Baseball: Alexandria College headed to region tournament after convincing win over CLC-Brainerd

Alexandria College is headed to the NJCAA Region 13 Tournament after winning a best-of-three series over CLC-Brainerd.

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Alexandria College's Chuck Hackett throws a pitch in the first inning of a 8-1 win over CLC-Brainerd on May 7, 2023. This win gave Alexandria a spot in the NJCAA DIII Region 13 Tournament.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

ALEXANDRIA - Things ended sourly for the Alexandria College baseball team on Friday as Central Lakes College-Brainerd won game two of a doubleheader, 7-6, that forced Sunday's game three to determine who will go to the 2023 NJCAA DIII Region 13 Tournament in St. Cloud.

Much like it did in the game one win on Friday, at the first possible opportunity, Alexandria jumped on CLC to win game three, 8-1, and advance to the NJCAA DIII Region 13 Tournament next week.

"This feels really good because we've been through some adversity with the weather, and we have 32 freshmen," Alexandria head coach Jason Fischer said. "We only have one sophomore, and no one really had the college experience, and no one really knew what to expect. But here they came out and absolutely played well and competed."

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Alexandria College's Lucas Burgum steps into the batter's box before an at-bat in a playoff game on May 7, 2023, against CLC-Brainerd.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Alexandria didn't take long to get going on as five of Alexandria's runs came in the top of the first inning, and the other three came in the second.

"It was win or go home, and having 32 freshmen that haven't been to regionals, we realized we needed to set the tone," Alexandria freshman Levi Lampert said. "We needed to set the tone because otherwise, we wouldn't be heading to regionals."


"We challenged them to go out there and do the things that they're capable of doing," Fischer said. "We got a leadoff hit by pitch, then the next guy singles, and the next guy, singles, and then all of a sudden, it kind of spirals from there. It starts at the top with Levi. He's been that sparkplug all year long."

Lampert scored the first of Alexandria's runs in game three.

Offensively, the Legends saw a lot of strikes thrown their way early, and they took advantage of that.

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Alexandria College's Levi Lampert celebrates on second base after a big play during a game on May 7, 2023, against CLC-Brainerd.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

"We saw a lot of first-pitch fastballs and then something off-speed on the second pitch," Lampert said. "So as the game went on, we just kind of sat on that."

These two strong offensive innings were all the Legends needed to earn the win.

The Legends were strong in the field on defense and had solid outings on the mound from their pitchers.

Chuck Hackett earned the win on the mound for the Legends. Hackett struck out four batters in three innings pitched.

Brock Depute, the team's only sophomore, pitched solidly in relief as he struck out five batters and allowed no runs or hits in three innings pitched. Jalen Vorpahl pitched the final inning and struck out one.


"We're beat up on the mound and in the field, but we absolutely battled," Fischer said. "Chuck wasn't feeling very good. Brock came in on three days rest, and Jalen just pitched on Friday, but they all wanted to finish this out and get an opportunity to play in the region tournament. We got an absolutely gutty performance from all three guys."

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Alexandria College's Brock Depute hurls a pitch to the plate during a playoff game on May 7, 2023.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Alexandria (18-7) outscored CLC 20-12 (16-13) in the three-game play-in series.

The Legends, who are in their first-ever season, are one of 10 teams who will play in the regional championship tournament.

In the tournament, those ten teams will be split into two 5-team pods. The top two teams from each pod will advance to the super regional the following week in St. Cloud.

The super regional winner then moves on to the NJCAA DIII World Series in Greenville, Tennessee, from May 27-June 1, 2023.

The seedings and matchups for the Region 13 Tournament have yet to be announced but are expected to be announced in the next day or so.

Fischer has experience taking teams this far and much deeper in the postseason.

He led the St. Cloud Technical and Community College Cyclones to four Region 13 titles in 10 seasons and helped them place fifth in the 2021 NJCAA DIII World Series before accepting the head coaching job at Alexandria.


"We've got to minimize mistakes," Fischer said. "You have to get the ball in play, and You got to be able to score guys from third base with less than two outs. You have to play defense and throw the ball over the plate. It's sort of the cliches that people always talk about. You have to pitch well, play good defense, and score runs. That is the case with the region tournament. And if you do those things, you got a shot. If you don't do those things, you have no shot."

The Legends enter the tournament as one of the top defensive teams in the country.

The Legends are 11th in batting average against (.257), 19th in earned run average (4.41), and 15th in strikeouts with 154 (stats according to NJCAA website as of Sunday, May 7, 2023).

The Legends have a team batting average of .296 and average 7.16 runs per game.

"We're all super pumped, and hopefully, this momentum can continue into next weekend," Lampert said. "We're trying to play our best baseball right now, and it's finally all starting to come in. So we're pretty confident."

CLC-Brainerd - 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 1 5 4

Alexandria - 5 3 0 0 0 0 X - 8 7 1

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Carter Lang - 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI; Levi Lampert - 1-3, 2 R; Jacob Merrill - 1-3, R; Felix Porras - 1-3, R, 2 RBI; Mason Conrad - 1-3, R; Carter Ruschmeier - 1-3, 2 RBI; Brady Goebel - 0-1, R, 2 BB


ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Chuck Hackett - W, 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO; Brock Depute - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO; Jalen Vorpahl - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 SO

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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