1994 Class "C" State Champions -- State Runner Up 1948 - 1952 – 1991 -- Five Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame Members 1994 Class "C" State Champions -- State Runner Up 1948 - 1952 – 1991 -- Five Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame Members

 

TIGERTOWN CLASSIC ARRIVES

2023 TTCL

--by Brett Kruschke

Team Tigertown took out their frustrations at Le Sueur on Sunday, posting a 13-4 win to snap a four-game losing streak. Prior to that, the Tigers fell on May 30 at New Prague, 7-5, and at home on Friday against Jordan, 12-7.

Belle Plaine’s overall record is 3-4, with a 1-2 mark in the River Valley League. Last night (June 6) the locals played host to St. Peter, one of two RVL Class C teams with a perfect record in league action (3-0; Jordan, 4-0). Visit the tigerwebs for results and details at bptigertown.com or on social media.

THIS WEEKEND the 24th annual Tigertown Classic is upon us, with 10 games over three days at Tiger Park. Your hometown nine will open the tournament at 6:30 pm on Friday against former Tiger Nate Hartmann – presently the field manager – and the Green Isle Irish. The Marshall A’s and Webster Sox will follow with Game 2 at approximately 8:30 pm.

Saturday begins bright and early at 10:30 am with the Carver Black Sox squaring off against the defending tournament champions, the North Branch Nighthawks. The RVL’s Le Sueur Braves are back in the Classic and will take on last year’s tournament runner-up, the Minneapolis Melchior Mudcats.

Belle Plaine will also play on Saturday – at 7:30 pm if it won on Friday and at 5:15 pm if it lost. For the rest of tournament schedule, please see the bracket published here and/or available online. Please note: one admission charge is good for an entire day of games!

Tyler O'Brien slides into third at New Prague

BP 5 @ New Prague 7 (Tuesday, May 30)

Nine of the game’s 12 runs came in the first 1 1/2 innings. Unfortunately for Belle Plaine, five of those tallies belonged to New Prague against starting pitcher Jake Mercado.

The Tigers responded in like fashion with three second-inning runs to cut the deficit to 5-4. Among the highlights were back-to-back doubles from Tyler O’Brien and Carsen Ladd.

Matt Johnson started the second on the hill for the visitors, and he put up three scoreless frames before coughing up a pair of runs in the fifth. The Tigers tied the score with a run in the fourth, making Johnson the pitcher of record.

No runs came across for either team during the final four innings of the contest. Mercado and Carsen Ladd both went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Josh Terrio joined the fun with a pair of hits.

It was a long night at the ball yard, as a backup umpire was needed which pushed the start time to around 8:00 pm. Town Ball Tuesdays was in attendance and did a bang-up job providing updates to the Tiger internet faithful.

scoreboad vs. Jordan

Jordan 12 @ BP 7 (Friday, June 2)

Garrett Boblitt took the ball from manager Jason Ladd while Jordan countered with a fellow college ballplayer, Jonathan Draheim.

The Brewers grabbed a run in the first inning before turning Nate Beckman’s RBI single in the third into a 2-0 lead after three. That was when Jordan really went to work, putting the game out of reach with crooked numbers 3, 3, and 2 in innings four, five, and six – the latter runs coming in on a two-run double from “The Antelope,” Joe Lucas.

The Tigers scored their runs in bunches, plating three in the third and four in their last cracks. Five Plainesmen enjoyed two-hit games: Miller (2-for-4, 2B), Dahlke (2B, RBI), Curtiss (2-for-4, BB), Carsen Ladd (2-for-5, 2 RBI), and O’Brien (2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI).

Garrett Boblitt vs. Jordan

Boblitt was saddled with the loss, tossing 3 1/3 innings. Terrio, Colton Kerkow, and O’Brien also pitched.

BP 13 @ Le Sueur 4 (Sunday, June 4)

Brody Curtiss gave Belle Plaine the game it needed on the mound, chucking seven innings of two-run ball (zero earned) with four strikeouts. Johnson closed out the final two stanzas.

A pair of Tigers had three-hit nights in Mercado (3-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI) and Miller (3-for-5, 2 RBI). Dahlke took one over the boards – his second home run of the season – as part of a 2-for-4, 3-RBI night. O’Brien (2-for-5, 3 RBI) and Carsen Ladd (2-for-4, 2 RBI) contributed to the offensive onslaught.

New Prague.jpg

Town Tigers to Open June with
 3 RVL Games

Tiger dugout vs. St. Clair 002.jpg

--by Brett Kruschke

The Belle Plaine Tigers’ first 2-0 start since 2012 quickly faded to a 2-2 start, with last night’s (May 30) game at New Prague yet to be played at print time. The Tigers lost their first game of the season on Tuesday to St. Clair, 7-3, before a Thursday visit to Lonsdale resulted in a 10-7 setback.

