Nick Levasseur’s no-hitter part of clean game all around for Alexandria Junior Legion Black in second-place win

Alexandria Black is playing good baseball at the right time with the playoffs nearing. Alexandria Red (15-11) goes 1-3 at the junior legion teams' home tournament, with that win coming in an 8-0 final against Worthington where Brady Swensrud tossed a complete game.

Alexandria's Nick Levasseur delivers a pitch in his seven-inning no-hitter against New Ulm in the Alexandria Black Junior Legion team's 6-1 win in the second-place game of their home tournament on July 11, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Alexandria Integrity Title Junior Legion Black team is picking a good time to be playing some of its best baseball of the summer with the district tournament right around the corner.

Alexandria Black, comprised of players who are about to start their junior year of high school, won the second-place game at Alexandria’s home tournament this past weekend that ran from July 9-11. The field also consisted of Alexandria Red (15-year olds), Worthington, New Ulm, Blaine, Elk River, Aitkin and Marshall.

Alexandria Black went 2-1-1 overall and ended with about as complete of a game that a team can play in a 6-1 win over New Ulm on Sunday.

Alexandria's Nick Levasseur delivers a pitch to home plate during his seven-inning no-hitter against New Ulm on July 11, 2021. Levasseur struck out five and issued two walks. The lone run for New Ulm in the 6-1 final was unearned after a walk and a defensive error led off the sixth inning in an otherwise clean game for Alexandria Junior Legion Black. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)


Nick Levasseur was unhittable against New Ulm. Literally. The hard-throwing right-hander tossed a seven-inning no-hitter and needed just 86 pitches to do so, with 55 of those going for strikes.

“I was just trusting my pitches,” Levasseur said. “It was great pitch calling, and a lot of the time I was hitting all my spots and going on the corners. Wasn’t leaving it over the middle a lot.”

Levasseur’s only blemish came on an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth inning when New Ulm’s Grant Bruns worked a leadoff walk. A bunt up the first-base line led to a bobbled fielding attempt as Alexandria’s Auggie Gulbrandson charged up the line for what was ruled an error when Carter Haala just beat the throw back to first.

After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Bruns scored on a ground out before Levasseur got a strike out to end the inning. Levasseur had five strikeouts total and two walks.

He leaned on his defense the rest of the way as that one error in the sixth was the only miscue in an otherwise clean game.

“A lot of 1-2-3 innings. Great defense behind me,” Levasseur said. “You really appreciate games like that. You really need it, especially when you only have a three-run lead (much of the game). You really have to play tight, and the defense behind me played great.”

Alexandria's Matthew Hornstein (left) gets congratulated by teammates Wyatt Mohr (11) and Spencer Schmidt (1) after scoring a second-inning run against New Ulm on July 11, 2021. Hornstein had two hits and scored twice in the Alexandria Black Junior Legion team's 6-1 win that wrapped up second place in their home tournament. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)


Alexandria held that 3-0 lead through four innings before adding an insurance run in the fifth when Matthew Hornstein (2-for-3 with two runs) scored on a ground ball off the bat of Tripp Shatek. Gulbrandson then made it 6-0 in the top of the sixth with a two-run single that scored Spencer Schmidt and Tyler Kludt after Schmidt walked and Kludt doubled to lead off the inning.

Kludt reached base three times with two hits and a hit-by-pitch out of the leadoff spot. His two-out single in the top of the second inning drove in two big runs early for Levasseur to work with as Alexandria went up 3-0.

“I felt pretty confident,” Kludt said of his at-bats. “I’ve been working in the cage a lot with (coach) Lee (Backhaus). I get up to bat and know I’m going to hit the ball and put it in play. That’s the kind of mentality I have to have, and it seems to work out most of the time.”

Alexandria Junior Legion Black coach Lee Backhaus talks with Spencer Schmidt near third base during Alexandria's 6-1 win over New Ulm on July 11, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The summer season for baseball players at this age group is a lot about improvement and showing they might be ready for a role on the high school varsity team next spring. That’s the next step in their baseball career, and Sunday’s win showcased good play all around.

“A lot of this play is getting ready for next year,” Levasseur said. “It’s developing pitches, always just working harder each day trying to get better. We’re just looking forward to what’s to come.”

Alexandria has climbed over the .500 mark and is trending in the right direction with the district tournament now just days away.


Alexandria Junior Legion Black shortstop Tyler Kludt throws to first base for an out against New Ulm on July 11, 2021. Kludt had two hits, a run scored and two RBIs to help Alexandria to a 6-1 win over New Ulm. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

“It was a slow start to the season,” Kludt said. “This team has really gelled together. We’re all working hard, talking to each other. We’re all batting around good. You see the success because of it. It’s a good spot to be as we head into the tournament.”

Alexandria has a doubleheader scheduled at Aitkin on July 14 that starts at 5 p.m. The district tournament for both the Alexandria Red and Black teams runs from July 21-24 in Marshall with seeding taking place on July 17.

Alexandria Black’s lone loss of this home tournament came in a 4-2 final against Elk River. These players feel good about how they are playing with the playoffs looming.

“I think everyone trusts each other in knowing we can hit around the order,” Kludt said. “We have depth throughout the lineup. We know we can play with the best teams, so we’ll see how that goes in the district tournament.”

Alexandria Red goes 1-3

Alexandria’s 15-year-old Soderholm Insurance and Oral Surgery Junior Legion Red baseball team (15-11) went 1-3 at the home tournament over the weekend.

The Red’s lone win came in an 8-0 game against Worthington when Brady Swensrud tossed a five-inning complete game. He allowed just two hits, while walking three and striking out five. Jordan Kuhnau, Gavin Klimek, Cameron Simon, Caleb Gimbel and Walker Hennen all drove in a run in that game, while Gimbel and Kuhnau both scored twice.


Alexandria fell 9-5 to New Ulm, 9-3 to Blaine and 7-3 to Marshall in the third-place game on Sunday. Kuhnau had a double and two more RBIs in that final game against Marshall.

Klimek drove in two runs against Blaine, and Ben Scott had three hits, including a double, and a run scored against New Ulm. Carter Simonson doubled and tripled against New Ulm on his way to two runs scored and an RBI. Kuhnau continued his big weekend with a double and a single while scoring once and driving in a run.

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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