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Legion Baseball: Sub-District Champs

Ryan Amundson greets Matt Gruber outside the dugout after Gruber scored the eventual game-winning run against Wheaton on Sunday. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Echo Press)1 / 5
Shawn Stumpf releases a pitch in the early innings of Sunday's sub-district championship game against Wheaton. The lefty allowed seven runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out two to earn the victory. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Echo Press)2 / 5
Jake Hoffman knocks in Matt Gruber and Colin Richards in the sixth inning of the sub-district championship on Sunday, helping Glenwood-Lowry to a 9-7 win. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Echo Press)3 / 5
Colin Richards follows through on his swing after taking a pitch the other way for a single during Sunday's game against Wheaton. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Echo Press)4 / 5
Matt Gruber follows the ball after throwing a runner out at first base Sunday against Wheaton. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Echo Press)5 / 5

The Glenwood-Lowry American Legion baseball team defeated Wheaton 9-7 in the Northwest Sub-District finals at Minnewaska Area High School on Sunday to advance to the District 7 Final Four for the second straight year.

While he said it feels good to win the sub-district, Matt Gruber said the team isn’t done yet.

“I feel like it’s just another step,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to make it to state and hopefully get to nationals after that.”

Both G-L and Wheaton did well putting the ball in play Sunday, but the home team was able to string a few more hits together and come out on top.

“Our bats came alive and we really got some key hits at key times,” G-L head coach Bob Hendrickson said. “I knew coming into the day that this Wheaton team wasn’t going to go away easy. … I said to the guys (before the game), ‘we have to score seven runs to win this.’ We really needed to score more than that and ended up getting nine.”

The key to the game, Hendrickson said, was getting the leadoff man on and knock him around, which the team was able to do in four out of their six opportunities.

After Wheaton opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning, G-L leadoff hitter Ryan Amundson singled and scored and Colin Richards walked and scored to take a 2-1 lead. Wheaton scored one again in the second and Lucas Adleman hit a two-run home run in the third, but G-L tallied four in in the second and one in the third to retain the lead at 7-4.

The visitors erased that lead, though, in the top of the fifth. Nelson Schmidt and Sam Adelman each drew walks to start it off, and L. Adelman followed with an RBI double and Eric Schwagel hit a sacrifice fly. Zackery Deal grounded out to first base two batters later, but L. Adelman broke for home at just the right moment to slide in safely to bring the score to 7-7.

“We could just never let them get ahead was the big key,” said Hendrickson.

The bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth went scoreless, but G-L bared down in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back singles from Matt Gruber and Colin Richards.

Gruber scored on a Colin Weidauer groundout, and Jake Hoffman knocked in Richards to take a 9-7 lead.

Shawn Stumpf, G-L’s starting pitcher, returned to the mound for the seventh inning and set the Bandits down in order to earn the win. On the game, he allowed seven runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out two.

“He told me he was ready,” Hendrickson said of his southpaw starter. “He threw here a week ago and he got a little sore in the arm for a few days, but he said today he felt good and he threw 116 pitches – almost to the 120 limit – but he got us through the game.”

After giving up two walks and a double to open the fifth, Hendrickson wanted him to keep going, but was prepared if the struggles continued.

“We had Ryan Christianson and Riley Kinney warming up, but we really hoped we didn’t have to take Shawn Stumpf out and he came through and started throwing strikes and we made the plays for him,” Hendrickson said.

For the G-L offense, Amundson, Gruber and Hoffman led the way with three hits each. Gruber and Hoffman each tallied three RBIs, while Amundson added two runs. Richards finished 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and three runs scored.

“We just keep progressing,” said Gruber. “We just have to be smart about what pitches we swing at, and we’ve gotten a lot better at that.”

G-L hosts New London-Spicer for the first matchup in a best-of-three series at 8:15 Tuesday at Marthaler Field at MAHS, with the second game coming Thursday on the road. If those two games split, the rubbermatch will follow game two on Thursday.

GAME SUMMARYWHEATON 112 030 0 – 7 8 1G-L 241 002 X – 9 14 0PITCHING – G-L - Shawn Stumpf (W) - 7 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 116 pitches, 72 strikes; Wheaton - Sam Adelman (L) - 6 IP, 9 R, 6 ER, 14 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 94 pitches, 62 strikesG-L OFFENSE – Ryan Amundson - 3-3, 2 R; Stumpf - 1-3; Matt Gruber - 3-4, 2B, SB, R, 3 RBI; Colin Richards - 1-3, BB, 3 R, RBI; Colin Weidauer - 1-4; Jake Hoffman - 3-4, 3 RBI; Sean Kelling - 1-4, RBI; Jake Heid - 0-4; Ryan Christianson - 1-2, BB, 2 R
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