Leaving no doubt
Alexandria took any air of uncertainty out of Perham’s Tuffy’s Stadium quickly Sunday afternoon and ended the Sub-State 14 championship game two innings early in a hitting barrage.
Toby Helgeson blasted a grand slam to highlight an eight-run second inning as the defending champions won their fourth straight game of the tournament, defeating the Moorhead Blues 19-3 to claim the title and punch their ticket to the state tournament.
“We just flat-out hit the ball all over the park,” said Head Coach Jake Munsch. “I could tell our guys were ready to play. We came here and took care of business today.”
It was part of a dominating tournament for an Alexandria team that has been hard to stop over the last month. Post 87 opened the tournament with a 5-0 win over Thief River Falls before winning 14-0 (Detroit Lakes) and 13-2 (Fergus Falls) to cement their spot in the championship.
In the first two innings of play on Sunday, seven Alexandria batters recorded at least one RBI and Alexandria led 11-0. Moorhead’s starting pitcher Derek Jorgenson went just 1 1/3 innings.
“I don’t want anyone to take anything away from Moorhead; that pitcher we faced shut us out last time we faced him,” Munsch said.
Alexandria came out hitting the ball hard, scoring three times in the first inning on singles by Mitch Thompson and Blake Stockert. Helgeson added a double and scored on Thompson’s hit. Travis Krueger also doubled to score Thompson and he scored on Stockert’s single for a 3-0 lead.
Rain delayed the game for 16 minutes in the third inning.
Stockert walked and scored on a 4-6-3 double play in the fourth inning to push across the 12th Alexandria run.
Drew Anderson got Moorhead on the scoreboard with an RBI double in the fourth inning to score Jason England who reached on a perfect bunt down the third base line to start the inning. Alexandria starter Danny Kuhn got out of the inning fanning three Blues looking. Kuhn went all seven innings, scattering seven hits and striking out seven to get the win.
The home plate umpire enforced two balk calls in the fourth, one on each team, both of which rattled the pitchers on the mound.
England moved to third base on the balk called on Kuhn and scored easily on Anderson’s double. Kuhn’s first pitch after the call was in the left-handed batter’s box.
The second balk call preceded a wild pitch that Mitch Thompson trotted home on after taking third on the balk to make the score 13-1.
Alexandria continued to pour on the offense, knocking reliever Austin Skjefte out in the sixth inning after scoring five more runs to increase the lead to 19-1.
All nine Alexandria starters recorded at least one hit. Stockert hit the ball hard all tournament. Sunday, he was 3-for-3 with two singles, a walk, a two-run homer and four RBIs. Helgeson finished 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Kris Setterstrom had three singles and one RBI.
Alexandria will play Friday, August 1 at 1 p.m. in Burnsville against the winner of Sub State 6 in the first round of the Minnesota American Legion State tournament.
“We want to go down there and win a couple of ballgames,” said Munsch. “Realistically, do we want to win it? Sure, we do, but from here on out every win is a bonus for us.”
Alexandria will take plenty of momentum into the state tournament. Post 87 has won 20 of their last 22 games since July 1. That gives them a record of 26-10 as they try to add to that this weekend.
ALX 380 125 0 — 19 19 1
MHD 000 102 0 — 3 7 4
ALX: Kuhn (WP) and Thompson
MHD: Jorgenson (LP), Skjefte, Anderson and Oberg
ALEXANDRIA 061 231 0 – 13
FERGUS FALLS 010 010 0 – 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Parker Bowden – W, 5IP, 5H, 3R, 1ER, 2BB, 6SO; Micah Hedstrom – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO; Chris Leary – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Thompson – 3-5, 2 runs; Helgeson – 4-4, BB, 2 runs; Spencer Lucas – 1-2, 2 BB, 1 run; Setterstrom – 0-3, BB; Parker Revering – 0-4, BB; Casey Hammerback – 2-5, 2 runs; Brody Erdman – 1-1; Cody Weisel – 0-1; Krueger – 1-5, 1 run; Stockert – 2-3, 2 runs; McLaughlin – 1-4, 2 runs
DETROIT LAKES 000 000 0 – 0
ALEXANDRIA 445 001 0 – 14
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Thompson – W, 4IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 4SO; Hedstrom – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO; Grant Hockert – 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 4SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Thompson – 3-4, 3 runs; Helgeson – 3-4, 3 runs; Lucas – 2-4; Setterstrom – 0-3, BB; Revering – 1-3, 1 run, RBI; Bowden – 0-3, BB; Hammerback – 3-5, 3 runs; Erdman – 0-1; Leary – 1-1; Weisel – 0-1; Krueger – 3-5, 2 runs; Stockert – 1-2, 2 BB, 3 runs
THIEF RIVER FALLS 000 000 000 – 0
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 230 – 5
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Stockert – W, 9IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 9SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Thompson – 2-4, 1 run; Toivonen – 3-5, 1 run; Helgeson – 1-5; Setterstrom – 1-3, BB; Revering – 1-4; Bowden – 1-3, BB, 1 run; Hammerback – 2-5; Krueger – 0-4, 1 run; Stockert – 1-1, 1 run; McLaughlin – 0-3