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American Legion state playoffs set to go

American Legion baseball teams from across Minnesota will be in Edina this weekend for the annual Minnesota American Legion State Tournament.

A total of 16 teams will play in the double-elimination tournament at Edina’s Braemar Field complex.

The winner of the tournament will advance to the regional tournament and possibly to the American Legion World Series held in North Carolina.

The tournament, with eight metro teams and eight outstate teams; will give baseball fans a true look at the best players from across Minnesota.

“We couldn’t ask for a better field,” said Channing Handberg, tournament director. “Completing the field was the last step in getting ready for this event that has taken three years and countless volunteer hours to produce.”

Last year the Edina Legion team beat Eden Prairie, the defending state and World Series champion to advance from state to regional competition.

The title was the community’s fifth state Legion title, tying them with rival Eden Prairie for the most in state history.

The 2013 field features a good mix of regular entrants and teams making their first or second appearance.

The tournament begins with teams in pool play with the top teams in each pool advancing to the Championship round.

The 2013 Field is as follows: Sub-state section 1: Rochester, 2: New Ulm, section 3: Eden Prairie, section 4: Excelsior, section 5: Burnsville, section 6: Apple Valley, section 7: Mahtomedi, section 8: Forest Lake, section 9: Chester Bird, section 10: Grand Rapids, section 11: Osseo, section 12: St. Cloud Chutes, section 13: St. Francis, section 14: Alexandria, 15: Cold Spring, Defending Champion: Edina

“This is a great field of teams. The best of the best,” said Edina Legion Coach Nick Kennedy. “Not only are there some great metro area teams like Eden Prairie, Chester Bird and Burnsville, but the out-state area is very well represented with strong programs coming from Grand Rapids, Rochester and Forest Lake.”

While tournament play starts Aug. 2, the tournament kicks off Thursday with an opening ceremony, followed by a Home Run Derby.