Ashby hands Glenwood-Lowry second loss of the summer in battle of two West Central Legion district title hopefuls

Two runs was all Ashby needed to knock off Glenwood-Lowry on Monday night in what could be a preview of the West Central district championship.

Carter Spangler (right) throws the ball to first base for the final out while pitcher Noah Johnson watches in Ashby's 2-1 win over Glenwood-Lowry on July 12, 2021. Spangler and Johnson combined for seven innings on the mound with three hits allowed. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Glenwood-Lowry legion baseball coach Joe Alexander had Monday's game against Ashby circled on the calendar as an important one.

Just four days before the West Central sub-district playoff tournaments begin, a potential championship matchup took place at Minnewaska, which saw Ashby escape with a 2-1 win. But, if things go Alexander's way, this won't be the only time his squad gets a crack at one of the most talented legion teams in the area.

Dwight Walvatny (left) leads a mound visit in the bottom of the seventh inning in Ashby's 2-1 win over Glenwood-Lowry on July 12, 2021. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

"That's why we schedule games like this," Alexander said. "They have an excellent coach, who runs a great program up there. We both have great programs, so hopefully we are locking horns again in a few weeks."


Ashby's Mattson Hoff drove in Noah Johnson with a two-out double in the top of the third inning. That would be the game's only run until the fifth inning, where Hunter Norby drove in Carter Spangler with a sacrifice fly to center field.

"We knew they had three or four top-line pitchers," Ashby coach Dwight Walvatne said. "We just knew we had to score one or two runs because we weren't going to get many more. Our pitchers did a good job of throwing strikes and keeping them quiet all night, and the defense played well behind them."

Noah Johnson (3) and Hunter Norby (22) are welcomed back to the dugout after a 2-1 win over Glenwood-Lowry legion on July 12, 2021. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press) square

Ashby didn't commit a single error compared to Glenwood-Lowry's three, all coming in the first and fifth innings.

"Errors are at a premium around here," Alexander said. "We had the holiday and a few cancelations, so they might have been rusty tonight. I kind of chalk it up to that. We'll get a couple of nights of practice this week and be ready for Friday."

Glenwood-Lowry put a rally together in the bottom of the seventh when it loaded the bases with one out. Darion Alexander reached base with a leadoff single and later scored on a fielder's choice from Logan Rood. With the tying run on third, PJ Johnson hit a sharp groundout to Carter Spangler at third base to end the game.

Glenwood-Lowry heads into its sub-district tournament as the top seed in the east. Long Prairie awaits with Sauk Centre and Brooten on the other side of the bracket. Alexander hopes a promising last inning offensively sparks the bats heading into the double-elimination tournament.

"It was encouraging to see the fight at the end there," Alexander said. "I would stack this team up against anybody else we'll see in the playoffs. If we come out and play Lakers baseball and Glenwood-Lowry baseball, we'll have a shot. There's a lot of excellent teams in the area, and it's not going to be easy. But we're up for the challenge. This is why you play the game."


Dylan Alexander leads off from third base in bottom of the seventh inning in Glenwood-Lowry's 2-1 loss to Ashby on July 12, 2021. Alexander went 0-for-2 with a walk. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

One of the biggest reasons Glenwood-Lowry is 10-2 this summer is its pitching staff. It was a community effort on Monday night with four different arms coming into the game. Glenwood-Lowry's four pitchers held a potent Ashby lineup to just five hits and two runs.

"Our guys are as good as anybody you're going to see out on the mound," Alexander said. "They've competed on some big stages over many years, so I'll take them over any pitching staff in the area. They're bulldogs, and they get after it."

While Glenwood-Lowry's arms were good, Ashby's were better. Noah Johnson and Carter Spangler threw all seven innings and allowed just three hits.

"It was impressive," Walvatne said. "We played pretty good defense too. The routine ones we got to all night, and our pitchers threw strikes. I think we're going to need to score more than two runs if we play them again. If you play this Minnewaska team 10 times, two runs won't be enough in most of them."

Ashby drew the top seed in the north sub-district and will look to knock off Wheaton, Parkers Prairie and Brandon-Evansville-West Central Area this weekend.


PJ Johnson hits a ground ball to third base in Glenwood-Lowry's 2-1 loss to Ashby on July 12, 2021 at Minnewaska Secondary. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

Over the last calendar year, Ashby has been through several deep playoff runs in football, basketball and baseball. After falling in the Section 6A title game to New York Mills, Walvatne believes the motivation to get over the hump is there.

"They're battle-tested, and they don't get intimated in tight games," Walvatne said. "You saw it in the high school playoffs. They won a lot of close games… You just have to make the plays and keep getting outs. It's a simple game. Most of the time, that will work out. They've been really motivated, and they play the game the right way."

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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