By Nick Gerhardt
The fifth annual Town Ball Classic at Target Field will once again feature some of the premier teams in the state.
The 2019 Town Ball Classic will take place June 22 at Target Field with Plato, Young America, New Market, Forest Lake, the Minneapolis Class A all-stars and the St. Paul Class A all-stars taking the field.
Defending Class C champion Plato will take on Crow River Valley League rival Young America in the day’s first game. New Market will face Forest Lake in the next game while the Minneapolis all-stars will battle the St. Paul all-stars in the finale. Plato and Young America will play first at 10 a.m., followed by Forest Lake and New Market at 12:30 p.m. The Minneapolis all-stars and St. Paul all-stars will play at 3 p.m.
It’s the first time any of the teams, outside of the all-star squads, have appeared at the Town Ball Classic though they’ve been on organizer Chris Reuvers radar for some time. Green Isle became the first CRVL team to appear at the Town Ball Classic in 2016 when it faced the Hanska Lakers.
Plato and Young America met in last year’s Region 7C championship where the Blue Jays claimed a 6-2 victory to earn the top seed out of the region for the state tournament.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for guys, you only play baseball for so long,” Plato manager Adam Dammann said about the opportunity to play at Target Field. “It’s an additional reward for us.”
New Market will meet Forest Lake in the second game of the Town Ball Classic, though the Muskies might want another shot at Young America after last year’s state tournament.
The Cardinals defeated New Market 4-3 in 14 innings in the elite eight of the state tournament. It became the most talked about game at the state tournament after Young America appeared to have won the game in the 13th inning. But the Cardinals runner never touched home plate and the game continued to the 14th inning.
UN. BE. LIEVABLE! Correct call by @NWumpires - Runner jumped over the plate in celebration and missed home plate! @nmMUSKIES dodge HUGE bullet, and we are now in the 13th inning in Shakopee! @nmMUSKIES Vs. @yacardinals @NPShakJor2018 @MinnBaseball #VideoDontLie pic.twitter.com/rJ9sljwK0r— Bill Schleper (@bschlep1) September 2, 2018
“That would’ve been a blast,” Muskies manager Todd Bergstrom said about playing the Cardinals at Target Field. “That was a great game. They deserved to win that game.”
New Market will still face a Forest Lake team that has appeared in the last five consecutive Class B state tournaments.
Brewers manager Adam Gallatin said his team and the fans are excited for the opportunity to play at Target Field.
“We have a pretty big roster,” he said. “I’m pretty sure no one is going to be missing this game. I do want to make sure I give people a chance to play.”
Forest Lake and New Market haven’t played each other recently but the Brewers have appeared in the Elko New Market Budweiser Classic tournament the past two seasons. Forest Lake claimed the tournament title last season.
For fan’s the Town Ball Classic is an opportunity to watch a game from the best seats in the park for the low price of $10.
Tickets are $10 and are good for all three games. Entrance for the games will be through Gate 29. The gate will open an hour before the game. Proceeds from the game will go to the Twins Community Fund, which is dedicated to getting more kids in the game by providing resources and programs to communities across the state. All games can be heard on SKOR North radio.
There is no reserved seating at Target Field and concessions will be open.
For questions about the Town Ball Classic, please email Sondra Ciesielski.
Past Town Ball Classic Matchups
2018 Town Ball Classic
Class C: Lake Henry Lakers vs. Kimball Express
Class B: Miesville Mudhens vs. Victoria Vics
Class A: Minneapolis All-Stars vs. St. Paul All-Stars
2017 Town Ball Classic
Class C: Raymond Rockets vs. Sobieski Skis
Class B: Dundas Dukes vs. Chaska Cubs
Class A: Minneapolis Angels vs. Baseball 365
2016 Town Ball Classic
Class C: Green Isle Irish vs. Hanska Lakers
Class B: Austin Greyhounds vs. Cold Spring Springers
Class A: Minnetonka Millers vs. Stockmen’s Irish
2015 Town Ball Classic
Faribault Lakers vs. Chanhassen Red Birds
Mankato Twins vs. Shakopee Indians
Lyon’s Pub Warriors vs. St. Anthony Hogs