By Eric Morken
The Alexandria VFW I baseball team lost to two teams that played each other in the VFW state tournament last weekend as Alexandria came home from Mankato as winners of one of three games.
Alexandria took care of Bemidji 10-0 between a 6-5 loss to Champlin Park and a 5-2 loss to eventual champion St. Cloud Cathedral. That ended Alexandria’s season but not before posting an impressive 30-11 overall record.
“I think there are multiple kids who changed throughout the year,” head coach Jake Munsch said. “From not having a chance to play to playing every day. Overall, you couldn’t ask for anything better. They were respectful, coachable and for the most part did everything we asked them to do.”
Alexandria trailed 4-0 before cutting that deficit in half against St. Cloud as they tried to come up through the losers’ bracket. Grant Toivonen led off the sixth inning with a single before Kaden Anderson doubled. That brought Toby Helgeson to the plate as he delivered a two-RBI single to make it 4-2.
That’s all the closer Alexandria could get in its attempt to stay alive. St. Cloud added an insurance run in the seventh to advance. They eventually won twice in the title game against Champlin Park to secure the VFW state title.
Parker Bowden was in complete control in Alexandria’s 10-0 win over Bemidji. Bowden allowed just three hits in the complete-game victory. He walked just one and struck out five.
“Parker pitched very well,” Munsch said. “He has been really dominant on the mound, didn’t walk a lot of guys all year…I think Alexandria should be excited about him coming up.”
His offense got him an early 2-0 lead in the first before opening things up with a six-run third inning. Alexandria had six hits in the inning. Helgeson had two of those. Cody McLaughlin added an RBI double and Jake Booth and Anderson each had two-RBI singles.
Champlin Park started its march to the title game by using an unearned run in the sixth inning to secure a win over Alexandria in the opening round. Alexandria tried to rally, scoring three times in the seventh before coming up a run short in the comeback attempt.
Anderson had three hits and scored twice to lead the Alexandria offense. Mitch Thompson started and went the first five innings. Champlin Park got to him for five runs through the first four innings. Chris Leary threw the final two frames, allowing no hits and just one walk, while striking out two.
ST. CLOUD 102 100 1 – 5
ALEXANDRIA 000 002 0 – 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Danny Kuhn – L, 4IP, 4H, 4R, 1HBP, 1SO; Chris Leary – 3IP, 1H, 1R, 2BB, 3SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Anderson – 1-3, 2B, 1 run; Helgeson – 1-2, BB; Leary – 1-2; Aaron Steidl – 2-3
BEMIDJI 000 000 0 – 0
ALEXANDRIA 206 101 X – 10
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Bowden – W, 7IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 1HBP, 5SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Anderson – 1-2, BB, 2 RBI; Helgeson – 2-3, 2 runs; Kuhn – BB; Thompson – 1-2, BB, 2 runs; Casey Hammerback – BB; McLaughlin – 2-2, 2B, 3 RBI, 1 run; Jake Bear – 1-2, RBI, 1 run; Chris Setterstrom – 1-1, BB, 2 runs; Booth – 1-2, 2 RBI, 1 run; Steidl – 1-2; Spencer Lucas – BB; Toivonen – HBP, 1 run; Leary – BB
CHAMPLIN PARK 112 101 0 – 6
ALEXANDRIA 002 000 3 – 5
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Thompson – L, 5IP, 4H, 5R, 5BB, 0SO; Leary – 2IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 2SO
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Toivonen – BB, 1 run; Helgeson – RBI, 1 run; Thompson – 2-3, 2B, 3B, RBI, 1 run; McLaughlin – 1-3, BB; Anderson – 3-3, 2 runs