Delano Athletics are headed back to the Minnesota Baseball Association State Tournament. The A’s claimed the Region 12C title on August 16 defeating top seed Buffalo Bulldogs 16-5. The victory was sweet for Delano who capped the 11-day tournament by avenging its lone lose, 4-3, just two days prior. It also took some sting away from 2019 region tournament when the top seeded Athletics were eliminated in two games – the second against the same Bulldogs.
After an abbreviated regular season which did not begin until late June due to COVID-19 restrictions, Delano (8-2) finished second behind Buffalo (10-0) in the North Star League. Back-to-back losses vs Howard Lake and Buffalo were the lone setbacks for the Athletics.
Delano opened region play with victories over Maple Plain Diamond Devils (2-1) and Loretto Larks (10-8). The Athletics next met the Bulldogs in the winners bracket final with Buffalo scoring in the seventh inning to pull out a 4-3 win.
After a day off Delano came into the final day knowing they would need to win two games in one day to win the championship. Facing the Howard Lake Orphans the A’s jumped out to a 3-0 advantage. Howard Lake fought back, but Delano would prove best winning 4-3.
With less than an hour to rest, the Delano offense jumped early and often in the final against Buffalo. Former Minnesota Gophers standout Toby Hanson produced throughout the game, including driving in the opening run, going 5-for-6 and 5 RBI.
The game was never in doubt as Delano scored three times in the opening frame. At the end of six the advantage had grown to 11-4. Hanson would clinch it with his fifth RBI in the eighth to help the Athletics win by the 10-run rule.
As Region 12C champion, the Delano Athletics (20-4) earned a first round bye in the MBA Class C State Tournament. Their next game is scheduled for August 29 in Milroy. The opponent will be the winner of the first round matchup between the Clinton Cards (12-5) and Carver Black Sox (9-11). That game is scheduled for August 23 in Springfield.