The Region 3C Amateur Baseball Tournament begins Sunday with four of the eight teams involved going to the State Amateur Baseball Tournament.  The Faribault Lakers were last year's regular season Dakota-Rice-Scott (DRS) League champions and finished second in the Region 3C Tournament.  Union Hill was the Region 3C winner last year.  Three of the four teams advancing to state last season made it to the final eight at state.

Faribault is at Union Hill Sunday and coverage on KDHL Radio, www.kdhlradio.com begins 1:45 p.m.  You can also download the FREE KDHL app and read website content while listening to the game.  The winner Sunday will be one win away from a State Tournament berth.  New Prague, Shakopee and Jordan host this year's State Amateur Baseball Tournament and Faribault will host in 2022.

The DRS League did very well at last year's State Tournament with three teams (Faribault, New Prague, Union Hill) advancing to the elite eight .  New Prague made it to the semi-finals.  The Lakers were ousted by Lake Henry 3-2, New Prague also lost to Lake Henry 4-2 and Union Hill was defeated by Bemidji 2-0.  New Market lost in the second round to eventual State Class C Champion Kimball 5-3.

Faribault has Matt Lane lined up to pitch Sunday after Jack Helgeson and Egan Bonde delivered 16-6 and 11-1 7 inning wins over Webster in their DRS League playoff series sweep.

Lane was out with an injury for a couple weeks this season and was not only missed for his outstanding pitching but his bat (hitting .370 and leading team in RBI with 22).  Obviously he missed a couple probable starts and goes into Sunday's game with a 4-2 record.  In 53 2/3 innings pitched Lane has struck out 73 batters and walked 6.  He has allowed 18 runs, 12 earned with a 2.01 ERA and opponent batting average of .217.  There have been 46 hits off Lane this season and one home run.

Union Hill swept the season series from Faribault 7-0 on July 6 and 4-0 on July 12th.  Matt Lane did pitch in Union Hill in the 4-0 loss striking out 9 and walking 3 while scattering 8 hits over 8 innings. Egan Bonde pitched the game in Faribault striking out 5 and walking 2 while giving up 9 hits.

Bulldog pitchers tossing the shutouts were Derek Masberg with a 3 hitter in Faribault and Nathan Berg went the first 7 innings in Union Hill allowing 4 hits, walking 6 and fanning 9.  Union Hill Pitchers had 7 walks in the game and the Lakers couldn't get any timely hits.

It should be noted Blake Langerud and Jack Helgeson did not play in those games and they generally start.

Langerud has played in about half the Lakers games this season due to injury and is back.  He is a difference maker at the top of the batting order getting on base and making things happen with his speed.  Currently Blake is third on the team in hitting with a .361 batting average.  Joe Grote leads the team in hitting with a .391 batting average.  11 of his 43 hits are for extra bases.

Helgeson has also played in about half of the Lakers games.  He plays an excellent center field when he doesn't pitch.  On the hill Helgeson is 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA and opponent batting average of .214.  In 51 innings pitched he has 52 strikeouts, 18 walks and has allowed 41 hits.

Egan Bonde has also thrown well for Faribault this season with a 4-3 record, 54 2/3 innings pitched, 53 hits, 24 runs, 13 earned, 44 strikeouts, 24 walks and an opponent batting average of .252.

Faribault has not been able to move runners for much of the season due to the injuries mentioned.  They are 16 of 24 in stolen bases and their opponents are 13 of 24.

The Lakers have turned 16 double plays, one problem has been their fielding with 56 errors.

The other games Sunday are: Shakopee at New Market, Montgomery at New Prague and St. Benedict at St. Patrick.

Winners play Tuesday and the losers play Wednesday.  If Faribault wins Sunday and Tuesday they are State Tournament bound.

Faribault Lakers Host Union Hill July 6, 2018- photo by Gordy Kosfeld