by Dennis Dalman
Starting this Sunday, the Sartell Muskies will have a shot at the state amateur baseball championship when they take on Waterville beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Dick Putz Field at the Municipal Athletic Complex in St. Cloud.
The next championship games will take place with 16 teams at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at Putz Field. On Sunday, Sept. 2 there will be two championship play-off games among eight teams, also at Putz Field — at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The final championship game will take place at noon Monday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day) at Putz Field.
This is the 89th year of the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Championship Tournament.
The Muskies were state champions in 1992, and this weekend will be the team’s eighth time as state-champion contenders. They competed in 1979, 1980, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993 and 2006.
The state tournament games will take place during the next three weekends at Putz Field and Joe Faber Field. In their 1992 championship, the Muskies won five out of five games.
Last weekend, the Muskies won the regional play-offs, winning three games in Hinckley. The team has not lost a game since July 13 when the St. Joseph Saints defeated them. So far, the Muskies have a season record of 22 wins-8 losses. A member of the Lakeville League, the Muskies compete in the Class C Division.
Randy Beckstrom is the Muskies manager, now in his 24th season with the team.
“I think we have a good chance of winning,” he said. “I’m pretty confident. We have a solid team, and we have as good a chance as any of winning. It’s been a great year for us.”
A graduate of Sartell High School, Beckstrom joined the Muskies in 1989, as a pitcher and center-fielder. He was a member of the team when it won the 1992 state championship, at which time he was playing center field.