The Fat Daddy’s Alexandria American Legion Post 87 baseball team kicked off its summer by winning three straight games after dropping its opener last week.
Post 87 swept a doubleheader against Fergus Falls on Thursday and split against Brainerd to open the season the night before.
“We have a very young team this summer,” head coach Kevin Engebretson said. “But so far, I have been very impressed with their desire to compete and play hard every time out. It may take a little while at the plate for some of those younger guys, but they will pick it up pretty quick.”
Fergus Falls 4
Alexandria got a walk-off winner from Grant Becker in a 5-4 win over the Otters to cap off the week in dramatic fashion.
Zach Peterson got Alexandria’s rally started in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff double. He came into that at-bat with two hits already before lacing a pitch over the centerfielder’s head.
Fergus Falls was one out away from getting out of that jam before Becker came to the plate. He put together a 13-pitch at-bat earlier in the game. This time, he needed just one as he hit the first pitch he saw to the left-centerfield gap.
That made a winner out of Nick Knoblach on the mound. He served as the Cardinals’ closer during the school season but made the most out of his first start of the summer. Knoblach went all seven innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out seven.
“With all the games stacked up with our schedule this summer, he will get a chance to start a bunch of games,” Engebretson said. “He is a competitor and will do a nice job with whatever role he is asked to take on.”
Peterson led all Alexandria hitters with the three hits, a run scored and an RBI. Ben Kluver added two hits, while six others added a hit apiece.
Fergus Falls 5
Post 87 got its runs early and held on late for a 7-5 win in the opener against Fergus Falls.
Alexandria jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first behind a two-out, two-RBI double by Gideon Burnham. Fergus Falls answered right back with four of its own in the top of the second but three runs over the next two innings gave Post 87 a lead it would never relinquish.
Knoblach did his damage at the plate in this game. He finished 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Peterson added two hits and two RBIs, while Erich Murphy went 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
Blake Stockert got the win after going 5 innings on the mound. He scattered five hits and four walks as he allowed four earned runs and struck out six. Logan Serum came on in the sixth and worked two scoreless innings.
“[Blake] did not have his best stuff but was still able to be very effective,” Engebretson said. “Serum took the ball in the sixth and did a fantastic job, throwing strikes and allowing just one hit and one walk.”
Alexandria 6, Brainerd 3
Beau Backhaus went the distance to help his team bounce back from an opening 5-1 loss to Brainerd last Wednesday with a 6-3 win in the nightcap.
Backhaus was his usual self on the hill, mixing in his pitches to limit Brainerd to just two earned runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out six.
Post 87 was able to overcome an early 2-0 deficit with four runs in its final two at-bats. Alexandria led 3-2 in the top of the seventh before Stockert delivered a bases-clearing double that gave his team a four-run cushion.
That was Stockert’s second double and third hit of the night. He finished with four RBIs. Becker went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Christian Anderson had two RBIs with a couple of sacrifice flies in the middle innings.
Brainerd 5, Alexandria 1
The only loss of the week came after Brainerd scored four late runs to secure a 5-1 win in the opening game of the summer.
AJ Anderson worked into the sixth inning before running into some trouble. Brainerd scored three runs that inning to open the game up and hand Anderson the loss. He was charged with allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits, two walks and four hit batters. He struck out four.
Murphy led an Alexandria offense that finished with just four hits on the night. He had two of those and a run scored. Knoblach and Backhaus each added a hit apiece.
Alexandria was scheduled to play a doubleheader against West Fargo on Monday night before going to Marshall for a nine-inning league game last night, Tuesday. Post 87 will travel to Grand Rapids this weekend to play a tough field that include teams from Hill Murray, St. Michael-Albertville, Centennial and Farmington.
“Pitching should be our strength this summer as we have five very good guys to throw up there in any situation,” Engebretson said. “Defense has also been solid overall, and that will continue to improve as we learn the pace of the game. If we can keep getting better at the plate, something we have already been pleased with, I think we should be a very competitive team.”
FERGUS FALLS 030 000 1 – 4 7 3
ALEXANDRIA 200 011 1 – 5 11 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Knoblach – W, 7IP, 7H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 7SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – AJ Anderson – 1-4, RBI; Murphy – 1-4, 2B; Knoblach – 1-3, BB; Pat Leary – 1 run; Becker – 1-4, RBI; Jeff Swedberg – 2 runs; Christian Anderson – 1-2, BB; Peterson – 3-4, 2B, 1 run, RBI; Kluver – 2-4, 1 run; Kris Setterstrom – 1-2, BB
FERGUS FALLS 040 010 0 – 5 6 2
ALEXANDRIA 412 000 X – 7 9 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Stockert – W, 5IP, 5H, 5R, 4ER, 4BB, 6SO; Serum – 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Burnham – 1-2, 2B, 1 run, 2 RBI; Murphy – 1-3, 2 runs; Knoblach – 4-4, 2 runs, RBI; Backhaus – BB; Leary – 1 run; Stockert – 1-3, 1 run; Peterson – 2-4, 2 RBI
ALEXANDRIA 000 201 3 – 6 7 3
BRAINERD 011 000 1 – 3 6 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Backhaus – W, 7IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 6SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – AJ Anderson – 1-3, 1 run; Murphy – BB, 1 run; Knoblach – 2 BB; Becker – 2-4, 2 runs; C. Anderson – 2 RBI; Stockert – 3-4, 2 2B, 1 run, 4 RBI; Peterson – 1-2, 2B, 1 run
ALEXANDRIA 000 100 0 – 1 4 3
BRAINERD 100 013 X – 5 7 3
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – AJ Anderson – L, 5 1/3IP, 4H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 4HB, 4SO; Knoblach – 2/3IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Murphy – 2-3, 1 run; Knoblach – 1-2; Backhaus – 1-3; Becker – BB