Legion baseball: Alexandria takes fourth at its home tourneyTwo weeks ago, Alexandria’s Nick Knoblach thought his summer baseball season was over and the start of his senior year of football might be in jeopardy.
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
Two weeks ago, Alexandria’s Nick Knoblach thought his summer baseball season was over and the start of his senior year of football might be in jeopardy.
Instead, he was back on the field this past Sunday trying to pitch his team to a third-place finish in the Elden’s Fresh Foods Fourth of July Tournament at Knute Nelson Field. Knoblach had what doctors originally thought was a hernia that would require surgery and six weeks of recovery time.
Knoblach went to schedule the surgery when the surgeon took a second look at the injury. That second look found that it was just a strained ligament that would heal on its own with a little rest.
“If I would have had to get surgery, I was really disappointed about that,” Knoblach said. “Not being able to finish my baseball season obviously and then not being able to go into football either. Now just having it be a strain, it’s been able to heal sooner.”
Knoblach said he felt no effects of the injury out on the mound on Sunday as he threw six innings in a 5-2 loss for Alexandria. He held a strong North St. Paul team at bay and trailed 3-2 going into the seventh before back-to-back singles ended his day.
Beau Backhaus relieved him with nobody out and got the first two guys he faced. Backhaus induced a ground ball to third in the next at-bat, but an error allowed two more runs to score. Alexandria put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the seventh before a 1-6-3 double play ended the game.
Knoblach pitched himself out of trouble through much of the afternoon. He scattered seven hits and six walks but allowed just three earned runs, while striking out five.
“I didn’t really feel it at all in my leg today,” he said. “It just feels great when I’m out there on the mound. I think I did alright. I was a little tired, but it was alright.”
The loss left Alexandria in fourth place at its annual summer tournament after splitting its first two games of the weekend. Post 87 fell for the third time this summer to a strong West Fargo team on Saturday in a 6-0 game. That came after taking care of Hastings 9-3 in the opening round on Friday.
Alexandria managed just four hits against West Fargo. Gideon Burnham had two of those, while Grant Becker and Zach Peterson added a hit apiece.
That wasn’t near enough to overcome Alexandria’s control problems on the mound. Post 87 issued 11 free passes and seven hits on the night.
Six of those walks came from starter Blake Stockert. He went the first 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on five hits, while striking out four. Logan Serum came on with two outs in the fourth and worked the final 3 1/3 innings. He allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits and five walks. He struck out three.
“I thought our guys played hard,” head coach Kevin Engebretson said. “That was a positive to take away from the game, but you’ve also got to do other things well and tonight we just got outplayed by a good team.”
AJ Anderson was able to overcome three walks and three hit batters with some overpowering stuff against Hastings on Friday night. Anderson struck out 13 in the 9-3 win. He allowed just one run on five hits in a complete-game performance.
Alexandria was able to give him some support with three runs in the third and four more in the fourth. That opened up what had been a 1-0 lead for Post 87 heading into the third.
Backhaus led an offense that broke out with 11 hits on the night. He finished with four RBIs after collecting a couple two-out, two-RBI singles. Becker went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Peterson added three hits and two runs scored, while Pat Leary went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Edina won the tournament after giving up just two runs in three games. They were a part of an eight-team field that also included teams from Fergus Falls, Worthington and Mankato.
“Our guys definitely got a chance to again see how they stack up against some of the better teams from our area,” Engebretson said. “It was another great experience. A fun weekend of baseball, and we look forward to more.”
The next tournament on the summer schedule is the Gopher Classic in the Twin Cities Area. Pool play games will be played at Elko Field in Elko as Alexandria kicks off the tournament against a team from Harrisonville, Missouri this Friday at 11:30 a.m. before battling a team from Mitchell, South Dakota at 2 p.m. Post 87 will round out pool play against Rochester Century, Lakeville North and Hopkins.
NORTH ST. PAUL 000 210 2 – 5 7 0
ALEXANDRIA 000 110 0 – 2 8 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Knoblach – L, 6IP, 7H, 5R, 3ER, 6BB, 5SO; Backhaus – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 2SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – AJ Anderson – 0-3, RBI; Burnham – 2-3, RBI; Knoblach – 1 run; Christian Anderson – 2-3, 2B; Peterson – 2-3, 1 run; Ben Kluver – 2-4
WEST FARGO 003 101 1 – 6 7 0
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 0 – 0 4 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Stockert – L, 3 2/3IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 6BB, 4SO; Serum – 3 1/3IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 5BB, 3SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – AJ Anderson – BB; Serum – BB; Burnham – 2-3; Becker – 1-3; Backhaus – BB; Peterson – 1-3, BB
HASTINGS 000 020 1 – 3 5 2
ALEXANDRIA 103 410 X – 9 11 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – AJ Anderson – W, 7IP, 5H, 3R, 1ER, 3BB, 3HBP, 13SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – AJ Anderson – 1 run; Knoblach – 1-4, BB, 2 runs; Backhaus – 2-3, 4 RBI; Leary – 2-4, RBI, 1 run; Becker – 3-4, 1 run, 2 RBI; Jeff Swedberg – 2 BB, RBI; C. Anderson – BB; Stockert – 2 BB, 2 runs; Peterson – 3-5, 2 runs