Baseball: Post 87 finishes home tournament on a high note
Alexandria Legion baseball catcher Riley Simonson assisted on the final out in his second consecutive game behind the plate.
With a Ham Lake runner on first base, Simonson received the pitch from Tate Breitkreutz before throwing the ball to Matthew Carlsen at first base to pick off the runner.
"It's a good way to end a game," Simonson said. "Probably the best way to end it other than hitting a bomb. Just happy to get the win."
Alexandria was able to break through offensively and beat Ham Lake 6-1 in Carlos on Sunday morning. After scoring three runs in the first three games of the tournament, the lineup was able to provide some insurance.
"I don't think they really changed that much. They just put the bat on the ball," Alexandria head coach Jake Munsch said. "We put all three facets of the game together. We continued to play defense and pitch well which we've done all weekend. Now the hits came alive and it showed on the board. That's what we are capable of doing."
One of the key components of Alexandria's offense on Sunday was playing the small ball game. Post 87 squared around for multiple bunts and flawlessly executed a suicide squeeze.
"It's something we work on a lot in practice," Simonson said. 'It's a big part of our offense. Anybody in the lineup is capable of laying a bunt down."
Even though this win doesn't bring Alexandria a tournament championship, it's something they can use as momentum going forward. Putting runs on the board has been a problem for Post 87. Munsch believes that the game they played today can be used as a building block in the weeks to come.
"In high school and Legion baseball, it's all about applying pressure," he said. "We were able to do things on the bases like delayed steals and threw in a suicide squeeze that forced (Ham Lake) to make some mistakes. Keeping that intensity is something we are good at and we hope it continues."
Throughout the tournament, the Alexandria pitching staff allowed six runs in four games. As a catcher, Simonson is impressed with the command his teammates have on the mound.
"It's awesome being back there. They hit their spots and keep us in games," he said. "It might be boring to be in the outfield, but it helps the defense out. Our pitching staff is a tough group."
Even though Post 87 had some great performances on the mound, they know they were a few hits away from winning both one-run games they lost on Friday and Saturday.
"The pitching staff played really well but they didn't strike out everybody either," Munsch said. "When the ball was in play it put our defense to work. We didn't have many errors but realistically we were one hit away in each game from winning all four this weekend."
Going forward, Alexandria will continue to emphasize offense.
"We're going to go back to work and start hitting," Simonson said. "If we hit like we did today we are going to win a lot of games. It's just about putting in the work."