Post 87 finishes 3-2 at Gopher Classic tourneyThe Fat Daddy’s Alexandria American Legion Post 87 baseball team traveled to the Twin Cities last weekend, finishing 3-2 in a solid showing in this year’s Gopher Classic Tournament.
The Fat Daddy’s Alexandria American Legion Post 87 baseball team traveled to the Twin Cities last weekend, finishing 3-2 in a solid showing in this year’s Gopher Classic Tournament.
Alexandria picked up wins over Harrisonville, MO, Rochester A’s, and Hopkins while dropping to Mitchell, SD and Lakeville North.
“Overall, it was another nice weekend of baseball for our guys and we got a chance to play some really solid competition,” said head coach Kevin Engebretson. “It’s always fun to see how you stack up, and I think our guys showed that they are up to the challenge to go out and compete with whoever they play.”
Harrisonville, MO 3
Alexandria racked up 17 hits on its way to a 19-3 win over Harrisonville, Missouri in the opening pool play game for the Legion.
“Several guys had big days at the plate, but the spotlight was stolen by Zach Peterson as he went a perfect four-for-four and hit for the cycle,” said Engebretson.
In the game, Peterson had an RBI double in the first, a single in the second and a 2-RBI triple in the third.
“When he was on third base after his triple, we joked about how he pretty much has to try to hit one out his next time up because odds are pretty good he won’t have many more chances in his career, if any,” said Peterson’s coach. “In his fourth at-bat the next inning and with two guys on, he sent a fastball deep to left center field that just barely cleared the fence to complete his cycle.
“He doesn’t show much emotion, but his hand slap around third had a little extra spank on it, so I know he was pretty fired up. This is the first one I have seen as a coach – it was really cool to see him do it.”
In the game, Peterson also scored four times, drove in six, and was hit by a pitch to round out big day.
AJ Anderson had three hits and was just a home run shy of a cycle himself as he drove in two runs. Grant Becker added three hits, including two doubles, and drove in five runs and Gideon Burnham had two hits, including a booming shot for a home run over the left field fence in the second inning.
“Some games, the bats are working, and some days they are not,” said Engebretson. “This was one of those times where they were alive and well. The baseball was flying all over the ballpark for us and it was fun to watch our guys up there.”
In all, Alexandria smashed the ball for 10 extra base hits in the contest.
Logan Serum and Kris Setterstrom split time on the mound, with Serum picking up the win in three innings of work in the run-shortened game.
“Both guys did a nice job of just trying to pump the zone with a big lead and let the defense work,” said their coach. “Serum went three innings and allowed two earned runs. He scattered four hits, walked three, and struck out two. Setterstrom worked the final two frames and allowed one earned run. He gave up two hits, walked two, and struck out one. It was a good game at the plate and we hope it continues.”
Mitchell, SD 11,
Alexandria’s game with Mitchell, SD was a complete 180-degree turn from game one as the Legion fell 11-0 in six innings.
“We really got off to a lousy start in the field and it spilled over to the dugout and the plate,” said coach Engebretson. “As a pitching staff, we walked 10 guys and hit three more. Defensively, we committed five errors in the field.
“Offensively, we were only able to muster up two hits. It really wasn’t a good showing by our guys this game and it’s crazy how baseball works like that sometimes – one minute you are hot, the next you are not.”
A.J. Anderson started on the mound and lasted just four innings, struggling with control and a high pitch count. He allowed four earned runs on four hits, walked eight, hit two more and struck out seven.
Logan Serum worked the final two innings in relief and allowed seven runs, just three of which were earned. He scattered four hits, walked two, hit one batter, and struck out one.
Grant Becker and Gideon Burnham had the only safeties in the game, Burnham’s a double.
Rochester A’s 2
Alexandria recovered from a rough outing Friday night and turned in a 4-2 win over the Rochester A’s.
Right-hander Nick Knoblach threw a very solid game for his team as he picked up the complete game victory. In seven innings of work, he allowed just two earned runs on six hits and five walks, striking out four.
