Town ball team among 11 squads moving up
The Forest Lake Brewers are moving on up.
A Minnesota Baseball Association board recently reclassified the local town ball team into Class B, along with 10 other former Class C teams. Forest Lake has always played in Class C, the division of amateur baseball generally made up of teams from the smallest areas.
Most of the implications will not be felt until the postseason, as the Brewers will remain in the Metro Minny League. While Class B now has 43 teams, compared to 224 in Class C, Forest Lake manager Adam Gallatin said there is no doubt that the higher division’s state tournament will be tougher to advance in.
“The big difference will come in the playoffs,” he said. “It will be a step up in competition.”
Forest Lake moves up on the heels of nine consecutive winning seasons. That run of success is one reason the team was targeted for reclassification. The MBA board also looks at factors like population and school district size.
Class B, which has dwindled in size in recent years, consists in large part of teams from the south metro. MBA is now bulking the class up by adding several north metro teams. Fellow Metro Minny League members Anoka, Big Lake, Champlin and St. Francis will also switch to Class B. MBA denied petitions sent by St. Francis and five teams from other leagues which sought permission to stay in Class C.
Come the Class B playoffs, Forest Lake will compete in Section 2, along with its four familiar rivals from the Metro Minny League and defending Class C state champion Isanti.
Gallatin found out about the reclassification after it took place. He opposes the move, but understands the board’s motivations.
“Our preference is to be in Class C,” he said. “The Class C tournament is kind of the crown jewel in amateur baseball. It gets all the big crowds and the small towns that come in.”
The move is not all bad, Gallatin added. He takes the selection as a compliment.
“While the move to Class B was not our choice, it is clearly a recognition of the success we have had over the past decade,” he said.