Baseball: Legends hold their heads high after a runner-up finish in Region 13

The Legends have made a name for themselves in their first season by making it to the Region 13 final. And while St. Cloud CTC beat Alexandria College in the championship game, Alexandria is proud of the start they've had.

Alexandria College's Levi Lampert (6) puts his arm around Calen O'Connell (9) after the team's 12-5 loss in the NJCAA DIII Region 13 Championship game to St. Cloud Community and Technical College on May 20, 2023, in St. Cloud.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

ST. CLOUD - The Alexandria College baseball team made its goal in its first season in program history to be competitive at a high level.

And this season, the Legends have done that.

Their hard work and determination led them to Saturday's NJCAA DIII Region 13/North Plains District Championship game in St. Cloud against the St. Cloud Technical and Community College Cyclones.

Since the tournament is in a double-elimination format, Alexandria would've needed to win the game that started at noon and a game afterward if Alexandria won the first game.

Things didn't go the way that the Legends, as the Cyclones won 12-5, but the Legends are proud of the journey they had to get to this point in their first season in program history.


"I couldn't be prouder," Alexandria head coach Jason Fischer said. "There were 16 teams left playing this morning, and we were one of them. We didn't do what we had hoped we were going to do. But the fact that we were one of two teams left in the region as a first-year program with almost exclusively freshmen just sort of ended. It goes to show you what kind of baseball players we have. The future's definitely bright."

With the win, St. Cloud is headed to the NJCAA DIII World Series, which begins on Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Greeneville, Tennessee.

"We've struggled at the plate a little bit, and we have a young group that went through a lot of growing pains early on," St. Cloud head coach David Kroger Jr. said. "But the guys just believed in one another. And we believed in them, and they found a way. We talked this into existence from the very first day of practice."

St. Cloud (24-10) is one of seven district champions who will make the World Series, along with an at-large team.

"With the losses that we had in the regular season, I wouldn't be surprised if they gave us the eighth seed, and we face the No. 1 ranked team in the country," Kroger said. "That's where we were last year, and we got walked off in the ninth inning."

Both teams began the game hot at the plate.

St. Cloud plated two unearned runs in the first, then scored three in the second, one in the third, and two in the fourth. Joel Torres Rivera, who won the region tournament's most valuable player award, went 4-for-5 at the plate on Saturday.

Felix Porras and Jack Thiesen-DSC_3124.JPG
Alexandria's Jack Thiesen (right) taps helmets with Felix Porras (left) after hitting a 2-run home run in the bottom of the second inning in the team's Region 13 championship game against St. Cloud Technical and Community College in St. Cloud on May 20, 2023. St. Cloud won the game, 12-5.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Alexandria had a solo home run by Levi Lampert in the first and a Jack Thiesen 2-run home run in the second inning. Alexandria scored once in the third and fifth inning.


Alexandria cut into St. Cloud's lead with a run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning.

But the Cyclones scored an insurance run in the eighth and three in the top of the ninth to seal a 12-5 win.

The Legends got to championship Saturday with a win over Century College on Thursday, 6-5, and Friday, 5-4, thanks to a Carter Ruschmeier walk-off single in the 10th inning, but had a 2-1 loss to St. Cloud to begin the day on Friday.

Carter Ruschmeier-DSC_3144.JPG
Alexandria College's Carter Ruschmeier hits the ball high into the air in the Region 13 Championship game against St. Cloud Technical and Community College on May 20, 2023. Ruschmeier hit a walk-off RBI single on May 19, 2023, against Century College, to get Alexandria to the championship.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Fischer said that the 2-1 loss to St. Cloud on Friday was the tougher one to take because of how many runs they left on the base paths.

"We left 14 guys on base; 11 of them were in scoring position," Fischer said. "When you have all those nine-inning games in such a short amount of time, there's not a ton of energy left."

Alexandria ended the day on Saturday with a 23-10 record this season.

Fischer was the long-time head coach of St. Cloud before moving to Alexandria after St. Cloud completed its 2021 season.

He guided four Cyclone teams to the World Series and finished with a 295-85 record in St. Cloud.


His work with the Legends this season drew the admiration of Kroger, who was an assistant under him while he coached at St. Cloud.

"He's my vote for the region coach of the year," Kroger said. "I got all the respect in the world for coach Jason Fischer. He's the one who opened the college door for me, and I know he puts together good ball clubs and he's got a great team. To build a program from scratch like that and to bring in the recruits that he did and to do the job that he did, get all the wins and all the success, I expected nothing less. We were talking to the parking lot the other night, and we had a feeling the stars would align, and it would be us playing here."

Fischer and company are proud of the season that they had.

"You can't finish as region runner-up and not feel good about yourself," Fischer said. "But then the idea that there's only one sophomore on this team, the foundation we have is rock solid."

Now it's back to work for Alexandria to prepare for next season.

"We're going to do some recruiting, turn in equipment, clean some uniforms, and get ready for next year," Fischer said. "That's the thing about college athletics. If you're going to do it right, it never stops. I'll be out at high school games and preparing for next year."

St. Cloud - 2 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 3 - 12 15 0

Alexandria - 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 - 5 7 5


ST. CLOUD OFFENSE - Joel Torres Rivera - 4-5, 2 R; Cayden Hansen - 0-6, RBI, R; Sam Holthaus - 0-3, 2 R, RBI, BB; Brock Woitalla - 3-5, R, RBI, BB; Peyton Randall - 0-3, BB; Peyton Winter - 1-1, R; Dylan Gertken - 2-4, R, 2 RBI, BB; Matthew Perry - 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB; Blaine Fischer - 3-4, 2 R, RBI, BB; Brady Linn - 1-5

ST. CLOUD PITCHING - Brock Woitalla - W - 2 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 HR; Kayden Swenson - 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO; Landon Lunser - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Levi Lampert - 1-4, 2 R, RBI; Carter Ruschmeier - 1-4, BB; Carter Lang - 0-4, BB; Brady Goebel - 0-3, RBI; Felix Porra - 1-3, R, RBI, BB; Jack Thiesen - 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB; Jacob Merrill - 1-4; Noah Lower - 1-3, BB; Gannon Hall - 0-1, BB

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Kai Mayfield - 2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO; Chuck Hackett - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB; Caden Sand - 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO; Lucas Burgum - 2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO; Jalen Vorpahl - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB

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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