St. Louis Park baseball team enjoys first state tournament run in 70 years
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (FOX 9) - There’s still plenty of action at the ball park in St. Louis Park for the Orioles baseball team.
"We’re just a super loose and relaxed team that likes to play," St. Louis Park outfielder Kristofer Hokenson told FOX 9. "When something good happens, we get excited."
Excitement is plentiful this week for S.L.P. as they practice for what has already been a perfect way to end the season.
The Orioles are on their way to the Minnesota State High School League State Baseball Tournament next week.
"So often in St. Louis Park, we finish second or we’re middle of the pack," Orioles head coach Brian Kelly said. "Now going to the state tournament, it means so much to those kids."
It's a meaningful trip seven decades in the making. The year 1952 is the last time SLP baseball made it this far in a season.
"There’s a trophy in the trophy case and it says 1952, and I confirmed that that was the (last) one," Kelly said. "It’s an insane amount of time to pass."
A well-known fact around school for a team that is becoming the talk of town.
"When they see us doing what we’re doing, it kind of spreads like wildfire," St. Louis Park pitcher Stefano Giovannelli said of the community’s recent support. "Seeing everybody come out (to our games) is awesome."
A historic accomplishment, but this season the team is being motivated by recent history when a state tournament berth slipped away from St. Louis Park last year.
"We lost in the section final last year," Kelly said. "We huddled in front of the dugout [after the game] and we made a promise to bust our butts to get back here."
This Orioles team will be remembered for reaching this stage, but they are a group wanting this memorable ride to keep going.
"We know we can do more damage," Giovannelli said. "Getting that section championship, that’s not where we stop. We keep going."
The MSHSL Baseball Tournament begins on Tuesday, July 14.