That means Tiger fans will likely need to hit the road to keep up with their local favorites.
Belle Plaine’s following game will take place on Saturday, Aug. 7, at either Waseca or Minnesota Lake. The game time is yet to be determined. Please see the accompanying bracket for further scenarios.
The Tiger Train played a pair of RVL games last weekend, absorbing yet another beating at Jordan, 16-1 on Friday, before shaving St. Peter, 2-1, at home on Sunday.
Stay plugged in at bptigertown.com and the social media channels, bptigertown on Facebook and Twitter.
Tigers 1 @ Jordan 16 (7 innings – Friday, July 23)
There was exactly one reportable highlight from Friday’s game at perennial power Jordan, and that was Jake Mercado’s RBI single giving Belle Plaine a 1-0 lead in the first inning. However good that may have felt, it dissipated quickly as the Brewers – and specifically, long-time scoreboard operator Jay – hung a 10-spot in the home half of the inning. Game, set, match.
Tiger pitching posted zeroes for the next three frames, but the Brew Crew posted two runs in the fifth inning and four more in the sixth to salt things away. Three outs later, the 10-run rule ended the game early.
Rookie Lucas O’Brien fared relatively well on the hill for Team Tigertown, working 3.2 innings with three earned runs and a pair of strikeouts. Four Tiger errors on the evening certainly didn’t help the cause, as Jordan finished with 16 runs on half as many hits.
Aside from Mercado’s RBI hit, Tyler O’Brien (a double) and Brody Curtiss collected BP’s other safeties.
St. Peter 1 @ BP 2 (Sunday, July 25)
St. Peter was one of a handful of Minnesota Baseball Association teams that have been suspended by the state board for a roster snafu of some form or another, but credit to the Saints, they completed their schedule and drove to Belle Plaine for the regular-season finale. And the contest proved to be a well-played one, to boot.
Josh Terrio got the starting nod for El Tigre and was in fine form as was necessary, as neither team scratched the plate through four innings. When St. Peter scored a run in the fifth, Belle Plaine answered immediately thanks to RBI singles from Mercado and Terrio.
Terrio worked six innings before turning a 2-1 lead over to Tyler O’Brien. The Tigers’ primary center fielder kept the pedal down, earning his first career town-team save with three innings of shutout ball.
O’Brien struck out a pair of Saints and also notched a pair of hits, including a double. Rookie Jake Brandenburg also had multiple knocks, grabbing a double and an RBI.
--by Brett Kruschke
The Tigers went undefeated over the past week but also saw no action – what with Bar-B-Q Days, and all – but they are rip-roarin’ ready to finish out the regular season this weekend with a pair of RVL games.
On Friday, the Tigers and not one, but two umpires will be in Jordan for a 7:30 pm contest at the Mini Met. Sunday at 2 pm will be Fan Appreciation Day against the St. Peter Saints, and it will also be The Lutheran Home Association Day and Senior Citizens Day. There will be giveaways galore, with all senior citizens receiving free admission.
Long-time fans will be remiss to find out that Ernie Stumpf will not be bringing his musical charms to this year’s finale, but we certainly hope to have him back next year!
The Tigers will begin Region 6C Tournament play on Sunday, August 1, on the road, as the RVL’s No. 5 seed. Look for full details in next week’s Herald, or find them sooner via the Tiger media channels: bptigertown.com and the same handles on those bastions of free speech, Facebook and Twitter.
--by Brett Kruschke
The Tigers began the season’s home stretch with a comeback victory over Veseli last Wednesday, rallying for three runs in the seventh inning of a 3-2 win. Belle Plaine was stomped by St. Peter on Friday night, losing by the 10-run rule, before falling in the final inning of Sunday’s game at Arlington.
Thursday night’s game at New Ulm has been cancelled, we’re sorry to report, as the Tigers won’t have enough players available. Next up was to be Fan Appreciation Night against Carver on Tuesday (July 20), but the Black Sox needed to cancel that game as well, due to the requirement of playing a league make-up game and having no other fitting options.
That means just two games remain on the regular-season schedule for the Tigers (6-15, 1-7): July 23 at Jordan and July 25 at home against St. Peter, which will be the new Fan Appreciation date.
Stay up to date at bptigertown.com and the social media channels on Facebook and Twitter (at bptigertown). Happy Bar-B-Q Days – we’ll see you at the cat racks!
