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Legion baseball team holds its own in Omaha

Alexandria's Mitch Thompson threw during a game against East Grand Forks earlier this summer. Thompson got the win in a 7-6 victory over Elk Horn South as he and his Post 87 teammates went 4-1 at the Decker College World Series Legion baseball tournament last week. (Eric Morken, Echo Press)

The Alexandria Post 87 Legion baseball team proved itself against a lot of quality competition at the Decker College World Series Legion tournament last week by going 4-1 against opponents from all over the country.

Alexandria's only loss came in a 7-2 game against perennial power Midwest City, Oklahoma on Saturday. Midwest City came into the tournament with a 26-3 record and had 10-runned every team it played in pool play before meeting Alexandria.

Post 87 showed off a little bit of everything in the games prior to that. They battled back from a 6-2 deficit in the seventh inning. They had a couple pitching gems from Ben Allen and Blake Stockert, and they scored 32 runs on 42 hits. Ten of those were extra-base hits as Jeff Swedberg, Allen, Mitch Thompson and Zach Peterson all homered. They ended their week with an overall record of 8-1 so far this summer.

"Our week in Omaha was very successful," head coach Jake Munsch said. "We came out 4-1 and did some great things. Our offense was off the charts. Our pitchers kept battling and our defense was solid most of the time. We look forward to getting back into league play and hosting our home tournament in a couple weeks."

Midwest City, OK 7,

Alexandria 2

Midwest City wasted no time setting the tone in the game that would decide which team would advance to tournament play from their pool.

They put up three runs in the top of the first inning and added one more in the second. Alexandria scored one in the bottom of the first but were held scoreless through the next four innings until a one-run sixth inning. Nick Knoblach led a six-hit attack for Alexandria with a 2-for-3 game.

"We did threaten a couple of innings with runners in scoring position but could not come up with the clutch hit," Munsch said.

Alexandria 7,

Elk Horn South 6

Post 87 showed a no-quit approach in battling back from a 6-2 deficit to win 7-6 by scoring five runs in the top of the seventh in its first game on Saturday.

Jeff Swedberg got that rally started by leading off the frame with a solo home run. Knoblach and Pat Leary followed with back-to-back singles to keep things going. Cody McLaughlin added an RBI-single later in the inning that made it 6-5 before a Toby Helgeson single tied things at six apiece.

That set the stage for Mitch Thompson with the go-ahead run on third. He didn't disappoint, sending a sharp single to left field that scored Grant Becker with what turned out to be the winning run.

Thompson got the win in relief of starter Parker Bowden. Thompson allowed a walk to the leadoff man in the bottom of the seventh but cut him down at second on an attempted sacrifice bunt in the next at-bat. Knoblach came on after that and struck out the first two guys he faced to end the game.

Alexandria 10,

Denver, CO 0 (F/5 innings)

Allen threw a gem on the mound and the offense scored early and often in a 10-0 win over a team from Denver on Friday.

Allen scattered four hits and two walks in picking up the win through a complete-game five innings. He struck out six and faced only 21 batters.

"This was a very important outing for Allen and for our team," Munsch said. "We are going to need Allen to throw innings for us throughout the summer."

Peterson, Allen and Thompson each led the offense with two hits apiece. Thompson added two RBIs, while Peterson scored twice.

Alexandria 8, Sioux Falls 0

That pitching performance by Allen came after Blake Stockert dominated his opponent from Sioux Falls in an 8-0 win last Thursday.

The lefty was in complete control through the five-inning win. He faced just 19 batters, allowing two hits and no walks in the shutout. Stockert struck out 12 and his offense gave him seven runs to work with through the first three innings.

Peterson led that charge with two hits, two runs scored and three RBIs. Knoblach went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, while McLaughlin and Swedberg added two hits apiece.

Alexandria 15,

Mountain Home, AR 12

Alexandria found itself in an 11-5 hole after two and a half innings before rallying for a 15-12 win during its first game in Omaha.

Mountain Home scored six runs in the top of the third, only to be answered by six runs for Alexandria in the bottom of the frame. They used eight walks in the game and added 10 hits as Alexandria scored one each in the fourth and fifth and two more in the sixth to secure the win.

Zach Peterson went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs. Ben Allen had a two-run home run, while Nick Knoblach and Cody McLaughlin each drove in three runs to help the offense.

Beau Backhaus started and had a rare off day. He lasted two innings, allowing six hits, seven earned runs and two walks. Chris Leary came on with his team trailing in the third and worked five innings in relief. Leary struck out five and allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks.

"In the last week, Mitch Thompson on Monday against East Grand Forks at home and Chris Leary [Wednesday], our relievers have come in horrible situations and helped us right the ship to come out ahead in the end. That tends to be a pattern for this team."


MIDWEST CITY, OK 310 200 1 - 7

ALEX 100 001 0 - 2

ALEX OFFENSE - Swedberg - 0-3; Peterson - 0-2, RBI; Leary - 1-3; Toby Helgeson - 0-3; Thompson - 1-3, RBI; Allen - 1-3, 1 run; Christian Anderson - 1-2; Parker Bowden - 0-2, BB; Knoblach - 2-3, 1 run; C. Leary - 0-1; McLaughlin - 0-1

ALEX 200 000 5 - 7

EH SOUTH 110 004 0 - 6

ALEX OFFENSE - Swedberg - 1-3, 1 run, RBI, HR; Peterson - 1-4, 2 RBI; P. Leary - 2-3, BB, 2 runs; Helgeson - 2-4, RBI; Thompson - 1-4; Allen - 1-4, 1 run, 2 RBI; Anderson - 0-1; Knoblach - 2-4, 2 runs; C. Leary - 0-2; McLaughlin - 1-4, 1 run, RBI

ALEX 402 31 - 10

DENVER 000 00 - 0

ALEX PITCHING - Allen - W, 5IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 6SO

ALEX OFFENSE - Swedberg - 0-3; Peterson - 2-3, BB, 2 runs; P. Leary - 1-3, 1 run, RBI; Helgeson - 1-3, 1 run, RBI; Thompson - 2-2, 1 run, 2 RBI; Allen - 2-4, 1 run; Bowden - 0-2, 2 BB; C. Leary - 0-1; Becker - 1-3, 1 run; McLaughlin - 1-2, 2 BB, 2 runs

SIOUX FALLS 000 00 - 0

ALEX 322 10 - 8

ALEX PITCHING - Stockert - W, 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 12SO

ALEX OFFENSE - Swedberg - 2-3, 1 run, RBI; Peterson - 2-3, 2 runs, 3 RBI; Helgeson - 1-2; Thompson - 0-3; Allen - 1-2, 1 run, BB; Bowden - 1-3, 1 run; Knoblach - 3-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI; C. Leary - 1-1; Becker - 0-2; McLaughlin - 2-3, RBI

MH 236 001 0 - 12

ALEX 326 112 X - 15

ALEX PITCHING - Backhaus - 2IP, 6H, 8R, 7ER, 2BB, 0SO; C. Leary - 5IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB, 5SO

ALEX OFFENSE - Swedberg - 0-4, 1 run; Peterson - 3-4, BB, 3 runs, 2 RBI; Helgeson - 0-3, BB; Thompson - 0-4, 1 run, RBI, BB; Allen - 1-4, HR, 1 run, BB, 2 RBI; Anderson - 1-2, 2 BB, 3 runs, RBI; Bowden - 1-2, 2 BB, 3 runs; Knoblach - 1-4, 3 runs, 3 RBI; McLaughlin - 3-4, 3 RBI

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.

(320) 763-1229