Check bptigertown.com or “BP Tigertown” on Facebook or Twitter for last night’s result against the Orioles, who entered the contest with a perfect 5-0 record.

The Jordan Brewers – off to a 6-0 start themselves – will be in town on Friday night for a 7:00 pm first pitch. Team Tigertown will be looking to snap a 23-game losing skid against their historic Highway 169 rivals.

River Valley League action will continue on Sunday with a 6:00 pm trip to Le Sueur, followed by a Tuesday trip to Tiger Park by the St. Peter Saints. Once again, that start time is a family-friendly 7:00 pm.

St. Clair

St. Clair 7 @ BP 3 (Tuesday, May 23)

St. Clair started fast on Dollar Dog Night, putting up a two-spot in the first frame. The Wood Ducks added to the lead with one run in the third and two more in the fourth for a 5-0 lead after 3 1/2.

Colton Kerkow vs. St. Clair

That was more than enough support for right-hander Taylor Schumacher, who spun a complete-game six-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Derek Hoffman started for the T-Train but worked just two innings before giving way to Colton Kerkow, who tossed three frames and gave up as many runs.

Jared Miller was next, chucking 3.1 innings before Derek Dahlke took the mound for the final two outs.

The biggest hit of the game came from Hoffman, who drilled a two-out, two-run double in the seventh to trim the deficit to 5-3. But that was as close as the Tigers would get. Aidan Ladd went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his season debut, while Brody Curtiss also went 2-for-4. Miller, meanwhile, belted a triple.

The biggest thorn in the Tigers’ side from St. Clair was Eric Carpenter, who collected four hits and four RBI.

Tiger Park - May 25, 2023

BP 7 @ Lonsdale 10 (Thursday, May 25)

Even in this golden age of technology, information can be difficult to come by at times – particularly, it seems, when your local nine hits the road for a friendly.

What we know: in what seems to be a slowly increasing trend of recent years, Minnesota town teams are choosing to play seven innings instead of nine for exhibition (non-league) games. And such was the case for this contest at Trenda Memorial Park.

Garrett Boblitt took the loss for Tigertown, throwing three innings. Tyler O’Brien worked a pair of frames while Matt Johnson threw one.

Hitting heroes for the BP boys were Dahlke, who went 2-for-4 with two RBI, and O’Brien, who went 2-for-4 with a double. Other Tigers collecting hits were Carsen Ladd, Miller, and Curtiss.

Augustana

Town Tigers Mash Montgomery,
Move to 2-0

Tiger Sign

--by Brett Kruschke

The Belle Plaine Tigers are 2-0 for the first time since 2012 after an 8-1 dismissal of the Montgomery Mallards on Friday. The Tigers’ only 3-0 start this century came in 2009 – a season that finished with a 26-10 record.

El Tigre opened league play last night (May 23) against St. Clair; check for results and details on bptigertown.com or on the team’s social media channels, BP Tigertown on Facebook and Twitter.

The Tigers will bookend Memorial Day Weekend with a Thursday night tilt at Lonsdale and a Tuesday night trip to New Prague – both games are at 7:30 pm. Thursday’s game against the Aces is slated for a shortened seven innings.

Scoreboard

BP 8 @ Montgomery 1 (Friday, May 19 – 7 innings)

The Tigers agreed to Montgomery’s proposal of a 7-inning game and an 8 pm start time. Even so, manager Jason Ladd found work for five different Tiger arms: Derek Hoffman, Colton Kerkow, Matt Johnson, Tyler O’Brien, and Jared Miller.

O’Brien and Derek Dahlke got the Tiger Train rolling right away with solo home runs in the first inning. The BP boys ended up scoring in five of the contest’s seven innings.

The Mallards scored their lone run in the first off Hoffman, who worked three frames while fanning four batters. The rest of the righties went an inning apiece, with Miller shutting it down.

O’Brien went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while Carsen Ladd also went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Dahlke had a pair of hits – including the aforementioned bomb – and as many RBI.

2023 City of BP grandstand sign update

Town Tigers Outslug
St. Benedict

tiger fives.jpg

--by Brett Kruschke

The Belle Plaine Tigers dug out of a deep pit against the St. Benedict Saints during Friday’s season opener, closing the contest with 16 unanswered runs to notch a 17-7 triumph in seven innings. Last year, the BP boys opened the season with a similarly wild 16-15 walk-off win over the Bennies.

The Tigers will carry a 1-0 record into Montgomery this Friday night as they take on the Mallards of the Dakota-Scott-Rice League at 7:30 pm.

Belle Plaine’s first River Valley League game of the season will follow on Tuesday, May 23, when the St. Clair Wood Ducks visit Tiger Park on Dollar (Hot) Dog Night – 7:00 pm first pitch. That’s right: all-you-care-to-eat $1 hot dogs from your hometown butcher shop, Ruck’s Meats, and allow me to testify that they are bigger and better than ever.