Veseli 2 @ BP 3 (Wednesday, July 7)
Jared Miller got the start on the hill for the Tigers, which was a pleasant surprise as he had been out all season due to a serious shoulder injury. Miller worked two innings before departing, but not before Veseli scored a pair of runs on a two-out infield throwing error.
Garrett Boblitt relieved Miller and kept the Warriors at bay, escaping early trouble before really settling down nicely. The Tiger bats couldn’t break through, however, stranding eight baserunners through the first four innings.
The frustrations continued in the sixth inning, which ended when Tyler O’Brien lined out to third base to strand two more runners. The Tigers finally broke through in the seventh when rookie Jake Brandenburg delivered an RBI single. The next batter, Jake Mercado, came through with a two-run single, giving BP a 3-2 lead that held up.
Boblitt went the rest of the way for El Tigretown, tossing seven shutout innings in relief to pick up his second victory of the season. He finished with five strikeouts, stranding two men on base in the ninth.
Carsen Ladd and Brody Curtiss led the Tiger attack with two hits apiece.
BP 1 @ St. Peter 11 (Friday, July 9 – 7 innings)
The town Tigers entered Friday’s game at St. Peter with wins in four of their last six contests, hoping to build on that momentum and right their remorseful record in RVL play. Instead, our boys endured their second 10-run loss of the season in a St. Peter smackdown.
Mercado chucked the first four innings, striking out three batters before eventually getting tagged with the loss. Rookie Lucas O’Brien and veteran Chase Emmers finished up on the hill, but it turned out more like Hamburger Hill.
Tyler O’Brien and Mercado both belted a double, while Colton Kerkow and rookie Cade Morrison collected Belle Plaine’s other hits.
BP 2 @ Arlington 3 (Sunday, July 11)
Even in the days of the internet machine, communication can prove lacking more often than you might imagine. But we’ll slap together for you what we know.
Arlington got on the board first, plating a run in the third off Kerkow, the Tiger hurler. Town Tigros got it back in their next at-bat thanks to an RBI single from Mercado.
The A’s scored the go-ahead run in the 7th, but once again, the Tigers answered immediately to knot the score at 2.
With Tyler O’Brien working his second inning of relief and the score still tied at 2 in the bottom of the 9th, Arlington coaxed a leadoff walk and then sacrificed the runner to second base. Another bunt turned into a Tiger throwing error that let the winning run come in.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
It took until the last day of June, but the Tigers finally picked up their first RVL win of the season last week by outlasting Gaylord in a slugfest/slopfest, 15-9. Belle Plaine is still looking upwards in the standings but as winners of three of its last five games, it will try to carry that momentum into July.
After taking off the Independence Day holiday extend-a-weekend, play resumes tonight when Veseli of the Dakota-Scott-Rice League pay a visit at 7:30 pm. The Tigers haven’t hosted the Warriors since 2010.
The Tigertown Express will then hit the road this weekend for a pair of RVL contests: Friday at St. Peter (7:30 pm) and Sunday at Arlington (6 pm). Get game updates at twitter.com/bptigertown and facebook.com/bptigertown, as well as the home base, bptigertown.com.
Gaylord 9 @ BP 15 (Wednesday, June 30)
Jack Kruger took the mound against Gaylord, but the guests got off to a fast start with five of the first six men reaching base. With help from some sloppy Tiger defense, the Islanders had a three-run lead before the Tigers knew what hit them. The T-Train responded quickly, however, with a two-run single from Jake Brandenburg in the first inning followed by a two-run single from Brody Curtiss in the second.
Kruger settled down thereafter, and he didn’t let an Islander reach second base over his next four frames. The Tigers batted around in the fifth, scoring six runs – including a bases loaded, bases-clearing double by Curtiss.
Gaylord stayed in the game with a big inning of their own, plating seven runs on just two hits. As you might have guessed, the rally was spurred by four walks, three wild pitches and a pair of errors. The Tigers added four insurance runs in the eighth inning, however, to help salt things away.
Kruger got the win by going five innings, with two earned runs with two punchouts. Offensively, Curtiss lead the way with three hits and five RBI. Brandenburg had three hits and three RBI, while Tyler O’Brien had three hits and drove in two.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
The town-team Tigers headed for Hinckley last weekend and the Hinckley Invitational Tournament – the team’s third straight weekend playing in a playoff. Unlike the first two tourneys, the Tigers came up empty, going 0-2 in a pair of competitive contests.
