Through these doors happiness is found | Chaska Sports
The Park Cottage Grove players got off the bus, walked through the Athletic Park gate and approached the canoe on first base. Some just stood, looking at the playing field. Others glanced around, pointing in various directions.
For the past five years, the state’s Class AAAA Baseball Tournament has hosted quarterfinal and semi-final games at CHS Field, home of now triple-A Minnesota Twins affiliate St. Paul Saints. There are bells and whistles that excite teenagers; and make the spectator process top notch as well.
But the same goes for Chaska Athletic Park, a 2021 replacement for schools in the metro area.
Traditionally the home of the state’s Class A baseball tournament, the field hosted more than 3,600 spectators on day one of four games. Southwest Transit had buses and a cart going up and down First Avenue to pick up fans on foot from their cars.
About 1,700 more returned for two semi-final games and for third place, making the 2021 tournament the second largest high-profile crowd since 2007, excluding the championship game.
These are Athletic Park versus CHS Field, Siebert Field at the University of Minnesota and the former Midway Stadium in St. Paul, as previous host grounds.
The looks on the players’ faces as they entered Athletic Park – those who saw it in all its glory for the first time – were shocked, amazed. Chaska High School baseball coach Craig Baumann, who is on the field team, said some were surprised to learn that the Hawks varsity team trained and played there every day. of the season.
The two-day state tournament brought some excitement; a victory from behind for Minnetonka over seeded Stillwater. He brought excitement; a five-point first run capped off by an impressive home run from Farmington’s Carter Hendrickson, which calmed Skipper’s loyalists in the semifinals.
He brought good baseball. Park and Farmington have won twice in front of full stands with spectators walking up and down the first and third base lines to advance to the championship round at Target Field.
It was a victory for everyone. The Minnesota State High School League, the Town of Chaska, the Chaska Cubs – 500 burgers were sold on the first day of the tournament – and the teams.
Over a week later, over 75 seniors from across the state gathered for the annual Play Ball! Minnesota Star Series. And while Mother Nature produced a last canceled round of play, all of the teams lined up twice, producing more memories for a memorable final year in high school.
Walking the halls of Athletic Park during the school season, the walls are lined with clippings of Dale Welter from former all-star teams. You will find the names of the major leagues including Joe Mauer, Jack Hannahan and Glen Perkins. The show has a great story, and it all happened at Athletic Park.
If you missed both tournaments, don’t worry, there are still some great opportunities to visit one of the state’s finest ball parks. Watch a Chaska Cubs game! Help the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Association reach 20,000 spectators at its state tournament in August and September. An unprecedented number since the 1950s.
Athletic Park is co-host with Waconia with Hamburg the third venue. The last schedule calls for games at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays August 20, 27 and September 3; 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturdays, August 21, 28 and Sept. 4; and at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Sundays, August 22, 29 and Sept. 5.
The Class B State Championship is set for 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 5. A second match, if necessary, will be played after the Class C State Championship at noon on Monday, September 6 in Waconia.
IT’S AN ENVELOPE
Arriving at St. Michael-Albertville High School on June 19, the last coverage of the event for the 2020-21 school year, I was overwhelmed by the thought of “I can’t believe they have done it ”.
It was the Minnesota State High School League.
The season for the State Winter and Spring tournaments was a success.
Was it the same? Venues such as STMA, Champlin Park, and Edina have replaced Hamline University, the Maturi Pavilion, and the Target Center for athletics, gymnastics and state dance.
Were there large crowds for the indoor events? Not for the winter when the Xcel Energy Center wasn’t packed for state hockey. For the spring, the Sectional Baseball Championship crowds at Veterans’ Ground in Minnetonka showed that outdoor events had returned to normal.
Covering high school athletics for community newspapers from Olivia and Renville to Hutchinson and from McLeod County to Chaska and Chanhassen since 2005, the past nine months have been some of the most rewarding experiences.
Spring 2020 was dedicated to chatting with high school athletes; those who lost their last season.
Fall 2020 has been a roller coaster. Some sports started almost on time. Others like volleyball and soccer have had a late sport. Post-season tournaments have been relegated to regional events. Some had abrupt endings.
Winter 2021 has been shortened. Athletes, spectators and officials all wore masks. Webcast feeds represented the number of people who viewed the contests. Still, a postseason has been withdrawn. Chaska won a state title in women’s basketball, ending Hopkins’ 78-game winning streak.
The Chaska / Chanhassen boy swimmers repeated themselves as relay state champions. PJ Velazquez of the Storm Hawks reached the wrestling state semifinals. The Catholic Holy Family dance was watched from their school in Victoria as they were announced as winners for a second year in a row.
Spring 2021 brought the removal of the masks after a few weeks of competitions. The crowds began to grow; Terre Kemble’s world-famous hot dogs have returned for at least one night at Chanhassen High School with three section games underway.
Chaska Boys Golf and Chanhassen Boys Lacrosse, after so many near misses, both qualified for the state. Chanhassen softball and Minnetonka baseball were also back on state tournament grounds.
Conference titles were won, team banquets were organized. And perhaps more importantly, the students and their families attended the graduation ceremonies in person.
Thinking about the past year brings excitement for next year. We are only seven weeks or two to two a day!