Stockert shuts down Perham in playoff opening win for Alex Legion
PERHAM — Starting pitcher Blake Stockert threw a three-hit shutout and jacked a two-run insurance homer late in the game as No. 4 Alexandria advanced out of the first round of play at the Sub State 14 American Legion baseball tournament Thursday afternoon with a 5-0 victory over the No. 5 Thief River Falls Bandits.
“Our hitting was off today,” Stockert said. “That’s not like us. I guess I got my own insurance."
Stockert hit the home run with Travis Krueger aboard to cap a three-run eighth inning to push the lead to 5-0. Stockert hit for the designated hitter Cody McLaughlin in Stockert’s only plate appearance.
Stockert and Thief River Falls’ starter Nick Hoffard battled for six scoreless innings.
Leadoff hitter Grant Toivenen singled in Parker Bowden for the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh and a 1-0 lead. Toivenen scored on a double by Casey Hammerback to put Alexandria up 2-0.
Mitch Thompson singled and scored on an error in deep right centerfield giving Alex a three-run cushion and setting up Stockert’s homer that chased Hoffard from the game with one away in the seventh.
Stockert kept Thief River Falls in check with a nasty breaking ball that confounded Bandit hitters.
“That’s probably the best I’ve ever thrown it, to be honest,” said Stockert. “I’ve never been that confident with it. I could just throw it for strikes and was really happy with it.”
Stockert allowed only one Bandit on base in the final four innings. Chris Sanders reached first base when a Stockert curve ball got away, hitting Sanders.
Alex outhit the Bandits 13-3.
Alexandria awaits the winner of No. 1 Moorhead and No. 8 Detroit Lakes, the 1 p.m. game in Perham.
“We’re a great team and I know we’re going to come out on top in this tournament,” Stockert said.
No. 2 East Grand Forks plays No. 7 Fergus Falls at 4 p.m. At 7 p.m. No. 3 Perham takes on No. 6 Bemidji.
TRF 000 000 000 — 0 3 1
ALX 000 000 23x — 5 13 1
ALX: Stockert (WP) and Thompson.
TRF: Hoffard (LP), Rima (8), C. Sanders (8) and L. Sanders.