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Section 8AAA baseball: Season still rolling for Alexandria

Senior Beau Backhaus planted and threw on to first in an attempted double play as Brainerd's Conor Gessell tried to break it up with his slide last Thursday night. The Cardinals and Warriors were scheduled to meet again in an elimination game on Tuesday night. (Eric Morken, Echo Press)

The Alexandria baseball team kept its season alive with two straight wins on Monday in a 9-5 game against Big Lake and an 8-0 win over St. Michael-Albertville. The Cardinals had to battle back through the loser's bracket after falling 10-0 in sixth innings against Brainerd last Thursday.

Nick Knoblach was a workhorse for the Cardinals on the mound on Monday. The senior stepped up when his team needed it, getting both wins on after working eight innings. He went the final two in game one and then scattered just four hits and a walk against the Knights in game two.

"It was a great team effort with multiple players leading the way," head coach Russ Hinrichs said. "Nick was fantastic today...Pat Leary and Zach Peterson led the Cards at the plate, with Mitch Thompson scoring [four] runs."

The Cardinals backed Knoblach with 16 hits and two four-run innings against St. Michael. Leary was 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Peterson went 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs.

Alexandra needed to rally after falling behind 3-0 to Big Lake. Cody McLaughlin helped his team do that immediately with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the first. The Cardinals went on to score in every inning but the fifth as they broke a 5-5 tie in the sixth with four runs.

Peterson delivered a two-RBI double in the frame to give his team a 7-5 lead. Beau Backhaus followed with an RBI fielder's choice and Leary added an RBI double in the frame.

It was the kind of response this team was looking for after Alexandria wasn't the same team in a 10-0 loss to Brainerd last week. The Cardinals weren't sharp on defense with three errors. Their bats racked up only three hits and they didn't get the start they are accustomed to getting from Blake Stockert.

"I told the kids, I saw a hungry team come here against a team that was overconfident, for whatever reason," Hinrichs said after that game. "We weren't ready to play and they were."

Stockert suffered his first loss of the season after coming into the game 5-0. Brainerd was aggressive in the batters' box from the get-go as the Warriors scored three runs, aided by two Alexandria errors, in the first. They added five more over the next three frames to drive him from the game after four innings.

"They just never quit," Stockert said. "They were just hungry the whole time. Anything that you wanted to happen would just go completely wrong. They played the game of baseball, pretty much. That's all you can say. They're a good team."

Stockert was ready to take the ball again as Alexandria and Brainerd faced off in an elimination game at Knute Nelson ballpark with a trip to the section finals against Rocori on the line. The winner of that game was scheduled to take on the Spartans immediately after that, with a game two, if necessary, set for today.


STMA 000 000 0 - 0 4 1

ALEX 000 404 X - 8 16 1

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Knoblach - W, 6IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 1SO; Dan Kuhn - 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Leary - 3-4, 1 run; Thompson - 2-3, BB, 2B, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Peterson - 2-4, 3B, 1 run, 3 RBI; Christian Anderson - 2-4, 1 run; Knoblach - 1-4, 1 run, RBI; Backhaus - 1-4; Allen - 3-3, 1 run, RBI; McLaughlin - 1-2, BB; Helgeson - 1-3; Hvezda - 1 run

BIG LAKE 310 010 0 - 5 10 2

ALEX 211 104 X - 9 8 4

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Backhaus - 5IP, 8H, 5R, 2ER, 4BB, 0SO; Knoblach - W, 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 2SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Leary - 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI; Mitch Thompson - 1-4, 2B, 2 runs, RBI; McLaughlin - 1-3, BB, 2 RBI; Backhaus - 0-4, RBI, 1 run; Peterson - 2-2, BB, 1 run, 3 RBI; Toby Helgeson - 1-3, 1 run; Knoblach - 1-3, 2 runs; Parker Bowden - 0-2, BB; Ben Allen - 0-3, 1 run; Riley Hvezda - 1 run

BRAINERD 311 302 - 10 14 0

ALEX 000 000 - 0 3 3

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Stockert - L, 4IP, 11H, 8R, 5ER, 2BB, 3SO; Jake Booth - 2IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Nick Knoblach - 1-2; Beau Backhaus - 1-2; Grant Becker - 1-2; Patrick Leary - 0-1, BB

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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