Friday was “Tommy Miller Night,” as the former Tiger was inducted into the Hinckley Hall of Fame. Miller’s favorite town teams waged battle, with Hinckley holding on for a 2-1 win – Belle Plaine’s third one-run loss of the season. After a day off to round up the troops, El Tigre fell 4-2 on Sunday to Spring Hill, losing in the final frame.
The local nine will take their 4-13, 0-5 (RVL) record into tonight’s “Return to the RVL” contest, when the Gaylord Islanders visit Tiger Park at 7:30 pm. Gaylord won the first matchup this season, 4-2, on May 23. Tonight’s promotion is Belle Plaine Community Education / Little League Night. All Little Leaguers are invited to wear their uniforms to the game, chase foul balls, and get a free hot dog at the concession stand!
The Tigers will be off during the Independence Day holiday weekend, returning to play when they host Veseli on Wednesday, July 7.
BP 1 @ Hinckley 2 (Friday, June 25 – Hinckley Invitational Tournament – 7 innings)
Hinckley’s first two batters of the game crossed the plate, putting a smattering of Tiger fans on edge and pitcher Josh Terrio on the ropes early. The 15-year veteran settled in quickly after that, however, and was nails for the rest of the game. In going the distance, Terrio didn’t allow a baserunner past second base once the first inning was complete.
The Tiger bats were quiet for the first half of the game, finally pushing a run across in the fifth. After stranding runners in the sixth inning, BP started the seventh with two runners on and nobody out. After a strikeout during a sacrifice-bunt attempt, a wild pitch got the job done and put runners at second and third with one out, trailing by a run.
That’s when Knights pitcher Cory Schmidt decided to put his foot down, registering two more strikeouts to set down the side and preserve the 2-1 victory. Both teams finished with five hits.
BP 2 vs. Spring Hill 4 @ Hinckley (Sunday, June 27 – Hinckley Invitational Tournament – 7 innings)
The Tigers faced off on Sunday morning against the Spring Hill Chargers, members of the Stearns Country League. Rookie Dylan O’Brien got the ball from manager Matt Ruehling and showed well, working into the 7th.
Tied 2-2 into the 7th, O’Brien left a few men on base before giving way to fellow right-hander Colton Kerkow. The Chargers burst the Tigers bubble when they delivered a two-out, two-run single for the final margin of victory. The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the home half of the 7th.
Brody Curtiss led the way offensively with a pair of hits. Jack Kruger contributed an RBI double, while Jon Schmidt had an RBI single.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
Your local ballfield warriors, the Belle Plaine Tigers, ventured to Green Isle and Hamburg for the Miller Lite Invite Tournament. The hometowners started the weekend by hanging around before getting dismissed by a very good Isanti team. The Tigers roared back by winning their next two games, though, outscoring their foes (Chokio and Hamburg), 25-5, over 11 innings of play.
The Tigers will play in a tournament for the third straight weekend starting on Friday, joining the Hinckley Invitational Tournament for the first time. Before Friday’s 8 pm game against the host Knights, there will be a pregame ceremony honoring former Tiger town team Tommy Miller, who is entering the Hinckley Hall of Fame.
With a win, the Tiger Train will play next on Saturday at 8 pm, against the winner of Spring Hill and Maple Plain. With a loss, they will face the loser of that contest at 10:30 am Sunday. With a win in either of their first two affairs, the Tigers will play a third game, at 1 pm, 3:30 pm or 6 pm on Sunday. Follow twitter.com/bptigertown for developments.
Looking ahead, the Tigers will return to RVL action a week from today (Wednesday, June 30) when they host Gaylord at 7:30 pm on Belle Plaine Community Education / Little League Night.
BP 3 vs. Isanti 9 at Green Isle (Saturday, June 19 – 7 innings – Miller Lite Invite Tournament)
The Tigers started slowly in the Miller Light Invitational Tournament, with both of Saturday’s games played at Irish Yard in Green Isle.
The Isanti Redbirds jumped on the Tigers in the second inning, capitalizing on two errors to score five runs. Colton Kerkow battled on the mound and kept Belle Plaine in the game. Isanti scored a run in the 5th to stretch it to a six-run cushion.
The Tigers had five straight batters reach in the sixth to plate three runs. That was the offensive highlights for the Tigers, however. Kerkow, Carsen Ladd, Brody Curtiss, Garrett Boblitt and Zac Dahlke all had one hit apiece. Kerkow went the distance on the hill, notching a pair of strikeouts.
