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VFW 15s defeat VFW 16s 3-2

Brock Anderson throws off the mound during the Alexandria VFW 15s' 3-2 victory over the VFW 16s on Wednesday afternoon at Knute Nelson Ballpark.

Brock Anderson picked up 13 strikeouts in six innings on Wednesday afternoon to lead the Alexandria VFW 15s baseball team to a 3-2 league victory over the older VFW 16s at Knute Nelson Ballpark.

With a win in the final game on the schedule for both teams, the VFW 15s were crowned the regular season district champions while the older VFW 16s finished either second or third.

VFW 16s stating pitcher Henry Wirtjes did his best to keep his team in the ballgame. He went six innings and only allowed three runs on five hits.

But the VFW 16s could not get the bats going against Anderson, who allowed only one hit and two runs in his six innings of work.

“He’s the ace of the team, he did really well,” Wirtjes said about Brock Anderson’s performance. “His curve ball was working, his fastball was working. He was definitely on, better than he usually is.”

The VFW 15s struck first in the game, giving Anderson a 2-0 lead before he even reached the mound. Connor Hammerback and Anderson both scored on a Hunter Schoenrock double for a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

Meanwhile Anderson was cruising on the mound, striking out the side in the first three innings. Anderson said he felt his control got better on the mound as the game progressed.

“I felt all right,” he said. “I got my curveball down; I started throwing strikes later in the game.”

The VFW 16s finally managed to get on the board in the fourth when Wyatt Wittenburg drove in two RBIs on a single, the only hit of the game for the VFW 16s. The two runs tied the game 2-2.

“It boosted our confidence a little bit,” Wittenburg said about his hit. “It helped our pitcher Henry, who was pitching a great game.”

But the VFW 15s grabbed a permanent lead in the sixth inning as Schoenrock came through again. After Jake Drew reached on a single and stole second base, Schoenrock drove him in with a single for a 3-2 lead.

Drew set the VFW 16s down in order for a seventh inning save, solidifying the 3-2 victory.

VFW 15s head coach Beau Backhaus said the kids had been waiting for their opportunity to play their older classmates for years, and they finally made the most of that opportunity on Wednesday.

“It was good for them to come out and show them what they’ve got and show that older kids don’t always win,” Backhaus said.

VFW 16s 1, VFW 15s 0

The VFW 16s got some revenge on the VFW 15s in the second game with a 1-0 victory in five innings.

Jack Nettleton scored the only run of the game on an RBI groundout by Broderick Nelson in the fifth inning.

Cole McLaughlin, Henry Waage and Quinn Gibson pitched one scoreless inning each for the VFW 16s, and Jared Gessel tossed two scoreless innings.

Micah Christenson pitched one scoreless inning for the VFW 15s, and Brady Burgau tossed three innings and allowed only one unearned run.

The first game of the doubleheader was the only one that counts toward the league standings.