Spice up your social media feeds by following the Tigers at “BP Tigertown” on Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to bookmark the primary hub, bptigertown.com, on your favorite scrolling device.

Dollar Dog

St. Benedict 7 @ BP 17 (7 innings – Friday, May 12)

Matt Johnson just missed the cutoff date for playing in Tigertown last season, so after spending the 2022 campaign as a coach, he made up for lost time by taking the ball from manager Jason Ladd on Opening Night. It drizzled all day but Tiger Park was greened up and ready to go, thanks to the tarps and grounds crew.

Johnson put up a goose egg in his debut frame and took a 1-0 lead into the second inning thanks to leadoff hitter Tyler O’Brien scoring a run after swiping both second and third base. However, Johnson was chased with just one out in the second stanza – an inning that saw St. Benedict score six runs thanks in large part to three Tiger errors.

Jonathan “A Country Boy Can Survive” Schmidt finished the second inning and allowed one more run before calling it a day after three, but the home fans found themselves trailing 7-1 almost before they could finish their first dollar beer.

Belle Plaine picked up another run behind an O’Brien stolen base in the third inning, then batted eight men in the fourth inning to plate four runs. Once again, O’Brien provided the key blow with a two-run double – and he also came around to score his third run in as many at-bats.

Derek Hoffman worked a scoreless fourth for the locals before giving way to Jared Miller in the fifth, the latter of whom went the rest of the way and kept the Bennies off the board to eventually earn the win.

The Tiger Train tied the game at 7-7 in the fifth, then broke it open and surprisingly sent the folks home early behind five-spots in both the sixth and seventh innings. Belle Plaine started the sixth with three straight hits and the seventh with two in a row, setting the table for the carnage that unfolded.

Derek Dahlke - Gremlin of the Game.jpg

O’Brien was joined in the multi-hit party by Schmidt, Carsen Ladd, Jake Mercado, and your grinning “Gremlin of the Game,” Derek Dahlke, who reached base in all five plate appearances and had three hits, including a triple. The Tigers collected 15 hits in all.

Town Tigers Open Season
at Home on Friday
Third-base side seating area

--by Brett Kruschke

“Baseball in Belle Plaine since 1885,” and here comes another season of Tigers Men’s Amateur Town-Team Baseball. Your local lads – and Ladds – will entertain our traditional opening-night foe on Friday, when the St. Benedict Saints swoop into Tiger Park for a 7:00 pm first pitch.

Friday’s game promotion is Dollar Beer Night – yes, inflation be darned, the board has spoken (or more accurately, failed to speak) and it shall be $1 beers for the duration of the evening. No, there’ll be no pesky pitch clock to cut your night short, and no, we didn’t recently cut a deal for a truckload of discounted Bud Light. (Keystone Light? Perhaps.)

Jason Ladd is back for season No. 2 at the helm as Tigers skipper, as well as his right-hand man, Josh Terrio, returning as his trusty sounding board (lead assistant coach) and player. For the sake of accuracy we’ll make you have to check a game program for the 2023 Opening Day roster, but we’ll throw you a nugget in that Derek Dahlke is returning to his Tiger homeland this summer.

Third-base side seating area (1)

Here’s a few other things to look forward to at Tiger Park: a new drink rail and seating area has been added just past the third-base dugout. The “Home of the Tigers” sign on the back of the grandstand, after lasting nearly 20 years, will soon be replaced. Also, pinstripe pants and uniform tops are back, as well as an additional new-look “BP” ballcap.

2023 new pinstripe uniforms (1)

Team Tigertown is intentionally easing into this season – more than usual, anyway – to allow for a more representative roster when the River Valley League games start counting. So, Belle Plaine is playing just five games in May – with just two of those coming at home and with four of the five of the non-league variety. (St. Clair will be Belle Plaine’s only league opponent in May, on the 23rd at Tiger Park.)

Don’t you worry none: June is loaded with at least 12 games, including the Tigertown Classic tournament on June 9-11. And six regular-season contests are scheduled in July before the league playoffs start at the end of the month.

Find the full schedule and game promotions listed at our long-running website – since 1885, believe it or not – bptigertown.com. And find us also on Facebook and Twitter at “BP Tigertown.”

Season tickets are available for $35 and will be available at the ticket gate and Brad’s Barber Shop. Single-game ticket prices are $4 for ages 18-64, $2 for ages 12-17 and 65-plus, and no admission charge for ages 11 and younger.

See you at the ballpark!