Chokio 5 vs. BP 15 at Green Isle (Saturday, June 19 – 5 innings – Miller Lite Invite Tournament)
Belle Plaine jumped out to an early lead in the second game of the day against Chokio. An RBI groundout from Jon Schmidt in the first inning had the Tigers rolling.
Through four innings, the Tigers were down by a pair of runs to Chokio. That changed in a major way in the fifth, as Los Tigros batted 18 men and scored 13 runs! Tiger hitters drew nine walks, and Tyler O’Brien had two hits and three RBI in the fifth frame alone.
O’Brien finished with three hits. Schmidt had two hits of his own, while Curtiss scored three runs. Boblitt took the mound and was effective, scattering five singles and compiling three strikeouts in five innings.
BP 10 @ Hamburg 0 (Saturday, June 19 – 6 innings – Miller Lite Invite Tournament)
Jack Kruger drew Sunday’s mound assignment for the first time since his marvelous performance in the high school state tournament – and the young right-hander didn’t skip a beat. Facing only two batters over the minimum in six innings of work, he let just one Hawk reach scoring position.
The offense kept rolling for BP by scoring in the first, third, fourth, and sixth innings. O’Brien and Ladd had three hits each, while Schmidt, Jake Brandenburg and Josh Terrio collected two knocks apiece.
Offensive leaders for the weekend were O’Brien with six hits, three RBI and three runs scored. Ladd had five hits and five runs scored, whereas Schmidt had four hits and four RBI. Kruger had three hits, with two of them for extra bases.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
Another Tigertown Classic is in the books – this one, the 22nd (or so), with 10 games over three days, long days at the ballyard and probably one too many pork burgers. The Tigers won once and lost twice, raising their season winning percentage (2-10, 0-5 RVL).
Over the next two weekends, the Tigers – who work approximately 100 game shifts when covering the Classic – will now get to enjoy being the guests at the Miller Lite Invite in Green Isle and Hamburg, and at the Hinckley (MN) Invitational.
The Tigers will start out on Saturday with the Isanti Redbirds at 11 am in Green Isle. Against either Carver or Chokio, our lads will play again on Saturday – at 3:30 pm if a loss, at 5:45 pm with a win. Either way, the game will again be at GI’s Irish Yard.
Depending how things unfold, the Tigers could play twice more on Sunday. Follow bptigertown.com or our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of the details.
As for the Tigertown Classic, the Waconia Lakers took the title with wins over the Shakopee Coyotes (11-0), the Minnesota Lake Royals – winning 5-4 after trailing 4-0 – and 9-3 over fellow Crow River Valley League competitors, the Hamburg Hawks. Find the final results at bptigertown.com/TTCl.htm.
Minnesota Lake 5 @ BP 4 (Friday, June 11 – 9 innings)
Minnesota Lake jumped on Tiger starter Colton Kerkow for four runs in the second inning, with the key blow a three-run double by fellow pitcher, Sam Bennett. Kerkow settled down nicely thereafter.
The Tiger Train didn’t get busy until their final three outs, when Jon Schimdt’s RBI double cut the deficit to 4-2 while putting runners at second and third base with nobody out. A balk and a sacrifice fly later, we were headed to extra innings (remember: tourney games are only seven innings).
The Royals’ Ethan Sindelir single-handedly produced the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, ripping a ground-rule double, advancing to third base on an infield single and then making a daring dash home on a wild pitch that just beat the throw.
After making such a heartening rally in the seventh, the Tigers were one hit away from victory in both the eighth and ninth, but each inning ended with the bases loaded. The disappointment of the moment caused all Tiger Alumni in attendance to jettison the ballpark (just kidding – I think) while setting up a stinker of a team photo opportunity.
Kerkow was his own best help, leading the locals with three hits. Josh Terrio collected two.
Shakopee Coyotes 2 @ BP 6 (Saturday, June 12)
Perennial power threat Zak Hoffman got the Coyotes off on the right foot right away, belting a home run for a 2-0 lead. Belle Plaine’s Tyler O’Brien soon answered in kind, clanking one off the scoreboard to tie things up, 2-2.
In the third inning, Los Tigros finally got the hits they were looking for late in Friday night’s game when they batted around, scoring five times on four hits. Rookie Ben Groff delivered a two-out, two-run single to highlight the rally.
Jon Schmidt, who just so happens to wear Babe Ruth’s No. 3 jersey – of course, Jeff Gansen’s, as well – clubbed yet another extra-base hit, this time a triple, before scoring on a wild pitch for a 6-2 lead.
