Tough competition for Legion at Gopher ClassicThe Alexandria team faced some powerful opponents over the weekend.
The Garden Center/Fat Daddy’s Alexandria American Legion baseball team had a tough five games in a loaded field of 48 teams at the Gopher Classic this past weekend.
Alexandria dropped all five as the offense struggled to bunch together hits and put up enough runs to get the job done. They suffered a disheartening loss in the opener and could not get going after that.
“Our pitching and our defense have been very solid,” coach Kevin Engebretson said. “We have played the game hard, but you have got to hit the ball to win, and we haven’t been doing that.”
Grand Rapids 5,
The final game of the weekend saw Alexandria drop another low-scoring game to a strong Grand Rapids team.
Karl Brezina started on the mound and gave his team a chance, allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts. He also drove in one of his team’s two runs, along with Colin Erickson. Zac Beireis led the team with two hits.
That was not quite enough as Alexandria was retired in order in the sixth and seventh innings.
Rapid City 5,
Dalton Leuschke collected the only RBI for Alexandria as two-run innings in the third and seventh gave Rapid City a win to open up play on Sunday.
Nate Nelson threw a complete game in the loss. He allowed four earned runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out one. His offense got seven hits, but the inability to bunch those hits together resulted in a loss.
Detroit Lakes 4,
Alexandria out-hit Detroit Lakes 10-5 but those 10 hits resulted in just two runs in a tight game on Saturday.
Shawn Krueger started on the mound and took a tough loss. He threw a complete game and allowed just one earned run on five hits and a walk. He struck out six.
“Shawn pitched his best game of the summer for us and that’s what we needed,” Engebretson said. “He did an awesome job.”
It was not quite enough, as Alexandria could not deliver a big blow with runners in scoring position. Erickson, Ross Thompson and Luc Beireis each had two hits apiece. Leuschke and Erickson added an RBI apiece.
St. Louis Park 9,
St. Louis Park controlled this game from the get-go by scoring runs in each of the first four innings.
A two-run first and a three-run fourth gave them a 7-3 lead at the midway point of the game. St. Louis Park added to that in the sixth and seventh with lone runs to put the game away.
“This was the one game that we really played poorly,” Engebretson said. “We didn’t move on from the Excelsior game, and that can’t happen.”
Excelsior 7, Alexandria 6
Alexandria’s best chance to pick up a win came in the opening game of the tournament.
They went into the bottom of the seventh leading 6-4 before host Excelsior put together a three-run inning that was capped off by a two-out, two-RBI single into right field that ended the game in walk-off fashion.
“It really was a tough one to take,” Engebretson said. “We played so well all game and just like that it was over. Pretty heartbreaking way to open a tournament.”
Alexandria jumped out to a 5-1 lead after a three-run third was followed by a two-run fourth. Thompson led the team with three hits, while Parker Giroux walked twice and scored twice.
That looked like it would be plenty of offense with Erickson on the mound. He went five innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks. His 11 strikeouts were the most he has racked up in a single game this summer. He left with a one-run lead after the fifth, but Excelsior rallied to spoil his solid start.
Alexandria hoped to get past a rough weekend and focus on wrapping up District 7 play with a perfect record. They were 3-0 heading into a nine-inning game against Litchfield on Tuesday night. A win would have given them the No. 1 seed for the tournament.
District playoffs will be played in New London-Spicer this year on the weekend of July 24-26. The state tournament follows the first weekend in August in New Ulm.
“We keep talking about having a plan at the plate, communicating, playing defense, throwing strikes, playing hard, picking each other up and playing the game the right way,” Engebretson said. “If we keep doing those things, we’ll be great.
“The nice thing is we are still in the driver’s seat in our district. I feel we have a great shot at making it a long way in the postseason. This stuff is all just good experience for us to learn from. Right now, I think our bats have simply hit the edge of a really big dam and very soon that dam will break.”
ALEXANDRIA 000 020 0 – 2 6 1
GRAND RAPIDS 201 020 X – 5 5 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Karl Brezina – (L) 5IP, 5H, 5R, 4ER, 1BB, 3SO; John Mohror – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 0SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Zac Beireis – 2-3, 1 run; Tyler Iverson – 1-2, 1 run; Colin Erickson – 1-3, RBI; Brezina – 1-3, RBI; Luc Beireis – 1-3
RAPID CITY 002 010 2 – 5 8 1
ALEXANDRIA 000 010 0 – 1 7 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Nate Nelson – (L) 7IP, 8H, 5R, 4ER, 3BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Z. Beireis – 2-4; Dalton Leuschke – 1-2, RBI; Erickson – 1-3; Ross Thompson – 1-2; Parker Giroux – 1-3; Mark Whiting – 1-3, 1 run
DETROIT LAKES 012 010 0 – 4 5 0
ALEXANDRIA 002 000 0 – 2 10 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Shawn Krueger – (L) 7IP, 5H, 4R, 1ER, 1BB, 6SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Z. Beireis – 1-4, 1 run; Giroux – BB; Leuschke – 1-3, RBI; Erickson – 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB; Brezina – 1-4; Thompson – 2-2, BB; L. Beireis – 2-3; Lucas Betterman – 1-2; Whiting – 2 BB, 1 run
ST. LOUIS PARK 211 301 1 – 9 12 1
ALEXANDRIA 111 000 0 – 3 6 3
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Kyle Bany – (L) 2IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 2SO; Eric Lehn – 5IP, 9H, 6R, 5ER, 4BB, 2SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Z. Beireis – 1-3, 1 run, BB; Giroux – 2-3, 1 run; Erickson – RBI; Brezina – BB; Thompson – 2-3, 1 run; L. Beireis – 1-3, RBI
ALEXANDRIA 003 201 0 – 6 7 0
EXCELSIOR 001 030 3 – 7 10 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Colin Erickson – 5IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 11SO; John Mohror – (L) 1 2/3IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 0SO; Karl Brezina – 0+IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Z. Beireis – 1-3, 1 run, BB; Giroux – 2 BB, 2 runs; Leuschke – 1-3, 1 run, RBI; Erickson – 1-2, RBI, BB; Brezina – 1-4, RBI; Thompson – 3-4; Krueger – BB; Betterman – BB, 1 run; Whiting – 1 run