Legion baseball: A grand recovery at Grand RapidsA long, successful weekend at the Grand Rapids Invitational finally caught up with the Farmington Legion baseball team Monday night. Post 189, coming off back-to-back wins over North St. Paul and Marshall on Day 2 of the tournament Saturday and a three-hour drive back to Farmington on Sunday, were swept 1-0, 10-2 in Faribault.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
A long, successful weekend at the Grand Rapids Invitational finally caught up with the Farmington Legion baseball team Monday night.
Post 189, coming off back-to-back wins over North St. Paul and Marshall on Day 2 of the tournament Saturday and a three-hour drive back to Farmington on Sunday, were swept 1-0, 10-2 in Faribault.
“We came out of the Grand Rapids tournament a better team than when we went in, which was nice to see,” Post 189 coach Andy Pierskalla said. “We had one little hiccup in the first game and by the second game we were out of gas. We had to fight all day Saturday and the guys gave a great effort, but after so many games in so many days, plus a travel day, the guys were really tired.”
Starter Jonathan Ellis, who was unavailable for the weekend tournament, provided Farmington a fresh arm in Monday’s opener. He held a strong Faribault offense to one run and struck out six in a complete-game loss.
“It was nice to have the ace of our staff fresh and ready to go,” Pierskalla said. “He threw hard and kept their hitters off balance.”
Post 189 matched Faribault’s seven hits, but stranded runners in six of seven innings. Drew Hegseth and John Stibal each had two hits.
Faribault scored three runs in the second and four more in the fourth in a 10-2 win in Game 2.
Stible drove in both Farmington runs, ripping an RBI single in the first and an RBI double in the third.
Grand Rapids, Day 1
St. Michael-Albertville finally got to Justin Tang in the fourth inning, tallying four hits and four runs as it rallied for a 5-3 win in the first round of the Grand Rapids Invitational Friday morning.
Post 189 grabbed an early 2-1 lead when Nate Graham hit an RBI double and Ty Vincent drove in a run with a single.
Farmington, playing its second straight game, barely avoided being no-hit against a fresh Richfield team on Saturday afternoon.
Richfield scored three in the third, four in the fifth and led 10-0 by the time Vincent hit a single in the bottom of the seventh. Stibal followed with a two-run double to break up the shutout.
Grand Rapids, Day 2
Post 189 trailed 6-3 and 7-6 in Saturday’s opener against North St. Paul before rallying for an 11-7 victory.
Jake Baskerville and Spencer Merle started a three-run rally in the fourth with back-to-back walks. Graham followed with an RBI single and Stibal’s two-run single made it 6-6.
Nick Newman, Zach Wallace and Matt Rudorfer each had RBI hits during a four-run sixth that gave Post 189 the lead for good.
Jack Buss came on in relief of starter Vincent in the fourth and held North St. Paul to one run on one hit over the final four innings.
Farmington’s bats stayed hot in Saturday’s tournament finale. Baskerville and Graham each supplied three of the team’s 14 hits in a 9-5 win over Marshall.
Spencer Merle started and got the win, allowing five runs and striking out six in seven innings.
“We had a meeting Friday and basically said it was time for the team to come together and right the ship and they played their hearts out after that,” Pierskalla said. “After the first win (vs. North St. Paul) we said we needed to keep playing hard and the kids did that. We really became a team on Saturday, everybody was positive and gave a great effort.”