That’s where the score would stay, as Jake Mercado completed five impressive relief innings to close out the victory. The talented “college ballplayer” allowed no runs, just two hits and struck out eight.
Minneapolis Mudcats 11 @ BP 5 (Sunday, June 13)
The Tigers started out sluggish and were not able to bounce back against the Melchior-laden Minneapolis Mudcats. Zac Dahlke got the start on the mound and labored through three innings as if heavy with child. (He’s actually in the best shape of his life, but the metaphor was convenient.)
The Mudcats scored eight runs across the first three innings, plating at least one run in each of the first five innings. Tyler O’Brien came in for relief of Dahlke, impressively recording half of his 12 outs via strikeout.
Kerkow and O’Brien lead the Tigers offensively. O’Brien had a double and three RBI, while Kerkow stayed hot with another two knocks. Josh Terrio, Jamie O’Brien, Groff and Garrett Boblitt all had one hit.
TIGER ALUMNI NIGHT ON FRIDAY
--by Brett Kruschke
After two more losses last weekend, the Tiger Wagon is limping along with a 1-8 record (0-5 River Valley League). Perhaps the ghosts of Tiger Past, some of whom will be appearing at Tiger Park this weekend and particularly on Friday night, can resurrect some of the club’s former glory.
The Tigers were overpowered at home by an always-excellent Jordan club on Friday, before watching a big lead turn into disaster at Le Sueur on Sunday.
The 22nd (mostly) annual Tigertown Classic tournament is this weekend, with the host Tigers getting things started against former fan favorite Brad Lawson and the Minnesota Lake Royals at 6:30 pm. Friday is also Tiger Alumni Night, as all former players will receive free admission and a refreshment (or two) for their troubles.
Waconia and the Shakopee Coyotes will entertain the fans at 8:30 pm in the evening’s second game. Saturday offers a five-game slate at Tiger Park, starting at 10:30 am when the Minneapolis Melchiors (Mudcats) take on a first-time entrant, the North Branch Nighthawks. Hamburg and Greenwald will resolve their differences at 12:45 pm, with games also to follow at approximately 3 pm, 5:15 pm and 7:30 pm.
If Los Tigros win Friday, they’ll play at 7:30 pm Saturday; with a loss, at 5:15 pm. Stay tuned to bptigertown.com and twitter.com/bptigertown for all the latest. The tournament will conclude on Sunday with games at 11 am, 1:15 pm and the championship at 3:30 pm.
Jordan 6 @ BP 1 (Friday, June 4)
In seeking their 20th straight triumph over the Tigers, Jordan rolled out crusty veteran Scott Hollingsworth – who simply looked as good as if the clock were turned back 10 years. The former minor-league right-hander tossed six frames of three-hit ball, allowing one run while ringing up eight strikeouts.
The Brew Crew jumped on Tiger starter Jake Mercado for two runs in the first inning, but the fellow right-hander – fresh off a memorable run with his collegiate St. Mary’s team – settled down quickly and kept the score in place until allowing single tallies in the fifth and sixth. Although hung with the loss, Mercado nonetheless proved worthy of working towards the top of the Tiger rotation as the season unfolds.
Alex Beckman relieved Hollingsworth and didn’t allow a run or hit in grabbing the three-inning save. Colton Kerkow (2 IP, 2 R) and Jon Schmidt (1 IP, 0 R) served as the clean-up crew for Belle Plaine.
The Tiger book credited four hits, with those belonging to Mercado, Schmidt, Josh Terrio and Carsen Ladd – the latter of whom also ripped a couple of line-outs.
BP 8 @ Le Sueur 13 (Sunday, June 6)
While details remain sketchy and may forevermore be so regarding Sunday’s licking in Le Sueur, what we do know is already enough to leave a mental scar.
Team Tigertown scored four times before the Braves batted, then added three more tallies in the fourth for a 7-0 lead. The Braves finally shot back in the fifth, scoring four times for a 7-4 BP advantage.
A three-run tater from Mitch Casperson tied the game, 7-7, and the not-so-friendly host went whammy one more time before all was said and done. Le Sueur’s Burke Nesbit was another beast with the bat, totaling 10 bases while contributing four scoreless on the hill.
Brody Curtiss started for BP but went just two innings. Carsen Ladd and Zac Dahlke collected (at least) two hits each.
