W-K breaks scoreless stalemate in final inning

Sam Sanness had the only base hit for Spring Grove as the season ended at sub-section against Wabasha-Kellogg. Photo by S. Lee Epps
By : 
S. Lee Epps

The Spring Grove baseball season ended with a couple of bloop singles in the top of the final seventh inning of a tight 2-0 loss in the Sub-section 1A East Tournament opener. It was scoreless through the first six innings of the seven-inning game.

It was the first playoff contest hosted by No. 4 seed Spring Grove in 10 years and a very rare playoff road opener for No. 5 Wabasha-Kellogg, the defending sub-section and section champion, which finished fourth in last year's state tournament.

"Boy, what a great baseball game," said Lion mentor Chris Strinmoen. "I know some people prefer action and lost of runs, but what we saw tonight was my kind of game - a good ol' fashion pitching duel with a great defense behind it (two Lion double plays).

"About as good as I've seen Alex (Folz) pitch, and we backed him up with zero errors. The frustrating part was that we could not generate any offense."

Falcon senior Cooper Holtorf tossed a one-hitter, striking out 10 and walking only one.

"I tip my hat to Holtorf," said Strinmoen. "He did a great job challenging our hitters, and he dominated us tonight." 

Folz went the distance for the Lions, striking out eight and walking four. 

It took more than six innings, but the Falcons finally came up with key hits. W-K had only three singles through the first six frames, but then the visitors added three more singles while breaking the scoreless struggle in the seventh.

The bottom of the seventh started with a monster blow to deep center field by Sam Sanness, but senior Zach Kjeseth made a spectacular over-the-shoulder diving catch.

The only base hit for SG came as Sanness led off the second inning with a single over the head of the shortstop. A double play ended that inning. 

The other three Lion base runners came with two batters reaching on infield errors in the third and fourth innings and Carter Bratland drawing a walk in the fifth. Courtesy runner Caleb Nerstad had two stolen bases.

Spring Grove was shut out for the only time and closed the season at 10-5. Wabasha-Kellogg improved to 7-9 and joined No. 1 seed Rushford-Peterson, No. 2 Southland and No. 3 Schaeffer Academy in the sub-section semi-finals.

"It's a tough one to swallow right now," lamented the coach. "But I want my guys to feel proud about the improvements they have made, and I want them be hungry for next year.

"Hopefully, we can build off of all our experience next year and find us deeper into the playoffs. Just wasn't our night this time.

"Thank you to Adin (Solum), Sam and Austin (Patterson), our seniors, for their contributions to our program. They are always welcome back to be part of our baseball family."

W-K 000  000  2 - 2 6  2

SG   000  000  0 - 0  1 0

LOB: W-K 4, SG 3

WP-Holtorf, LP-Folz

Folz 7 IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 8K, 4W

Holtorf 7 IP, 1H, 0R, 10K, 1W

Lion lineup: p Alex Folz, c Carter Bratland, 1b Sam Sanness, 2b Payton Leahy, ss Nic Peterson, 3b Chandler Bergrud, lf Isaac Griffin, cf Adin Solum, rf Noah Elton, cr Caleb Nerstad, ph Kyle Hagen


SUB-SECTION 1A EAST (updated since print edition)

Rushford-Peterson, bye

Southland 14, Mabel-Canton 0

Wabasha-Kellogg 2, Sp. Grove 0

Schaeffer 6, Houston 0


(#1) R-P 9, (#5) Wabasha-Kellogg 8

(#3) Schaeffer 1 (#2) Southland 0

CHAMPIONSHIP: Rushford-Peterson 5, Schaeffer Academy 3


Wabasha-Kellogg 6, Southland 5

Wabasha Kellogg 9, Schaeffer Academy 3

>>>W-K advances to section as sub-section runner-up