Junior Legion ties Mabel-Canton; Legion Tourney underway

ABOVE: Jacob Olerud gets the out in center field during 14 & under doubleheader against Tomah. BELOW: Second baseman Lawrence Skauge throws to first base during 14 & under action versus Tomah. Photos by S. Lee Epps
S. Lee Epps

The Spring Grove American Legion team (19 & Under) received the No. 6 seed in the playoffs and played on Monday of this week at No. 3 Plainview-Elgin-Millville. 

In the double elimination format, the Lions play tonight (Wednesday, July 17) against either No. 2 Caledonia or No. 7 Chatfield. The tournament continues on Friday and Saturday.

Last week was the second straight week with no decision for these older Lions (3-1) when the Lake City American Legion team did not have enough players to make the trip. 

The 16 & under Lions (Junior Legion) went three hours against Mabel-Canton before it ended in a 10-10 tie.

The 14 & under boys dropped a home doubleheader against Tomah.

The Little League guys (7th grade & under) began with a crossover doubleheader trip to Preston where they shut out Grand Meadow before being blanked themselves by Spring Valley.

Base hits were hard to come by for these guys in gray, and shutouts continued in all three games at the annual Shooky Fink 13 & under Tournament in New Albin.  This all sixth-grade Little League roster is 5-12 against usually older 7th grade competition.

The 11 & under boys enjoyed three home runs in a 14-9 home league win against Sparta (Wis.).

Jr. Legion (16U): SG 10, Mabel-Canton 10

The Lions trailed early at 1-0 and 3-1 but appeared well on the way to a win after a big six-run second inning gave them a 7-3 lead. 

In that eruption, Carson Gerard broke the game open with a bases-loaded, three-RBI double and then quickly scored himself on a double from Ty Cleven for a 7-3 Lion lead,

Spring Grove led 10-5 after five innings when the Cougars came up with their own big inning. After only three base hits through the first five frames, M-C combined four singles with three walks to score four runs. The Cougars had the bases loaded with only one out, but could not score the equalizer; the Lions escaped with a 10-9 lead.

The Cougars did tie the score at 10 in the top of the final seventh and were retired with runners on second and third.

The Lions were poised for a walk-off win by loading the bases, but the game ended with a strikeout.

Spring Grove out-hit the visitors 10 to 8 with Payton Leahy (2 RBIs) and Isaac Griffin (RBI) each batting 3 for 4 with Cleven going 2 for 5 with two RBIs. Gerard and Caden Grinde had the other two hits.

For M-C, Randy Gerard went 2 for 3 and Jaymeson Tollefsrud 2 for 4.

The Cougars left 13 runners on base while the Lions stranded 10. M-C committed three errors; SG had five miscues but also turned a double play.

On the mound for Spring Grove, Grinde and Leahy combined to strike out 14 batters, walk 11 and hit one. Four Cougar pitchers were in on 12 strikeouts, 10 walks and one hit batter.

The season ended for these Lions a record of 1-1-1.

14 & under: Tomah 13, SG 1

Tomah starter Bryan Thornton and reliever Seby Wilbanks combined to toss a five-inning no-hitter. However, eight Lions reached base - two with errors and six with walks. Spring Grove scored in the first inning with a walk and two Tomah errors.

The visitors banged out 12 base hits, all singles. They scored four runs before the second out of the game and took a 6-0 lead into the final inning before exploding for seven late runs. Four of the five Lion errors came in that final frame.

The defensive play of the game was a diving catch in left field by Spring Grove's Dane Edgington.

Tomah 4, SG 2

Nathan Solberg batted 2 for 2 and drove in the second Lion run in the fourth inning. That would be the final inning due to the league time limit.

Each team had three hits, including a lead-off single by Braedon Solie in the second inning, the first hit of the evening for the Lions.  Solie (1 for 2) was later robbed of another hit with a diving catch by the Tomah second baseman.

Two of the team's three hits came in that second inning, but Spring Grove did not score, greatly due to the Tomah infield turning a double play.

Tomah had also combined two hits into the top of that same inning. But with four walks and the only Lion error, the visitors scored all four runs before the first out. 

Spring Grove, with a walk and an error, scored an unearned run in the third inning. They added another unearned run with an error and Solberg's RBI single in the fourth.

SG is 4-6, including a 2-4 league record.

Little League (7G & under): SG 8, Grand Meadow 0

Ezra Griffin pitched a two-hit shutout while striking out 13 and walking only three.

Griffin and Braedon Solie each batted 2 for 3, accounting for four of the Lions' five hits. Spring Grove took a quick lead with Solie's two-RBI home run in the bottom of the first inning. 

It would be 4-0 before the first out with Zach Brumm being hit by a pitch and coming home on an RBI single by Brandon Jahnke. Jahnke would score with the help of a wild pitch and a passed ball.

The Lions added three runs in the second inning before closing the scoring with a run in the fourth.

Spring Valley 13, SG 0

The Lions managed only two singles from Gavin Ostern and Jackson Moen in the run-rule, three-inning loss.

Hard-hitting Spring Valley scored 13 runs on eight hits, including a home run, two triples and a double.

Shooky Fink Tourney: Decorah 7, SG 0

With two outs in the fifth inning, Asher Liptack was the Lions' last hope to avoid a no-hitter when he slipped a single through the infield. For Decorah, Brayden Wemark tossed the one-hit shutout while striking out seven and walking only one.

That walk and an error provided the only runners for Spring Grove until the late single.

Decorah managed only two base hits (both singles) but took advantage of six walks and three errors.

New Albin 14, SG 0

Ben Udstuen was the only Lion to reach base with a double in the first inning. Indian pitchers, Dalton Mudderman and Kaden Drape combined to get seven of the nine outs with strikeouts in the three-inning, run-rule game.

    New Albin scored 14 runs with only six hits, including four RBI doubles.

Finishing third in the three-team pool, Spring Grove moved into the fifth place game against Lansing.

Lansing 10, SG 0

Carter Seitz pitched a no-hitter that ended after three innings with the run rule. Three Lions reached base with two walks and a Lansing error. The Mudcats scored 10 runs with five hits, all singles.

11 & under: SG 14, Sparta 9

Sparta (Wis.) scored first, but the Lions led 14-6 after three successive home runs - a two-RBI blast by Travis Fisch, followed by solo homers from Devon Williams and Christian Bjerke. It was the first league win for Spring Grove (2-7, 1-5 league).