State Legion meet opens
The 85th annual state American Legion baseball tournament opens today at four sites with 16 teams vying for the title won by Rochester 4-3 over Apple Valley last summer.
Neither will be back to challenge for the title this year.
Play is set for four sites today at Grand Rapids, Nashwauk, Cohasset and host Hibbing.
Sixteen games will be played at those for fields today, cutting the field to12.
It will shift to Hibbing entirely later in the weekend.
Winners' bracket games are set at 10 and 1 with second round games to follow at 4:30 and 7:30.
Four teams will be eliminated today.
Openers at Nashwauk match Excelsior with Mankato and Alexandria with Lakeville North.
At Grand Rapids, the St. Cloud Chutes, the District 6 champs, take on Maple Grove and Fergus Falls, the District 9 winner goes against District 8 champ Duluth Lakeview.
The Cohasset card finds Eastview facing No. St. Paul and Minneapolis Post 1 taking on Eden Prairie.
At Hibbing, it's Owatonna against Eagan and Coon Rapids facing Hibbing.
All but one team in the field is state ranked, 13 in the top 20.
The exception is host Hibbing which finished under .500 this summer and bowed out in the first round of the District 8 meet to West Duluth.
Eden Prairie, Eastview, No. St. Paul, Lakeville, Excelsior and Mankato are the top six ranked teams. Maple Grove is 10, Coon Rapids and Owatonna tied for 12, Duluth 15, Fergus 16, the Chutes 17 and Eagan 20.
Alexandria and Minneapolis drew votes but finished tied for 21.
Bemidji bowed out in its sub-district meet which was won by Little Falls.