Either Press sports reporter Royal McGregor or I watched every game of the Central Plains Regional American Legion baseball tournament the past five days at Southside Municipal Ballpark.
Because the tournament doesn’t award an all-tournament team, just an MVP award given to Eden Prairie (Minn.) second baseman Tony Skjefte, I decided to give you our all-tournament team.
These are players who either put up great stats or impressed media members during the tournament.
Tony Skjefte, Eden Prairie: This one was a no-brainer. From day one, you never stopped hearing hearing Skjefte’s name over the Southside speakers. He had tournament bests of four home runs, a .571 batting average, 12 hits and 11 runs scored. He also had eight RBI.
Adam Bray, Eden Prairie: Bray opened the tournament with a complete-game, 13-strikeout shutout of Grand Island, Neb. He also had 10 hits, second only to Skjefte on his team.
Blake Schmit, Eden Prairie: You could basically fill this team with Eden Prairie players, but Schmit was there every time his team needed a boost. He had a tournament-best 12 RBI while batting 8-for-22 with three doubles and a homer.
Brandon Wessels, Carroll County: The speedy Wessels was the second-best hitter of the tournament behind only Skjefte. He had 10 hits, six RBI and three stolen bases. He also pitched.
Jake Esdohr, Carroll County: The shortstop was huge in the Merchants’ semifinal win over Mandan, going 4-for-5 with a triple and a RBI. He was 8-for-17 for the tournament.
Chris Halbur, Carroll County: Halbur pitched more innings than anyone in the tournament. He tossed 11 innings and struck out 15. He got saddled with a no-decision against Eden Prairie in the title game but was sharp, for the most part, through five innings.
Kyle Kubat, Omaha Pi Midwest: Kubat went 5-for-14 in the tournament, but of those five hits, he had two homers and two doubles. He also drove in six runs.
Alex Schultz, East Sioux Falls: The future D-I quarterback can also sling a baseball. He was his team’s most consistent player in the tournament. In an elimination game against Grand Island, he pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and one earned run while going 3-for-3 with 2 RBI from the plate.
Dwight Mack, Mandan: It was tough to pick a player from Mandan since they were all fairly similar in the tournament. Mack, the Chiefs’ catcher, stood out only because of his ability to consistently draw walks and eventually come around to score on them and because he had a tournament-leading three doubles.
Austin Malinowski, Lino Lakes: The Minnesota Twins draft pick went eight innings against Mandan, giving up just two runs and struck out eight as his team took a 2-2 tie into the ninth inning. When Lino Lakes’ coaching staff decided Malinowski’s arm had had enough, Mandan put up three runs on reliever Benny LaMere to win the game and eliminate Lino Lakes.