--by Brett Kruschke & Jack Gill
After a 7-0 loss to Le Sueur last Wednesday, the Tigers fell to 1-6 on the season (0-3 River Valley League). Things won’t get any easier when the Jordan Brewers – the long-time class of the RVL ‘C’ teams – pull into Tiger Park on Friday for a 7:30 pm tilt.
Friday’s promotion is Matt Saxe Chevrolet Night. Perhaps they will provide the bullpen car of which we’ve long dreamed!
On Sunday, Team Tigertown will meet up again with their fellow French-named counterparts when they trek to Le Sueur for a 2 pm affair on Sunday.
As always, visit bptigertown.com regularly and follow the Tigers on Twitter and Facebook at bptigertown.
Le Sueur 7 @ BP 0 (Wednesday, May 26)
Tigers southpaw Zac Dahlke found himself in trouble right out of the gate, as the Braves got a runner to third base on a walk, a steal and an overthrow. Tommy Gupton brought him in with an infield single. Mitch Casperson responded with a single of his own, bringing the runner to third.
Clean-up hitter – and opposing pitcher – Tristen O’Brien followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Dahlke allowed another walk before the Braves pulled off a double steal. With both runners in scoring position, Logan Kahlow belted a double to extend Le Sueur’s lead to four runs.
O’Brien worked four scoreless innings, allowing one hit, four walks, and five strikeouts. Belle Plaine’s only hit in the first four frames came from a Derek Dahlke double to left.
Meanwhile, Dahlke gave up a bases-loaded walk in the second inning to make it 5-0. But after those first two costly innings, the portsider got in a groove and retired seven straight batters. The Braves got a runner on in the fifth from an error, but the next batter hit into a double play. Dahlke finished his five-inning outing allowing five runs, four hits and three walks, with four strikeouts.
In the later innings, the Tigers continued to be stuck with zero runs, this time continued by Burke Nesbit. Nesbit threw five scoreless frames, allowing just one hit and one walk with eight strikeouts. Belle Plaine’s only hit-off Nesbit was a Carsen Ladd single.
Josh Terrio pitched the fifth and most of the sixth inning for the Tigers. After a few more errors, the Braves tacked on two more runs. After Terrio left the game with an injury, Garrett Boblitt cruised through the Braves lineup the rest of the way going 2.1 innings, allowing no hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
The Tiger town teamers lost their only game of the past week, falling 4-2 at Gaylord on Sunday. Belle Plaine is 1-5 overall this season, with a 0-2 mark in River Valley League play.
With Memorial Day Weekend coming up, the Tigers will play just once again this week. Le Sueur is in town tonight (May 26) at 7:30 pm, with the Tigers hoping to pick up their first RVL win.
Tonight will also be RTL Construction Night, with each fan receiving a free hot dog, drink and pop – courtesy of our friends at RTL.
The schedule kicks into full swing in June. Until then, keep up with the Tigers at bptigertown.com and by the same handle on Twitter and Facebook.
BP 2 @ Gaylord 4 – Sunday, May 23
The Tigers got off to a quick start in Gaylord, getting a first-inning single from Josh Terrio followed by an RBI double by Derek Dahlke. Dahlke then took the mound and held the Islanders scoreless until the third inning, when Gaylord took the lead on a two-run double by McKoy Rodning.
Jon Schmidt stayed hot with a leadoff solo homerun in the fourth frame – his second tater of the season, and second of his career, and the only two Tiger long balls this season.
Gaylord scored the final two runs of the night with a solo homerun of their own in the sixth – off the bat of No. 3 hitter, Erik Goetsch – before adding an insurance run in the seventh.
Dahlke led the way on the mound, working six innings with eight strikeouts, allowing three runs (one earned). Terrio, meanwhile, was the only Belle Plainer with multiple hits, collecting a pair of singles.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
The Tigers fell to 0-4 on Friday after a weak effort in Watertown, with each loss this season seemingly getting to be worse than the last. Saturday was a much-needed salve for Team Tigertown, therefore, as the locals held off Webster in a well-played game.
Friday’s home game against Green Isle has been cancelled, we’re sorry to report, as a lack of available players for May games continues to be a growing concern for Minnesota Baseball Association teams. And that by no means excludes your home-town Tigers, who have had to get more creative in recent seasons than had previously been the custom.
El Tigre will at least take the field at 6 pm Sunday in Gaylord, seeking to even their RVL record at 1-1.
Please note that RTL Construction Night, previously scheduled for this Friday, will now be held on Wednesday, May 26. As per usual, each fan in attendance will receive a free hot dog, pop and chips, courtesy of RTL.
