The Winona VFW Buddies baseball team looks to extend their perfect start to the season today when they host Red Wing in a First District League game at 5:00 at Cotter Fields. The Buddies are off to an 8-0 start, one year after finishing second at the State VFW tournament. Red Wing should provide a good test for the Buddies today. Red Wing is second in the league standings behind Winona and Red Wing’s high school team qualified for this year’s Class 3A state tournament.
Winona returned just three players from last year’s state tournament team and Buddies’ head coach Matt O’Brien says he’s surprised at their undefeated start because it usually takes some time for his team to gel since they bring in Winona High and Cotter kids to play together.
The pitching has been nothing short of phenomenal in the Buddies first eight games. Winona pitchers have given up one run or less in seven of their eight games this season. Chris Hansen and Garrett Block have led a balanced offensive attack. Hansen is hitting .500 with 5 runs scored and 8 RBIs while Block is batting .461 with 11 runs scored and 3 RBI.
The Buddies did have one game suspended because of rain earlier in June and Winona trailed Cannon Falls 4-1 in the top of the sixth when it was suspended. The two teams are currently trying to find a date to finish up that game. Cannon Falls will also be one of the stronger teams in the First District this summer and its high school team made it to the Class AA state tournament.
The Winona Chiefs are also in action tonight and they will host Pine Island at Gabrych Park at 7:30. The Chiefs are 10-5 overall and 8-3 in league play.