“He was on the corners all game and the Rochester hitters really couldn’t do much with it,” noted Engebretson. “He also works quick up there, which the defense appreciates, and the guys played well behind him, committing just one error.
Post 87 scored its only runs of the game in the first two innings.
In the first, Knoblach led off with a single and was bunted to second by Grant Becker. After Zach Peterson reached on a throwing error to make it second and third with one out, AJ Anderson drove in Knoblach with a sacrifice fly to center.
Peterson came home on the next pitch as a passed ball got away from the catcher to make it 2-0.
Rochester would answer with a run in the second inning on a walk, a stolen base and a single to cut it to 2-1, but Alexandria responded with another two runs in the bottom half.
With two outs, Kris Setterstrom walked and took second on a ball in the dirt. Jeff Swedberg then ripped a single to drive him in to make it 3-1 and took second himself on the relay to the plate. Knoblach hit a ball that the shortstop was unable to field cleanly and Swedberg scored to push it to 4-1.
Rochester did score again in the third inning on a walk and a double to make it 4-2, but that was all the run support that Knoblach needed on this day as he cruised his way through the rest of the seven inning game.
Although he had a few walks, I thought he was pretty sharp,” said Engebretson. “He always battles up there and gives us a great chance to win, no matter who we are playing. He’s a bulldog for us.”
Offensively, Post 87 did only have five hits, which came from five different players. Knoblach, Becker, Peterson, Swedberg, and Blake Stockert collected the safeties, with AJ Anderson and Swedberg driving in runs.
Lakeville North 11, Alexandria 3
The nightcap was again a different story as Alexandria fell 11-3 in five innings to a solid team from Lakeville North.
“They are a pretty good team, so I’m not going to take anything away from them, but we really gave away a lot of runs in this one. The stat line doesn’t look real good for our pitcher, but we really did make way too many physical and mental mistakes in the field and I felt like he deserved a better fate.”
In all, four Alexandria errors led to six unearned runs and the loss.
Post 87 did have some good scoring chances in the game and was actually tied up at 1-1 in the third, but big innings for Lakeville in the fourth and fifth led to the loss.
Anderson had the only big hit of the game, a two-run double in the fifth inning to plate Nick Knoblach and Zach Peterson.
Alexandria again had just five hits in the game, with Anderson having two of them. Grant Becker, Christian Anderson, and Peterson had the only other safeties.
Left-hander Blake Stockert took the hill and was tagged with the loss to a very good hitting team. He pitched all four and two-thirds innings that were played and allowed 11 runs, just five of which were earned, scattering eight hits, walking four, and striking out two.
Alexandria Post 87 saved its best for last as it took on 10th ranked Hopkins, knocking in 11 runs in the first inning en route to an impressive 13-0 win in five innings.
“Our guys had a little fire in their belly today, and they played very well,” said Engebretson. “It was fun to watch our guys swing it in the first inning especially, and Beau [Backhaus] just went to work from there.
The run support was more than enough for Backhaus as he needed only 53 pitches to pick up the complete game win for his team.
In his five innings of shutout baseball, he allowed just two hits and two walks, while striking out two.
In a game that saw 12 hits off the Alexandria bats and with every player scoring at least one run, the big inning came right away in the first.
Knoblach reached on an error, and back-to-back singles by Becker and Peterson loaded up the bases. Anderson drew a walk to give Post 87 a 1-0 lead.
After a strikeout, Backhaus then helped his own cause as he drove a pitch to center field for a two-run single to make it 3-0. Burnham walked to load the bases and Leary had a base hit of his own to center field to drive in two more runs to make it 5-0.
Swedberg then blasted a fastball to the left center field fence to drive in both Burnham and Leary to make it 7-0, still with just one out in the first. Knoblach followed up with an RBI single to the right side and Becker did the same through the left side to make it 9-0.
After a ground ball out and Anderson reaching on an error, Stockert stepped up and drilled a pitch to the left center field gap to plate both Becker and Anderson to make it 11-0.
“It was an incredible display of hitting by our guys, and it was really fun to see them hit it all over the park,” said Engebretson. “Hitting really is contagious, and oftentimes in baseball when it rains, it pours.”