BP 0 @ Watertown 11 (Friday, May 14 – 5 innings)
The lights never turned on in Watertown for the Tigers – on or off the field.
Trailing big early, a bank of lights closest to home plate gave out in the fourth inning. Not only did the Tigers have no runs, but they didn’t even have a hit yet – and due to the lighting situation, it was quickly agreed that the game would end the game after five innings.
No, the Tigers didn’t get a hit in the mildly-fateful fifth, either. Most folks would call that a no-hitter. Except for Major League Baseball?! I guess we’ll have to defer to them on this one …
The Tigers only had three baserunners in the game, coming on two hit batsmen and a walk.
Mitch Stier came out of his premature retirement and labored through four innings on the hill, walking or hitting a combined 11 Watertown batters. Stier’s “cutter” had a little bit of movement – too much so, apparently – although he notched three punchouts in four innings.
BP 6 @ Webster 4 (Saturday, May 15)
There were no lighting issues in Webster; just bright sunshine. So bright, that Zac Dahlke lost two fly balls in the sun!
With the weather warming up, so did the Tigers bats. A two-out single in the first inning from previously-retired Matt Schultz got the scoring going early. Webster matched the Tigers run for run, however, through five innings.
Fireworks flew in the third when Jon Schmidt hit
his first Tigertown home run – also, the first circuit clout for the
Tigers this year. Webster answered in the home-half with a bomb of its
Josh Terrio gave Belle Plaine the lead with an RBI single in the sixth. Schmidt stayed hot in the ninth inning, adding an insurance run with an RBI double. Other offensive leaders were Schultz with two hits, while Zac Dahlke was on base four times despite taking just two hacks in five at-bats.
Colton Kerkow lead the way on the mound, getting the win with five relief innings. He yielded just one run and struck out seven.
--by Brett Kruschke & Matt Ruehling
The Town Tigers fell to 0-3 on the season – all at home – after a punchless 9-1 loss to New Prague on Friday night. Saturday’s game at St. Benedict was canceled and will not be rescheduled.
The cavalry is on the way for Team Tigertown, as college ballplayers near the conclusion of their seasons, but so far it’s been a patchwork quilt for the locals. Perhaps the experience gained by players not normally in a full-squad lineup will pay off down the road.
With a youth tournament in town, the Tigers will be on the road this weekend and looking for a pair of “W’s”: Friday is a 7:30 pm game at Watertown, while Saturday is set for 2 pm at Webster.
Stick with your boys; follow ‘em to the aforementioned towns, or at least follow ‘em on the Twitter machine: twitter.com/bptigertown. And don’t forget the mothership, at bptigertown.com.
New Prague 9 @ BP 1 (Friday, May 7)
The Tigers started out cold on a brisk night at Tiger Park and never warmed up. Carsen Ladd got the start on the mound, and after a two-run double and an error, the Tigers were down by three runs before they stepped to the plate.
Ladd, Josh Terrio and Derek Dahlke held the Orioles to one run over the next six innings, with the latter collecting all six of his outs via strikeout.
The flood gates opened up in the eighth inning, however, when the Orioles tacked on five more runs – six, due to free passes.
Offensively, the Tigers scored their lone run in the ninth inning with Jon Schmidt’s run-scoring double. Schmidt, Dahlke, and Colton Kerkow notched the hits for the Belle Plaine cause.
--by Brett Kruschke & Jack Gill
The town Tigers were glad to be back at the ballpark last weekend but got off on the wrong foot, blowing a last-inning lead against Glencoe before suffering a lopsided league loss to upstart Arlington.
The Tigers will be at home again this Friday, as the New Prague Orioles will be in town for a 7:30 pm tilt on Dollar Beer Night. Please note that Saturday’s game at St. Benedict has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled, as the BPHS Tigers play in the afternoon and combined with other player absences, it would have left the Tigers too shorthanded to play.
The following weekend consists of a pair of road games, so be sure to come out this Friday night and take in the action. Remember also that you may follow along at Twitter.com/bptigertown, and visit regularly the Tiger web hub, bptigertown.com.
Glencoe 3 @ BP 2 (Friday, April 30)
We’ve long said that Opening Night is the weirdest game of the year. For starters, the Tigers were playing in April for the first time since 2012 (St. Benedict, April 27).
Next, we won’t name names, but the national anthem was botched in the press box when the song wasn’t readied in time by the crew. (We do apologize.) Then, just when things got rolling for a few innings and normalcy had returned … half of the ballpark lights went out!