2023 BP Tigers season ticket

Tom Melchior Named Glenn Carlson Award Winner

Tom Melchior

MNBaseball Story

Former Town Ball Player Chronicles Its History

Tom Melchior was born in Belle Plaine, Minnesota in 1936. His family moved to Gaylord, and then to Garden City where Tom played youth baseball and his first two years of high school ball.  In 1952, the family returned to Belle Plaine for Tom’s junior and senior years. During the summer of his junior year, Tom began his amateur career as a shortstop for the Carver Black Sox.  

After graduating, he joined the Belle Plaine Tigers for three seasons. In 1954, Tom enrolled at St. John’s University, where he was a four-year starter as an outfielder, and co-captain as a senior. After his junior year in 1957, he was hired as the Benson Braves player-manager for one season.

After graduating college in 1958, Tom played one year for the Le Sueur Giants. He then taught in New Prague in 1959 and played for the New Prague Robins. He spent 1960 in Puerto Rico, teaching and coaching at Colegio San Antonio Abad before returning in 1961 to teach in Montgomery. He played for and managed the Montgomery Redbirds for two seasons. In 1962, Tom began a 31-year teaching career at Burnsville High School, including a decade as the baseball coach. He was named Minnesota Teacher of the Year in 1971 and retired in 1993.  Shortly thereafter, he became one of the first inductees into the Burnsville High School Hall of Fame.

After accepting the post in Burnsville, Tom and his wife, Sue, settled in rural Shakopee, where they raised their three children, Paul, Marty and Meg. Tom finished his playing career with the Shakopee Indians in 1967, and by the mid-1970s, he retired from high school coaching. Tom then coached a Shakopee Babe Ruth team from 1976-1981.

When Tom retired from teaching, he began a second career as an author and regional historian.  In 1997, he published “They Called Me Teacher,” which recounts the history and stories of Minnesota’s one-room schoolhouse teachers. The book won the 1997-98 Merit Award from the Minnesota Independent Publishers Association. This was followed by a memoir, “From Both Sides of the Desk” and “Never Forgotten,” which chronicles stories of World War II veterans.

By the late 1990s, Tom’s focus was back to his first love, baseball. Over the next decade, Tom researched and interviewed dozens of former amateur baseball players from the region. The result was “Belle Plaine Baseball: 1884 – 1960,” and later, “Scott County Baseball.” These books detail the rich history of townball in Scott County. Both titles sold out their first printing and have been widely used by other researchers, writers, and fans of Minnesota’s amateur game. Tom’s endeavors, on and off the field, have positively influenced the lives of thousands of Minnesotans including his family and friends, his students, and generations of baseball players, coaches and fans.

Melchior family tree runs through Minneapolis MudCats

 

When We the
Boys of Summer Played

 

In 1948,

We roamed all day without a care,

And never thought of fate.

When we the boys of summer played,

So many years ago,

The sun burned down on sandlot fields,

The pace of time was slow.

 

We played where grass would never grow,

Sometimes on city streets.

We had no cell phones way back then,

But we knew when to meet.

 

Our caps were flat with bills that crowned

With logos of favorite teams.

They played on diamonds far away

Where we just played in dreams.

 

We lugged no big equipment bags

To carry all our stuff.

Just a bat and a trusty glove,

We thought it was enough.

 

We never wore those shoes with spikes.

Our pants were Levi jeans.

We rode our bikes to pick-up games.

We were a motely team

 

When we the boys of summer played,

The basepaths were not lined.

We had no way to buy the lime.

No batters’ box you’d find.

When we the boys of summer played,

There was fire in our eyes

Lightning shot from finger tips,

And home plate was the prize.

 

No umpire ever called a pitch.

Arbitration was our game.

We could argue with the best

My gosh, how we complained!

 

No parents ever bothered us

Or organized our play.

We were the ones who ruled the game

And frolicked time away.

 

When we the boys of summer played,

We hit line drives with glee.

We scooped up every hot ground ball

With spirits wild and free.

 

We dug right in for every pitch

And waved our trusty bats.

The pitchers seldom threw a strike

And whizzed some past our hats.

 

One day we rode to Arlington

To play a Series game.

Balloon tires crunched the gravel road,

Singing out our fame.

 

We taped the bats to handle bars.

Our gloves all hung there, too.

We played four innings; then we fought.

 ’tis the best that we could do.

 

When we the boys of summer played,

Our heroes were Ted and Joe.

They hit homeruns we read about.

And put on quite a show.

 

Our favorite bat was Louisville

Slugger was its name.

Robinson swung a hefty log.

Duke Snider gave it fame.

 

We had no TV games to watch.

We turned the Plilco dial.

Play-by-play from distant parks

Made summer nights worthwhile.

 

Where have my boys of summer gone,

Who once stood strong and tall?

In old age now I often think

Were they ever here at all?

 

Those years slipped by, so now I dream

Of games I played with friends.

Some now play among the clouds.

Where games will never end.