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Resorters baseball: Alexandria beats Sauk Centre in East play

Alexandria's Pat Leary pitches during the first inning against Sauk Centre at Knute Nelson Ballpark on Sunday night. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria Black Sox improved to 8-4 in the Resorters Baseball League with a 7-5 win over East Division foe Sauk Centre on Sunday night.

The Black Sox led 4-0 after two innings before three straight errors to start the sixth inning helped the Titans tie things up at four apiece. Sauk Centre took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh, but Alexandria answered right back.

Chris Beach led off the bottom of the seventh with a single before Jordan Domine doubled him in. Pat Leary then hit a ground ball into the hole between short and third that deflected off the shortstop's glove and into the outfield grass for the go-ahead run.

"It was kind of a reality check," player-coach Chris Curry said. "We had an early lead, but once they took the lead it kind of gave us a second wind to get back out there and start playing again. Our team has always been like that. Whenever we make a mistake, we never give up. We'll always bounce back. It's fun to play with these guys because they always keep their heads up."

Curry ended up getting the win after two innings on the mound in relief. He fanned the side in the eighth inning and allowed the one run in the seventh. Beau Backhaus came on in the ninth and got the save by striking out two and retiring the side in order.

Leary started for Alexandria and threw six solid innings in a no-decision. The former Cardinal is usually behind the plate at catcher, but he has gotten back on the mound for a few appearances this summer.

All four of the runs he allowed in the sixth were unearned Leary gave up six singles, a walk and struck out three. He relied predominantly on his fastball as the Titans struggled to square it up most of the night. He mixed in a curve ball every once in a while too.

"I've pitched a couple times but other than with the Black Sox I don't think I've pitched since VFW," Leary said. "It's fun to see how hard you can throw and see how well you can do in games like these where it's close and to battle back and see how long you can actually go for."

For the Black Sox, this season has been a bit of a reunion for a lot of guys who played together in the high school program recently. The folding of Clarissa from the Resorters League allowed Alexandria to take their spot this summer, and the Black Sox have made the most of their first year back with.

"It's always fun to come out and play sports with your friends," Leary said. "We got our whole squad back from the high school team from my sophomore year and on. It's fun. It's a really relaxed environment, kind of a new type of baseball that we like to play."

Leary reached base three times on two walks and the single in the seventh. His former classmate, Backhaus, reached four times and scored three runs. Beach also added two hits, a walk and three runs scored from the fourth spot in the lineup.

The win helped Alexandria keep pace near the top of the East Division with Carlos. The Cougars beat the Black Sox 18-8 on Saturday as the two teams split the regular-season series with each other. Carlos then fell 8-4 to Long Prairie on Sunday night. Both teams now have four losses in the league and are competing for that top spot in the East.

That's an exciting place for Alexandria to be in its first season back in the league.

"It would be definitely really cool to make regionals, which we have a chance for," Curry said. "Obviously everyone wants to go to state, but we'll take it one game at a time."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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