Breckenridge is headed to the Minnesota American Legion State Tournament for the first time since 1972 and the community rallied to send them off at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1. Breck got a tough draw for their opening game against a strong Plato, Minnesota, team and they’ll play at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be a challenge. Anybody can beat anybody and anything can happen, but it’s going to be a challenge,” Breckenridge coach Kevin Hiedeman said. “They don’t make many mistakes, they do a lot of things right, they pitch well and hit the ball well. We’re going to have to be at our best in order to have a chance, but we’re capable.”
Like Breckenridge, Plato has a loaded group of seniors and super-seniors. They racked up 17 wins in the Legion season and 19 in their high school campaign. They fell to Perham, Minnesota, in the high school state tournament by a score of 10-9.
“They have 14 seniors on their team. They’re really experienced and they’ve won a lot of baseball games,” Hiedeman said. “On paper they won the same amount of games as us, but the difference is that they play a lot of triple-A schools in high school and we didn’t.”
Plato is a town with a rich history of successful baseball teams.
“They’re in the state amateur tournament every year. Last year they won the Class C state championship in amateur,” Hiedeman said. “I don’t know if some of those players play on their amateur team, but my guess is they probably do.”
To get to this summer’s state tournament, they had to beat Le Sueur, Minnesota, who won state last year. They came through the loser’s bracket and topped the defending champs twice, which shows they have plenty of solid pitchers on the roster.
Who will be on the mound for Post 53 is still undetermined. It will either be the veteran Mitch Porter or the young gun Connor Twidwell.
“Mitch is a super-senior and he’s been around the block a few times. This isn’t his first rodeo. He’s tough on the mound and it’s hard not to go with your guy that you’ve relied on in a lot of big games,” Hiedeman said. “Connor’s had some really good outings and he’s looked good. We’re better defensively the way we match up with Connor pitching.”
For coverage of the tournament opener, make sure to read Sunday’s Daily News.