Griffin prevails in 2-1 pitchers'-duel win

ABOVE: The Hokah catcher has the ball in glove but not in time to prevent Jaxon Strinmoen from stealing home during 14 & under win for Spring Grove. BELOW: Caleb Griffin dives for dazzling outfield grab in American Legion action against Caledonia. The freshman also had a run-saving, sliding catch to preserve the lead and ultimately the win at St. Charles. Photos by S. Lee Epps
S. Lee Epps

Isaac Griffin prevailed in an American Legion (19 & under) pitchers' duel at St. Charles last Thursday, three evenings after a home loss to Caledonia.

The 14 & under Lions (3-3, 1-1 league) won a non-league home game against Hokah, 14-5 before splitting a league double header at Stoddard.

In Little League play (7th grade & under), Spring Grove (4-4, 4-1 league) swept three from Hokah, Preston and Grand Meadow.

19 & Under: Caledonia 12, SG 3

Lion pitchers, Carter Bratland and Caleb Nerstad, combined to strike out 10 and walk only two, but the Warriors pounded out 15 hits, including four doubles.

There were only eight earned runs for Caledonia due to six Lion errors.

Warrior starter Eric Augedahl struck out 10 and walked only one; reliever Cole Folsom walked two. Backed up by a one-error defense. they combined to allow only five hits, but two were doubles.

The Lions went the first four innings without a base hit before getting three hits in the fifth frame, starting with a double by Nerstad (2 for 3, RBI).

With two outs, Nerstad scored after back-to-back singles from freshmen Logan Brumm and Caleb Griffin. That made the score 4-1 before the visitors added eight runs in the final two innings.

Spring Grove added two runs in the sixth inning with a double by Isaac Griffin, aided by two walks and the only Warrior error. 

The defensive gem was a diving catch in right field by Caleb Griffin.

Caledonia 12, SG 3

Cal 002  025  3 -12  15 1 

SG 000  012  0 - 3   5 6

LOB: SG 2, Cal 9

SG: 2 doubles, 3 singles

Cal: 4 doubles, 11 singles

WP-Augedahl, LP Bratland

Bratland 5 IP, 10H, 8R, 5ER, 9K. 1W, 1HB

Nerstad 2 IP, 5H, 4R, 3ER, 2K, 1W

Augedahl 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 2ER, 10K, 1W

Folsom 2 IP, 2H, 2R, 0 ER, 0K, 2W

19 & Under: SG 2, St. Charles 1

Both pitchers went all seven innings while tossing three hitters and walking no one. Griffin struck out seven while St Charles senior Will Smith fanned five.

Griffin was backed up by a hard-working and effective defense during a light rain.

The Lions overcame their one error, but one of two St. Charles errors allowed Bratland to score what would become the winning run.

Two of the three SG hits were back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning. After Smith had retired the first 10 Lion batters in order, Chandler Bergrud doubled and would score when Bratland quickly added another two-bagger. With two outs, Bratland would come home on an error.

Griffin scattered the three St. Charles hits into three innings, but senior Tyler Reps quickly cut the Lion lead in half by parking a pitch over the left field fence. 

In the final three innings, each team managed only one hit, including a lead-off single by Isaac Griffin in the sixth.

A dazzling, incoming sliding catch in short center field by Lion freshman Caleb Griffin had prevented the tying run after a lead-off St. Charles single and sacrifice bunt in the fifth.

Lion third baseman Payton Leahy covered a lot of ground to field a ground ball and throw out the lead-off batter in the sixth to deny the home team its best chance for a base runner in the final two frames.

Spring Grove improved to 2-1.

SG 2, St. Charles 1

SG  000 200  0 - 2  3  1

SC  000 100  0 - 1  3  2

LOB: SG 3, SC 3

SG: 2 doubles, 1 single

SC: 1 home run, 2 singles

WP-Griffin, LP Smith

Griffin 7 IP, 3H, 1R, 1 ER, 7K, 0W

Smith 7 IP, 3H, 2R, 1 ER, 5K, 0W


SCHEDULE 6 p.m. starts unless noted

6/06 at Wabasha-Kellogg, canceled

6/10Lewiston-Altura, canceled

W at Dover-Eyota 17-7

L vs.Caledonia 3-12

WQ at St. Charles 2-1

6/24 Houston7 p.m.

6/27 Plainview-Elgin-Millville

7/01 at Chatfield

7/03 at Lanesboro 5 p.m.

7/08 Lake City

7/15 playoffs begin


14 & under: SG 14, Hokah 5

The Lions trailed 3-1 after one inning, tied the score in the second and fell behind 4-3 before finally taking a 5-4 lead at the end of three innings.

It would be 8-4 before the visitors would add their final run in the fifth. Spring Grove quickly replied with five runs on five hits to make it 13-5.

Eight Lions contributed to 11 base hits. Jaxon Strinmoen batted 3 for 5 with a double while Jonah Udstuen went 2 for 3.

There were also doubles from Caleb Griffin and Logan Brumm. An RBI-single from Dane Edgington put the Lions ahead to stay. Other singles came from Ty Cleven (2 RBIs), Nathan Solberg (RBI) and Celeb Ranzenberger.

On the mound for the Lions were Solberg, Edgington and Brumm, who combined to allow only two earned runs, due to six errors.

14 & under: Stoddard 2, SG 0

Each team had three hits, but Stoddard crowded two hits into the third inning along with the Lions only two errors and only two walks.

Caleb Griffin struck out seven, walked only three and gave up only one earned run.

All three Lion hits came in different innings, singles and stolen bases from Brumm, Edgington and Cleven.

With the time limit, each game went four innings.

14 & under: SG 5, Stoddard 4

The Lions were out-hit 7 to 6, but they led all game after a 2-RBI single from Edgington in the top of the first.

Solberg led off the second inning with a double and scored on a 2-RBI double from Lawrence Skauge to make it 4-0. Brumm batted 2 for 2 while Strinmoen supplied the other hit. 

Strinmoen struck out three batters and walked only one. In relief, Cleven struck out two of the five batters he faced.

LITTLE LEAGUE(7th Grade & under): SG12, Hokah 11

The Lions took a 10-8 lead into the ninth inning and were one out away from victory before visiting Hokah scored one and put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base before the game ended with a ground out.

The Lions never trailed, and after breaking a 3-3 tie, would lead 11-3 before Hokah scored eight of the final nine runs. Both teams had a big five-run inning.

LITTLE LEAGUE(7th Grade & under): SG 3, Preston 1

Ezra Griffin (4 innings) and Brandon Jahnke (1 inning) combined to pitch a no-hitter. The Lions had the only two base hits in the game, singles from Gavin Ostern and Asher Liptack. But Spring Grove scored all three runs without a hit in the first inning.

LITTLE LEAGUE(7th Grade & under): SG 13, Grand Meadow 2

Zach Brumm batted 4 for 4, including a home run while he and Ben Udstuen combined to pitch a one-hitter. The Lions (4-4, 4-1 league) scored three quick runs and later added a four-run frame before a six-run salvo ended the game with the 10-run rule.

11 & under: West Salem 14, SG 6

Spring Grove (1-5, 0-3 league) scored the first three runs, but the home team replied quickly and would cross home plate in each of the five innings.