REGION 7C TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Four teams vying for two remaining state tournament bids

The first two state tournament bids from Region 7C have already been claimed. The Green Isle Irish and the Waconia Lakers have already secured their spots in the Class C state tournament. That leaves two spots up for grabs as the final weekend approaches.
The Green Isle Irish pulled off a pair of upsets on weekend one as the No. 5 seed. After knocking off No. 4 Mayer in convincing fashion, the Irish knocked off top-seeded Watertown in extra innings to clinch their state tournament bid.
The Waconia Lakers are also headed to the state tournament. As the No. 3 seed, the Lakers took care of business with a 1-0 win over Brownton in the opening round. In round two, Waconia clinched a spot at the state tournament with a 3-0 win over Carver. The Black Sox were coming off an upset win over Plato in the first round.
With two spots already secured from Region 7C, the final weekend will determine which other two teams will be headed to the state tournament along with crowing a Region 7C champion.
(1) Watertown vs (2) Plato
Coming into the Region 7C Tournament, both the Watertown Red Devils and the Plato Bluejays seemed to be locked in for state tournament bids. After a thrilling first weekend of the Region 7C Tournament, one of these teams will be heading home.
Watertown opened the region tournament by sneaking by the Glencoe Brewers in extra innings. In their second game against Green Isle, the Red Devils were unable to rally as they fell to the losers bracket setting up a must-win game if they want to make the state tournament for a fourth year in a row.
The Bluejays responded after an opening-round loss to Carver to keep their season alive. Needing a win over Brownton to get to the state qualifier game, Plato kept their season alive with a 4-3 win over the Brownton Bruins.
The matchup between the Red Devils and Bluejays looks to be one of the best of the tournament so far. With everything on the line, expect both teams to lean on their pitching staffs throughout as that’s been their strength. You might not see one guy go all nine innings as both teams look to keep their season alive and secure their spot at the state tournament.
(4) Mayer vs (7) Carver
The second of two state qualifier/elimination games will be another exciting one. Both teams have picked up impressive wins over the first weekend but dropped one game as well. After dropping their tournament opener against Green Isle, the Blazers bounced back to keep their season alive with a win over Glencoe thanks to a dominant performance on the mound by Blake Tritch.
The Carver Black Sox opened the tournament with an impressive win over No. 2 Plato. In a state qualifier game against Waconia, the Black Sox couldn’t get the offense going as they fell to the losers bracket with a 3-0 loss to the Lakers.
It will be an interesting matchup between the two teams. Mayer will be looking for the first state tournament appearance since 1995. The Black Sox are looking to get back after their five-year stretch of state tournament appearances was snapped last year.
With Mayer’s game against Glencoe pushed to Monday, that gives Tritch one less day to get ready for the matchup with Carver. If he can’t go, expect Jackson Thielen, Kevin Walsh, and Seth Luther to eat up some innings. Veteran Josh Anthony could also be an arm the Blazers lean on as well.
For Carver, expect ace Bailey Melz to toe the rubber for the Black Sox in a must-win game. Melz has been able to deliver time and time again for his team this season on the mound and at the plate.
(5) Green Isle vs (3) Waconia
The two teams who have yet to lose a game this tournament are the Waconia Lakers and Green Isle Irish. The two will face off Saturday afternoon for a trip to the Region 7C championship game.
The Irish come into the second weekend playing some of their best ball of the season picking up wins over Mayer and Watertown. They’ve done it two different ways. The offense carried the load in the first game against Mayer while it was pitching that led them back to the state tournament for the first time since 2019 with the win over Watertown.
For Waconia, they scored just four runs in the span of two games but still managed to go 2-0. Pitching and defense were the keys for the Lakers as they are in the driver’s seat being just one win away from the Region 7C championship game.
The matchup between the two is a battle between two completely different teams. The Irish are a young and talented team on the rise while the Lakers are one of the most experienced teams in the league and have the talent to mix with that.
For in-game updates and coverage throughout the second weekend of the Region 7C Tournament, check out and follow Kip Kovar on Twitter/X. @Kovar_HJSports

Thursday, Aug. 10 (Region 7C Tournament)
Watertown vs. Plato (at Hamburg, 7:30 p.m.)

Friday, Aug. 11 (Region 7C Tournament)
Carver vs. Mayer (at Hamburg, 7:30 p.m.)

Saturday, Aug. 12 (Region 7C Tournament)
Waconia vs. Green Isle (at Hamburg, 12 p.m.)
Winner of Thursday vs. Winner of Friday, (at Hamburg, 3 p.m.)
Loser of Waconia/GI vs. Winner of Game 2 (at Hamburg, 6 p.m.)

Sunday, Aug. 13 (Region 7C Tournament)
Region 7C Championship Game (at Hamburg, 10 a.m.)