The Alexandria Post 87 Legion baseball team used a dramatic comeback to punch its ticket to the title game of its 4th of July tournament this past weekend before ultimately finishing second in a 6-4 loss to Worthington on Sunday night.
Alexandria found itself trailing Oakdale 14-6 going to the bottom of the seventh in the semifinals on Saturday. Post 87 has shown an ability to battle back all summer, and they did so again by scoring nine runs to walk off with a 15-14 win. That came after Blake Stockert had thrown a no-hitter in helping his team come away with a 14-0 win in five innings against Thunder Bay in the opener.
"For the most part, I think we did a good job," head coach Jake Munsch said. "Obviously, you want to come out of there winning the tournament and every loss is a sting. I was saying it's amazing how the emotions of this game can change within 24 hours. Saturday night we were on a high and just excited about what happened, and Sunday we were hitting a low spot wishing we would have won the tournament."
Alexandria couldn't bunch the necessary hits together in the championship game. Ben Allen had a two-RBI double in the third, but Post 87 didn't score again until they put up two in the seventh, highlighted by an RBI single from Nick Knoblach.
Allen got the start and went the first five innings before giving way to Parker Bowden in the sixth. Allen limited the damage through the first four innings before Worthington scored four of its six runs behind five singles in the inning.
"They're a pretty good team," Munsch said of Worthington. "They could hit the ball. They threw a left handed pitcher, very slow, nothing special. We just couldn't stay back or get anything going offensively. Allen pitched a good game. They just came out ahead in the end."
Post 87 used its best rally of the season to get to that game with the 15-14 win over Oakdale in the semifinals. Alexandria started with a flurry, scoring three runs and loading the bases with nobody out. They didn't stop until Patrick Leary sent his team home with a game-winning single up the middle. That gave Oakdale a stunning loss, despite the fact that they had 14 runs on 22 hits and no errors on defense.
"To be honest, it was tough to think it was going to happen," Munsch said. "It was in the back of your mind, but you think this would be ridiculous if it did. We had scored three runs and had the bases loaded with no outs, and we had the top of the order coming up. Pretty soon you could tell the kids started believing it again."
Post 87 didn't need that kind of offense in the tournament opener as Blake Stockert tossed a no-hitter in the 14-0 win over Thunder Bay. The lefty walked just one and struck out six on his way to the shutout.
Alexandria made it easy on him by scoring in each of the first four innings. Post 87 led 7-0 before putting up seven more in the fourth inning. Zach Peterson had two hits, two walks, three runs scored and an RBI to lead the way offensively.
The two wins over the weekend moved Alexandria 15-4 on the summer. Post 87 was scheduled to be in Fergus Falls for a doubleheader last night, Tuesday, before going to the Gopher Classic Tournament in St. Paul this weekend.
WORTHINGTON 001 140 0 - 6
ALEX 002 000 2 - 4
ALEX PITCHING - Allen - L, 5IP, 9H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 4SO; Bowden - 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO
ALEX OFFENSE - P. Leary - Mitch Thompson - 1-2, BB, 2 runs; Allen - 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Cody McLaughlin - 0-1, 2 BB; Knoblach - 1-4, RBI; Beau Backhaus - 1-3, 1 run; Grant Becker - 1-2, 1 run
OAKDALE 032 052 2 - 14
ALEX 003 003 9 - 15
ALEX PITCHING - Bowden - 3IP, 10H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, 1SO; Chris Leary - 1IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 1SO; Beau Backhaus - 3IP, 9H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 1SO
ALEX OFFENSE - Peterson - 1-4, BB, 2 runs; P. Leary - 3-5, 2 runs; Toby Helgeson - 1-3, 1 run, 2 BB; Thompson - 1-1, 2 BB, 1 run; Allen - 2-5, 1 run; Bowden - 2-4, 2 runs; Knoblach - 2-5, 1 run; Ben Kluver - 1-1, BB, 1 run
THUNDER BAY 000 00 - 0
ALEX 421 7X - 14 15 0
ALEX PITCHING - Stockert - W, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 6SO
ALEX OFFENSE - Peterson - 2-2, 2 BB, 3 runs, RBI; P. Leary - 2-3, 1 run, RBI; Helgeson - 1-2, 1 run; Thompson - 2-2, 2 runs, RBI; Allen - 2-2, BB, 2 runs, RBI; Christian Anderson - 1-1, 1 run; Knoblach - 1-3; Backhaus - 2-3, 1 run; Becker - 1-1, 1 run; McLaughlin - 1-3