The Alexandria Classic Clippers are peaking at the right time of the summer after a 15-5 win over the Kensington Outlaws in six innings.
The Clippers, who are members of the 35-and-older amateur baseball league in Minnesota, allowed the Outlaws’ first five batters to score. After giving up five runs in the top of the first inning, Alexandria scored 15 unanswered runs to earn its 12th win of the season.
“It’s hard to go 5-0 right away and stay optimistic about how the game is going to go,” player-coach Doug Breitkreutz said. “You get a guy on and get the ball rolling and you see what you can make happen.”
A six-run bottom of the second inning gave the Clippers their first lead of the game. The first three batters came around to score after a walk and a single from Kurt Kuhn. Alexandria's 6-5 lead gave the team some new life as the Clippers were able to put a dreadful first inning behind them.
“This is a team that we should beat, but we still have to come out here and play the game,” Breitkreutz said. “A lot of times we’ve been down and we’ve come back. We have a good hitting team with a lot of guys that can put the ball in play.”
After a three-run fourth inning, the Clippers scored five in the fifth. Breitkreutz drove in two runs with a double to put Alexandria up 14-5. A bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth ended the game.
The Clippers are 12-4 with just over a week before the state tournament. They believe they are playing their best baseball at the right time of their season.
“We feel pretty good right now,” Breitkreutz said. “We had a couple of guys that probably could’ve played tonight but they are coming back from injuries and we didn't want anything to happen right before the state tournament. We have a lot of guys that play a lot of different positions which is good.”
The Clippers have several youth baseball coaches on their roster. It’s no surprise that a large part of Alexandria’s success is due to the fundamentals of baseball that are preached throughout the season.
“We have some of the guys that coach on this team. Teaching is different than doing,” Breitkreutz said. “We always talk about communication. That’s why we have guys that can play four or five spots on the field. We communicate so well to try and get ahead on the decision making for guys in the field. It goes back to the fundamentals that we work on so much.”
Alexandria has a core group of guys who have played together for many years. Never putting one player’s interests in front of the team’s goal is what has led the Clippers to be successful in the past. With postseason right around the corner, Breitkreutz is hoping to see that same attitude.
“The struggle for the regular season is getting our full roster here. We’ve had our whole team here maybe two or three times,” Breitkreutz said. “It’ll be good to get our whole team here for the state tournament. People that commit to this team want to play. Nobody likes signing up just to sit on the bench the whole summer. I think we all realize that. We want to win, but having fun and playing the game is what’s important.”