Alexandria excited for the playoffs after combined no-hitter puts an exclamation point on strong finish to the regular season

Shay Endres, Elijah Holthaus and JD Hennen combine for 12 strikeouts in a five-inning no-hitter, and Devin Cimbura helps lead the offense with a three-hit, three-RBI day in a 10-0 win over Little Falls. It was part of a strong finish to the regular season as the Cardinals eye a run in the playoffs next.

Alexandria's Devin Cimbura celebrates toward his dugout after he drove a two-run double to right field that made it a 3-0 Cardinals' lead in the first inning on May 25, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Alexandria baseball team is playing the best it has all season long, and the Cardinals will need that to continue with the playoffs up next.

Alexandria lost five straight games from April 29 through May 6. The Cardinals (12-8) responded by winning seven of their last eight and putting an exclamation point on that run by beating Little Falls (8-11) 10-0 in five innings on Tuesday night in the regular-season finale.

“We’re playing pretty good right now,” Cardinals’ designated hitter Devin Cimbura said. “The team has really come together, and of all aspects, the pitching is what’s carrying us right now. Shay (Endres) and Devan (Swerman) and (Will) Suchy are throwing all strikes. We’re going to show up for playoffs, and we’re going to give the team that we’re playing our best shot.”

JD Hennen pitches in the seventh inning against Little Falls on May 25, 2021. Hennen walked one but struck out three in a scoreless final frame to join Shay Endres and Elijah Holthaus in throwing a five-inning, combined no-hitter in the 10-0 win over the Flyers. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)


Alexandria’s pitching was dominant against the Flyers. Endres, Elijah Holthaus (1IP, 1SO) and JD Hennen (1IP, 3SO) combined to throw a no-hitter as they struck out 12 batters.

“We’re all doing a really good job,” Endres said. “That’s what we need to be doing to compete against some of these good teams that we’re playing. Our whole pitching staff has just done a phenomenal job this year of throwing strikes and getting ahead on batters.”

Endres improved to 5-2 on the season and has now struck out 56 batters in 35 1/3 innings with an ERA near 1.00. He struck out eight in three frames on Tuesday.

Endres is throwing as hard as he has all season. He simply overpowered most of the Little Falls lineup with his fastball.

Alexandria senior Shay Endres pitches during the second inning of the Cardinals' win over Little Falls on May 25, 2021. Endres dominated the Flyers through three hitless innings. He struck out eight to earn the win. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

“Just the warmer weather is helping my arm loosen up,” Endres said. “Getting more reps in pitching is loosening it up, and it’s ready to rock and roll for playoffs.”

Cimbura had a three-hit night to lead the Alexandria offense. He laced a two-run double to right field in the first inning that made it a 3-0 game before Nate Hammerback singled in a run to help the Cardinals jump on the Flyers early.


“When that first at-bat comes around, I typically try to pick out first-pitch strikes,” Cimbura said. “That’s what I was trying to aim for. When I made contact, I knew that was going to score some runners. It got the team fired up, and I was really excited.”

Hennen and Cimbura had RBI singles in the second inning. Swerman added a two-run double in the third, and Grady Anderson singled in the final run that made it 10-0.

“We’re trying to be a little more aggressive, especially with runners in scoring position,” Alexandria head coach Jake Munsch said. “We saw guys aggressive early in the count. The other thing too is everyone from our cleanup hitter, our three hitter, we’re bunting the baseball. Just playing baseball the right way. That puts pressure on the defense. Then we have to come up with the timely hit, and we did that tonight.”

Alexandria' JD Hennen (left) and Will Suchy run off the field together after Hennen caught the final out of the third inning on a high pop up to shortstop during the Cardinals' win over Little Falls on May 25, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Alexandria looks like it will end up as the fifth seed in a good Section 8-3A tournament field. The Cardinals beat Rocori (12-7), the likely fourth seed, in a 10-2 game on May 13. The Spartans responded by winning five straight, including a 5-3 win over Sartell (16-3), the No. 3 ranked team in all of Class 3A through the QRF on

“The section is a beast,” Munsch said. “Everyone is really good. The pitching is really good, and we’ve obviously been pitching really good. It’s going to come down to who comes up with the timely hits...It’s going to be very difficult. We know that, but I’m also very confident that we can go compete with anybody.”

The top five teams in Section 8-3A are going to enter the playoffs with a winning record. Sartell may be the favorite, but Bemidji (13-6) and Detroit Lakes (16-2) join Rocori, Alexandria and Little Falls to form a deep field that should make for an exciting tournament.


“We have a really good section that we’re competing against this year, but I do think we’re right there with the top teams,” Endres said. “We just have to keep playing our game.”

Alexandria's Devan Swerman looks in at the pitch as he leads off from second base in front of Little Falls shortstop Matt Filippi on May 25, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Alexandria’s game down the stretch has been solid pitching, good defense and getting big hits from a lot of different guys in their lineup.

The Cardinals had a team ERA of 2.54 coming into Tuesday’s game. Endres looks like an ace atop the rotation, and Swerman (3-1, 26.1IP, 3.19 ERA, 26 SO) and Suchy (2-1, 24.2IP, 2.84 ERA, 34 SO) form a nice 1-2-3 starting punch on a staff that has allowed 3.8 runs per game.

If the rankings hold, Alexandria looks like it’s heading to Bemidji in the playoff opener on June 1. The Lumberjacks swept the Cardinals 5-2 and 10-0 on May 4, but this is an Alexandria team with a lot of confidence after getting on track to end the regular season.

“I feel as ready as we could be,” Munsch said. “The only thing I don’t like is we have a week off now. When you’re playing well, you want to keep playing. We’ll do our best to simulate that, but the whole saying is peak at the right time. We are playing our best baseball right now.”

LITTLE FALLS 000 00 - 0 0 2


ALEXANDRIA 424 0X - 10 10 0

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Elijah Holthaus - 1-2, BB, 3 runs; Devan Swerman - 2-2, 2B, 2 runs, 2 RBI; JD Hennen - 1-2, RBI; Shay Endres - 2 BB, 1 run, RBI; Grady Anderson - 1-2, 1 run, RBI; Devin Cimbura - 3-3, 2B, 1 run, 3 RBI; Nate Hammerback - 1-3, RBI; Brock Lerfald - 0-2; Lake Hagen - 1-2; Dayton Downing - 0-1; Brady McCoy - 2 runs

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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