Late-inning Lion rally secures 4-0 start

Schaeffer’s Reed Davis is safe at second with Nic Peterson defending for Spring Grove. Photo by S. Lee Epps
By : 
Stephen Lee Epps

Sprig Grove opened the baseball season with four conference wins, including a couple of one-run nail-biters over Schaeffer Academy and Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger, sandwiched between a pair of runaway wins against Mabel-Canton.

The Monday, April 23 opener, delayed by 18 days of winter weather, was a 13-1 home win over the Cougars, followed by Tuesday's home 1-0 shutout of Schaeffer, Thursday's home 5-4 dramatic come-from-behind victory versus Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger and a Friday 16-2 road rout of Mabel-Canton.



MC  001  00 - 1 3  7

SG  00(10)  3x -13 5  1

LOB: SG 5, MC 4

SG pitchers - WP Bergrud

Bergrud 4 IP, 3H, 1R, 12 ER, 5K, 1 W

Nerstad 1 IP, 0H, 0R, 0 ER 5K. 1W

"It was great to finally get outside and have a game to play," said coach Chris Strinmoen. "Chandler Bergrud gave us a great start on the mound. He was efficient, threw strikes (only one walk) and only gave up 3 hits. We will win many games if he continues to pitch like that.

"We also did a nice job in the field for our first time out this year." The first out of the season was a diving, back-handed catch in short left field by SG freshman Isaac Griffin robbing lead-off batter Drew Wyffels of a line-drive base hit.

Mabel-Canton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning with two of their three total hits.

SG answered with 10 runs in the bottom of the inning, using a triple and 2 doubles while taking advantage of 4 walks and 4 Cougar errors.

Overall, the Lions only out-hit the Cougars 5 to 3, but SG had those three extra-base blasts while all three M-C hits were singles. 

Alex Folz went 2 for 2 with a double, scoring two runs and driving in another

Bergrud (1 for 2) had the triple, which brought in two runs. Noah Elton added an RBI double. Nic Peterson had the other Lion hit.

SG starters: p Chandler Bergrud, c Carter Bratland, 1b Kyle Hagen, 2b Payton Leahy, ss Nic Peterson, 3b Alex Folz, lf Isaac Griffin, cf Adin Solum, rf Noah Elton



SA 000  000  0 - 0 3  1

SG 000  001  x - 1 4  0

LOB: SG 6, SA 10

SG pitchers - WP Nerstad

Folz 4.2 IP, 2H, 0R, 0 ER, 6K, 7W

Nerstad 1.1 IP, 0H, 0R 0 ER, 3K, 0W

Bratland 1 IP, 1H, 0R, 0 ER, 2K, 0W

Courtesy runner Caden Grinde raced home on a dropped third strike for the only run of the game. Back-to-back singles by Carter Bratland and Peterson and a Peterson stolen base set the stage for the run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

With a single and a stolen base base by three-time All-SEC Reed Davis, Schaeffer (0-1) moved the potential tying run into scoring position before Bratland struck out the final batter of the game.

"Fans were treated to another Alex Folz versus Reed Davis duel", said Strinmoen. "These guys locked horns last year in our 8-inning playoff game. This time Alex came out on top. Both pitchers were difficult to hit, even though they were both dancing in and out of trouble throughout the game. 

"I was really happy with the job Caleb Nerstad  did coming in from the bullpen to get us out of trouble. And Carter Bratland  did a great job closing the game for us. Carter and Nic Peterson also delivered big for us at the plate."

It was the first career win for sophomore Nerstad (3 strikeouts, no walks) in one and a third inning of relief. Bratland earned the save with two strikeouts in his only inning on the mound.

The SG run scored with the last batter to face Davis, who then had to leave due to pitch count. The senior hurler took the loss despite striking out 8 and walking only 4. He also had all three Schaeffer hits, going 3 for 4 with a double.

SA left runners on base in every inning except one, stranding 10 overall, including eight in scoring position.

The defensive play of the game was a diving catch in foul territory by Bratland, who was playing catcher at the time, to end the top of the third inning with a runner at second.

Second baseman Payton Leahy also had a good retreating catch in short center field.

SG had advanced a runner to third base four times before finally scoring the winning run.

SG managed only four hits - all singles. Bratland went 2 for 2 with Folz and Peterson each batting 1 for 3.