This has happened before, you may recall … a couple of times, in fact, in recent years. The good news is that Tiger Park is getting new lighting this year. And, we were lucky to have a couple City of Belle Plaine employees on hand and willing to help.
Within half an hour, the game had resumed – but not before the managers mutually agreed to shorten the game to seven innings, in deference to the delay, plus because of an early game looming for Glencoe the next day. (Bottom line, though: this is abnormal, and has not occurred in this writer’s 30 years of involvement.)
Let’s not forget the game itself. Chase Emmers started on the hill for Belle Plaine, working three scoreless innings. Zac “The Most Dashing” Dahlke followed suit with three more goose eggs, priming him for his first victory since 2014.
Pat Schultz, a catcher in his 24th season, has fancied himself a pitcher in recent years, pumping batting-practice fastballs and the occasional “jugular ball” that the catcher has to block – in this case, field manager Matt Ruehling, who figured if Pat can pitch, I can sure as heck catch.
Well, Tiger fans, I don’t have to tell you that the Brewers plated three runs in the seventh – benefitting also from a painful pair of Tiger errors – sending the dollar-dog-eating fans home with a sour, if not salty, taste in their mouths.
With all respect, it was also strange that a high-school sophomore, playing in his first town-team game, led the way with two hits. That kid is Jake Brandenburg, who drove in a run with a bases-loaded knock with two down in the fifth.
Arlington 8 @ BP 3 (Sunday, May 2)
The town Tigers battled the Arlington A’s Sunday afternoon in their first River Valley League matchup of the season. Arlington’s Austin Brockhoff got it going early for the A’s, with a two-run bloop single to centerfield off Tigers pitcher Jon Schmidt. They tacked on two more tallies, as well, thanks to a bases-loaded fielder’s choice and a base rip from Lukas Bullert. Arlington led 4-0 through two innings.
After Schmidt started to settle in, Brandenburg provided some run support with a big bases-loaded double in the fifth. The rookie’s knock brought in two base runners, cutting the lead in half. After five frames, Josh Terrio took over for Schmidt on the mound.
Joey Burgemeister brought in Lucas O’Brien with a double of his own in the sixth, making it a one-run ballgame. Terrio cruised through his first two innings before running into some trouble in the eighth. Arlington added got three insurance runs on four singles, extending their lead to 7-3 after 8 innings.
In the ninth, Carsen Ladd came in to pitch. Nick Doetkott put an exclamation mark on the A’s evening with a drive over the fence in left for a solo shot. For Arlington, Dan Chies pitched six solid innings and earned the win.
It was not the result we all wanted, but on the bright side, young studs Burgemeister and Brandenburg showed some promise at the plate for a combined four hits. Terrio, a stud in his own right, also had two.
Most memorably for Burgemeister, a BPHS senior and a second-year town teamer, is that he got to play with his father, Eric, who signed on for the day and caught all nine innings. Eric drew a walk and also got in the hit column. Joey led off while dad batted cleanup.
--by Brett Kruschke
On Friday night, the Glencoe Brewers of the Crow River Valley League will kick off the season at 7:30 pm. It’s your old favorite, Dollar Dog Night, meaning $1 hot dogs for the course of the game.
On Sunday, the River Valley League schedule begins with a visit from the Arlington A’s at 2 pm. The promotion is Edina Realty (Susy Dahlke) and Edina Realty Mortgage (Shane Hofmann) Day, which means FREE root-beer floats and prizes!
Because of Covid-19 concerns, the Minnesota Baseball Association didn’t allow play last season until mid-June. The Tigers opened June 17 at Green Isle and ended on August 15 in Blue Earth, with an extra-inning loss to Waterville in Region 6C play.
The campaign closed with a 10-7 record – yet another double-digit win season for field manager Matt Ruehling – including a 7-5 mark in the RVL.
After taking a year off, season tickets are back for 2021! The cost has increased to $35, and it is the only season ticket for sale. (“Dugout Club” season tickets will no longer be sold.) Single-game ticket prices are $4 for ages 18-64, $2 for ages 12-17 and 65-plus, while ages 11 and under get in free. Be sure to also grab a traditional pocket schedule at the ticket gate or Brad’s Barber Shop.
Visit bptigertown.com for this season’s player roster and the rest of the season schedule with promotions – and lots more. Can’t make the game? Follow along at twitter.com/bptigertown.See you at the ballpark!