Alexandria tacked on two more runs in the third inning to make it 13-0.
“It was a fun first inning and an overall fun day for our guys and, although we didn’t see one of their top arms, it is still a huge credit to our guys and it was awesome hitting it around like that against a very good team from Hopkins,” said the coach.
Becker, Peterson, Backhaus and Swedberg all led the way with two hits apiece in the contest, with Backhaus and Swedberg each driving in two runs. Leary, Burnham, Stockert and Knoblach all had one hit each to round out the hit column.
Alexandria Post 87 will play in its final regular season tournament this coming weekend in Princeton.
Alexandria will kick things off on Friday evening against defending Legion World Series champion Eden Prairie. Other teams in the straight-eight bracket include Hopkins, Apple Valley, Tri-City Red, Grand Rapids, St. Cloud 76ers and host team Princeton.
Alexandria will then prepare itself for the District 7 Tournament hosted by Litchfield from Wednesday, July 25 to Saturday, July 28. The winner of that tournament will advance to the State Tournament the following weekend in Chaska.
Alexandria is now 18-10 on the summer and the pitching staff boasts a scintillating team ERA of 2.78.
ALEXANDRIA 554 32 19-17-0
HARRISONVILLE, MO 101 01 3-6-3
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Logan Serum (W) 3-4-2-2-3-2; Kris Setterstrom 2-2-1-1-2-1.
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – A.J. Anderson 3-4, 2b, 3b, 3 runs, 2 rbi, 1 bb; Gideon Burnham 2-2, hr, 2 runs, 3 rbi; Nick Knoblach 1-4, 3 runs, 1 bb; Beau Backhaus 2-2, 2 2bs, 2 runs, 2 rbi, 2 bb; Grant Becker 3-4, 2 2bs, 2 runs, 5 rbi; Jeff Swedberg 1-3, 1 run; Zach Peterson 4-4, 2b, 3b, hr, 4 runs, 6 rbi; Ben Kluver 1 run; Kris Setterstrom 1-3, 1 bb.
MITCHELL, SD 021 134 11-8-0
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 0-2-5
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – A.J. Anderson (L) 4-4-4-4-8-7; Logan Serum 2-4-7-3-2-1.
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – Logan Serum 1 bb; Gideon Burnham 1-2, 2b; Grant Becker 1-2.
ROCHESTER A’S 011 000 0 2-6-3
ALEXANDRIA 220 000 X 4-5-1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Nick Knoblach (W) 7-6-2-2-5-4.
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – A.J. Anderson 1 rbi; Nick Knoblach 1-3, 1 run; Beau Backhaus 2 bb; Grant Becker 1-2; Jeff Swedberg 1-3, 1 run, 1 rbi; Blake Stockert 1-3; Zach Peterson 1-2, 1 run; Kirs Setterstrom 1 run, 1 bb.
ALEXANDRIA 001 02 3-5-4
LAKEVILLE NORTH 101 63 11-8-1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Blake Stockert (L) 4.2-8-11-5-4-2.
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – A.J. Anderson 2-2, 2b, 2 rbi, 1 bb; Nick Knoblach 1 run; Grant Becker 1-3; Christian Anderson 1-2, 1 run; Zach Peterson 1-2, 1 run, 1 bb.
HOPKINS 000 00 0-2-4
ALEXANDRIA (11)02 0X 13-12-3
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Beau Backhaus (W) 5-2-0-0-2-2.
ALEXANDRIA HITTING – A.J. Anderson 2 runs, 1 rbi, 1 bb; Gideon Burnham 1-2, 1 run, 1 rbi, 1 bb; Nick Knoblach 1-3, 2 runs, 1 rbi; Beau Backhaus 2-3, 1 run, 2 rbi; Pat Leary 1-3, 1 run, 2 rbi; Grant Becker 2-3, 2 runs, 1 rbi; Jeff Swedberg 2-3, 2b, 1 run, 2 rbi; Blake Stockert 1-3, 2b, 1 run, 2 rbi; Zach Peterson 2-4, 2b, 2 runs.