SG starters: p Chandler Bergrud, c Carter Bratland, 1b Sam Sanness, 2b Payton Leahy, ss Nic Peterson, 3b Chandler Bergrud, lf Isaac Griffin, cf Adin Solum, rf Noah Elton, dh Caleb Nerstad



GEAC  001  003  0 - 4  4 0

SG       000  003  2 - 5  6 3

LOB: SG 7. GE/AC 7

SG pitchers - WP Bratland

Bergrud 5 IP, 4H, 4R, 3ER, 10K, 5W

Nerstad 1 IP, 0H, 0R, 0 ER, 1K, 1W

Bratland 1 IP, 0H, 0R, 0 ER, 3K, 1W

SG never led until scoring the final run as Leahy, with two outs, scored the winner on a walk-off single by Peterson. Leahy, sliding head first, barely beat the throw from right field. 

Moments before, Folz had tied the score, coming home on a passed ball following his hustling double and stolen base.

Spring Grove scored the last five runs of the game. Down 4-0 in the sixth, the Lions finally scored to go into the final seventh frame down 4-3.

"What a fantastic comeback for our guys," said Strinmoen. "After being frustrated through much of the game, they showed some resiliency and pulled out an important win. 

"We've always had a hard time hitting Gavin Steele. He does a nice job of changing speeds and has a good breaking ball. 

"Chandler Bergrud was just as effective for us though, with 10 strikeouts. I probably left him in a little bit too long, as he tired at the end and gave up a few walks. 

"I was so impressed with the at-bats at the end of the game from Nic Peterson, Sam Sanness and Alex Folz. We count on Alex and Nic being "the guys" we lean on for the key hits. And Sam was due for a big connection, and it couldn't have come at a better time."

Sanness had driven in two runs with a double to deep left center during the three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth.

GE/AC (0-1) led 1-0 before adding three runs in the top of the sixth with the aid of 4 walks and a hit batter. Then the bases were loaded with nobody out before the Lions got a force at home, a strikeout and a ground out to end what could have been a real disaster.

SG out-hit the visitors 6 to 4. Peterson was 2 for 4 with a triple that drove in the first Lion run. 

Doubles came from Sanness and Folz along with singles by Peterson, Bratland and Adin Solum.

Only four Lions reached base through the first five innings - two singles, one hit batter and one walk.

Bratland got the win in one inning of relief, striking out all three batters he faced.



SG  445  30 -16 17  4

MC 000  20 -  2  7   4

LOB: SG 5, MC 8

SG pitching - WP Bratland

Bratland 4 IP, 6H, 2R, 2 ER, 6K, 1W

Peterson 1 IP, 1H, 0R 0 ER, 1K. 0W

"We found our bats today," said Strinmoen. "After back-to-back games of struggling at the plate, it was nice to finally break out. You're going to win a lot of games if you can get 17 hits, (10 of them for extra bases). I was happy to see all nine starters in the batting order get at least one hit.

Folz hit 3 for 3, and Bratland went 3 for 4. There was a home run by Bratland, five triples (Folz, Sanness, Leahy, Bergrud, Griffin) and four doubles (Bratland, Peterson, Kyle Hagen, Folz)

 "Carter did a great job throwing strikes and picking up his second win of the year," added Strinmoen. "Nice to get Nic Peterson an inning on the mound this year. He did a great job throwing strikes and using his defense.

M-C (0-3, 0-3 SEC)) had seven hits with Cody Hershberger going 3 for 3. It was 16-0 before the Cougars averted the shutout with two runs in the fourth inning of the game that ended after five with the run rule.

The defensive play of the game for SG came when right fielder Noah Elton threw to third base for an out in the second inning.

Junior high

The eighth grade Lions (2-1) and the seventh graders (2-1) both split with Mabel-Canton, and in between, defeated G-E/A-C. 

In the eighth grade season opener, seventh grader Caleb griffin tossed a one-hit, 6-0 shutout against M-C, striking out 12 and walking only one.

In the seventh grade opener versus M-C, the Lions needed two extra innings to win 5-4.


As the Herald was going to press on Monday of this week, the Lions were playing at Rushford-Peterson before the Tuesday return game at Glenville against G-E/A-C. The boys host Coulee Region Christian on Friday, May 4.

Next week begins with a home double header against Lyle/Pacelli on Tuesday, May 8.

SEC Baseball (through April 30 games)

Spring Grove…4-0 (4-1 all)

Lyle/Pacelli…...2-0 (3-0 all)

Randolph……..1-0 ( 1-0 all)

Houston………1-2 (1-3 all)

G-E/A-C .……..0-2 (2-2 all)

Mabel-Canton..0-3 (1-3 all)