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Alexandria Legion defeats Osakis 3-1 in tournament championship

Alexandria second baseman Grant Toivonen tags out Lane Berberich on a stolen base attempt in the first inning of Sunday's Fourth of July Tournament championship game at Knute Nelson Ballpark. Alexandria defeated Osakis in the game 3-1. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Alexandria Legion baseball team capped off a strong Fourth of July Tournament for its pitching staff with a 3-1 victory against Osakis on Sunday afternoon at Knute Nelson Ballpark.

The Osakis Legion team was forced to settle for second place after outscoring its opponents 31-10 in the weekend’s first three games. Parker Bowden kept Alexandria’s streak of strong pitching alive against Osakis by only allowing one unearned run in seven innings.

“I felt real well,” Bowden said. “I knew what I had to do to keep the ball low and let them hit it into our defense and let them do the work.”

The start was actually the second for Bowden in the tournament as he threw four innings against Glenwood on Friday. Alexandria’s pitchers allowed a combined total of five runs in the tournament’s four games.

Jordan Frederick, who pitched a total of three games in the tournament, kept Osakis within striking distance by only allowing two earned runs over six innings.

“I did as much as I could, I had a good defense behind me,” Frederick said. “It was tough coming off pitching the last two days, but I did as much as I could to help our team and they did as much as they could to help me out, too.”

Alexandria kicked off the scoring on Sunday in the bottom of the first inning with a RBI single from Travis Krueger to plate Mitch Thompson.

Alexandria scored two more runs in the third inning as Grant Toivonen scored on a fielder’s choice and Cody McLaughlin singled in Parker Revering with two outs.

Osakis had scoring threats in both the fourth and fifth innings before Drew Fearing finally crossed home plate in the sixth on an error, making the score 3-1. But Osakis was unable to take advantage of an opportunity with runners on first and third with only one out in the sixth. Bowden then capped off the tournament by only allowing one Osakis base runner in the seventh, a single off the bat of Lane Berberich.

After having a few offensive struggles earlier in the season, Alexandria felt the tournament was a nice step in the right direction as it scored a combined 35 runs in four games.

“We came up with big hits, three runs, and if it wasn’t for Parker Bowden and his outstanding pitching, I don’t know if we would have won that game,” Krueger said about the Alexandria offense Sunday.

Alexandria started the tournament with two victories on Friday night – 15-1 against Glenwood and 11-1 versus Oakdale. A Saturday night win 6-2 against North St. Paul gave Alexandria a spot in the championship game.

Alexandria head coach Jake Munsch expects the team’s recent strong play to be a good sign moving forward.

“I think we’re over the hump,” Munsch said. “The previous week we really struggled to get some runs scored, and I came to the guys the last practice and said, ‘We have a new season starting now.’ Since then we are 6-0.”

Osakis also had a strong start to the tournament, winning a Friday night game against Worthington 15-4. They followed that with a 5-0 victory over Oakdale and an 11-6 win against Glenwood to earn a spot in the tournament’s title game.

Osakis head coach Shad Schmidt felt they played well again on Sunday and ran into some strong starting pitching.

“Other than the first inning, I felt the team played pretty good,” Schmidt said. “Jordan gave us a chance to win, our offense was slow to get started and that’s a credit to their pitcher, too.”