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Black Sox relish the role of underdogs as they show they belong with Class C's best after making run to the state semifinals

Alexandria's Travis Krueger is named to the all-tournament team after a huge weekend that included three home runs, six hits total and 10 RBIs.

Alex Black Sox Team photo_State.JPG
Members of the Alexandria Black Sox state tournament team that made a run to the semifinals of the Class C tournament included, left to right, Joe Snaza (Kensington Norsemen draftee), Brady Burgau, Eric Carlsen, Jordan Smith, Chris Curry, Carter Stockert, Brett Savelkoul, Mitch Thompson, Blake Stockert, Shawn Krueger, Travis Krueger and Teigen Moritz (Kensington Norsemen draftee). Not pictured but part of the team at state were Matthew Carlsen, Dylan Haskamp (Sauk Centre draftee), Colin Erickson and player/manager Alex Harste. (Contributed photo)

The Alexandria Black Sox amateur baseball team set out in its second straight state tournament appearance this year with something to prove after losing big to Maple Lake in the 2020 tournament’s opening round.

Given a second chance, the Black Sox certainly did prove they belonged with the other top teams in the Class C field.

Alexandria’s playoff run ended on Sunday night, but not until this team made it all the way to the tournament semifinals. The Black Sox, playing their third game of the weekend, fell in a 9-6 game to eventual state champion Sobieski in the quarterfinals.

It was a game of offense as the Black Sox totaled 12 hits, and the Skis pounded out 17. Travis Krueger was dominant at the plate throughout the day for the Black Sox, and especially in that final game. He had three home runs between two games on Sunday, including a 2-home run, 4-hit, 5-RBI and 2-run game against Sobieski.

“Honestly, I was just trying to go up there and make contact,” Krueger said. “With those three home runs, they just happened to make really good contact and leave the ballpark.”

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The Black Sox got to the semifinals by beating Waconia in a 6-1 game earlier on Sunday.

1 Blake Stockert DSC_3827.JPG
Alexandria's Blake Stockert pitches in the Region 16C tournament earlier this summer. Stockert threw a complete game in a win over Maple Lake at the Class C state tournament on Saturday as he struck out nine and allowed just two earned runs. (Photo by Jared Rubado / Alexandria Echo Press)

The Stockert brothers, Carter and Blake, were a big part of this team’s postseason success, and it was Carter’s turn to shine against Waconia. He had bouts of wildness with four walks and four hit batters, but that kept the Lakers uncomfortable at the plate as they managed just three hits and one run against Carter in seven innings.

Dylan Haskamp, a playoff draftee from the Sauk Centre Titans, shut the door on the win by going the final two innings and allowing just one hit.

Travis Krueger again provided much of the offense in this one as his 3-run home run in the fifth inning helped open up what was a 2-1 game at that point.

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Krueger was named to the all-tournament team after his six hits and 10 RBIs over the final three games this weekend. He also earned the tournament's MaxBat Silver Slugger Award after hitting at a .389 average, and a .944 slugging percentage with his three home runs and 10 RBIs.

Travis Krueger.JPG
Travis Krueger (19), shown here from a game against Maple Lake at the state tournament, was named to the Class C all-state tournament team after a dominant three games at the plate for the Black Sox Sept. 4 and 5. Krueger had three home runs as part of six hits and 10 RBIs in the three games as he helped lead the Black Sox to the state semifinals. (Contributed photo by Pam Thompson)

“Toward the end of the season is when we all really clicked,” Krueger said. “It wasn’t just me. As a team, we all started clicking and hitting the ball very well. We were able to produce a lot of runs, and that really helped us as a team.”

Alexandria got a rematch from the 2020 state tournament when it faced Maple Lake in the round of 16 to start its weekend. The Black Sox erased a 2-0 deficit after one inning by scoring three runs over the second and third to take their first lead in a 5-3 final.

Blake Stockert threw a gem in that game as he went all nine innings. The former North Dakota State University pitcher scattered seven hits and two walks as he limited Maple Lake to two earned runs. Stockert struck out nine.

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Chris Curry.JPG
Alexandria's Chris Curry returns to the dugout during the win over Maple Lake at the Class C amateur state baseball tournament. (Contributed photo by Pam Thompson)

Chris Curry had a big RBI late in the game as he finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a run scored. Travis Krueger jumpstarted his big weekend with two RBIs, while Eric Carlsen was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Alexandria came into the later rounds of the state tournament as somewhat of an unknown for a lot of opponents. The Black Sox made state for the first time last year, but they were eliminated in the opening round.

Playing the role of underdogs all tournament is part of what made this run so special.

Team.JPG
The Alexandria Black Sox celebrate their win over Maple Lake at the 2021 Class C amateur state baseball tournament. (Contributed photo by Pam Thompson)

“It was amazing. Just being probably one of the biggest underdogs there,” Krueger said. “Nobody knew who we were. Everybody was doubting us, and we took that to heart. We came up and honestly played our best ball of the season down there. A couple games we had too many errors, but all in all, we played our best ball at the right time.

“It was just a lot of fun to play ball with those guys down there. It was one of the best feelings beating all those teams when nobody was giving us a chance except us and our fans.”

Rosters are always fluid in amateur ball as lives change for players as they get older, but Krueger said much of the roster should be back as this group tries to put together another run next summer.

SOBIESKI 020 201 301 - 9 17 2

ALEXANDRIA 200 100 003 6 12 4

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Dylan Haskamp (Sauk Centre Titans draftee) - 6IP, 11H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 3SO; Joe Snaza (Kensington Norseman draftee) - 1IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 1SO; Matthew Carlsen - 2IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 0SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Chris Curry - 1-5; Matthew Carlsen - 1-5, 2 runs; Mitch Thompson - 1-5, 1 run; Travis Krueger - 4-5, 2 HR, 2B, 2 runs, 5 RBI; Brady Burgau - 1-5, 2B; Shawn Krueger - 2-4, 1 run; Eric Carlsen - 0-3; Colin Erickson - 1-4, 2B, RBI; Brett Savelkoul - 1-4

WACONIA 001 000 000 - 1 4 1

ALEXANDRIA 000 231 000 - 6 10 1

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Carter Stockert - W, 7IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 4HB, 7SO; Dylan Haskamp - 2IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 2SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Chris Curry - 1-5, RBI; Matthew Carlsen - 0-4; Mitch Thompson - 2-3, 2B, 2 runs; Travis Krueger - 1-4, HR, 1 run, 3 RBI; Brady Burgau - 2-4, 1 run, RBI; Shawn Krueger - 1-4; Eric Carlsen - 2-3, 1 run, RBI; Colin Erickson - 0-4; Brett Savelkoul - 1-4, 1 run

MAPLE LAKE 200 001 000 - 3 7 0

ALEXANDRIA 012 000 110 - 5 11 5

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Blake Stockert - W, 9IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 9SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Chris Curry - 2-4, 2B, 1 run, RBI; Matthew Carlsen - 1-4; Travis Krueger - 1-4, 2 RBI; Brady Burgau - 1-3, 1 run; Colin Erickson - 1 run; Shawn Krueger - 1-3; Eric Carlsen - 3-4, 1 run, 2 RBI; Brett Savelkoul - 1-4; Blake Stockert - 0-3

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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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