Mankato American set for state

The team opens up pool play against Northfield.
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -The Mankato American Legion baseball team is heading to this year’s state tournament in Rochester.

”We’re top 16 in the state so it’s a big deal for us,” said Collin Risting, American manager.

Making the state tournament field in the nation’s biggest Legion program is no small feat, but Mankato American is doing just that. It’s the culmination of what’s been a strong season that also includes a Mulvihill Invitational title.

“It’s just tremendous for our team, we’re able to all the hard work we’ve put in with each other and individually is really paying off,” said Nicholas Werk, American shortstop.

“Guys have just shown up and been ready to play ball. We get down on games and we never feel like we’re out of it, they just find a way to come back and win,” said Risting.

Making up the squad are many players from the Mankato East Cougars baseball team which finished as the runner-up in this year’s Section 2AAA baseball tournament.

A key piece to this year’s group is Nick Werk, a player who sets the tone by getting on base wreaking havoc.

“When I get on base, I feel like I can use my speed a lot more when I’m on base. I try to better myself and do what I can to help us win ball games,” said Werk.

To make a deep run at this year’s state legion tournament, the group will try to keep beating teams with small ball which American did so well at the sub-state competition.

“We just pushed a lot of runs across. We got our bunts down, hit sac flys, moved runners around bases. Did the little things right, and yeah, I think we’ll keep doing a good job of that,” said Riston Wojcik, American pitcher.

First up for Mankato American at this year’s American Legion Senior Division I state tournament is Northfield. The two will battle Thursday at 10:30 in the morning out at Mayo Field in Rochester. We’ll have an update on that game as well as game two which takes place at six, it’ll be American against Foley to wrap up the first day of pool play.

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