Spring Grove boys sweep M-C, cannot derail GMLOK, Southland

Chandler Bergrud struck out five during a five-inning shutout of Mabel-Canton. Photo by S. Lee Epps
S. Lee Epps

The Spring Grove baseball boys were unable to halt the championship surge of league-leading Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland (GMLOK) during a double header at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, last Friday. Those 2-1 and 10-3 setbacks followed a key non-conference 5-1 loss at Southland on May 6 and a convincing 12-0 victory at Mabel-Canton on May 7. 

The Lions closed the three-loss week at 8-6 (7-5 SEC) and are now in a third-place battle with Lyle/Pacelli  (10-6, 7-4 SEC), a team they face this week.

Last week's Southeast Conference spotlight, however, was on the duel at Decorah. Despite that double disappointment south of the state line, Lion coach Chris Strinmoen saw many positives during the critical twin bill. "We turned two double plays. Our outfield made two spectacular catches. 

"Nic Peterson had an outstanding outing on the mound again for us against a very good team. We were able to get Alex Folz back on the mound after a lengthy time off due to an arm injury. He had a little rust, but the velocity and curveball were there, and he will be ready to compete for us come playoff time, which is a huge lift to our team. 

"Young Isaac Griffin stepped up in the first game and delivered a key RBI single against a very good pitcher. 

"I'm still confident that the guys can put it all together as we finish the regular season and head into playoffs."

Southland 5, SG 1

Southland senior Lee Wilson was one out away from a no-hitter when Griffin sent a single into right field. 

In addition to that lone Lion hit, Griffin (1 for 2) also had the only RBI, but they came in different innings.

Spring Grove had scored without a hit while taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Noah Elton walked moved to third base on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly from Griffin.

Only one Lion batter struck out, but only one managed a base hit. Other base runners came with the only Rebel error and three walks. Meanwhile, Spring Grove committed five errors.

Lion pitching was better than the hitting and fielding. Carter Bratland absorbed the pitching loss for Spring Grove despite allowing only one earned run and three hits during five innings while striking out six and walking only three.

In one inning of relief, Caleb Nerstad struck out two while giving up one hit and one unearned run.

All four Rebel hits were singles from four different batters.

"We have really slumped, both at the plate and in the field," lamented Strinmoen. "I think guys are trying to do too much at the plate, and they need to re-focus on putting the barrel on the ball right now. 

“We also need to play with more confidence in the field. If we don't make plays behind our pitcher, it puts too much pressure on our offense to try and carry us."

The 1-0 Lion lead lasted an inning until two errors ushered in two unearned Rebel runs in the third inning.

Southland improved to 5-7 with five losses coming against larger Class AA competition. The Rebels and Lions will both be in the same sub-section playoff bracket. 

It was the first meeting between the two programs in a dozen years and third straight Lion loss to Southland dating back to 2007 and 2006.

Southland 5, SG 1

SG    010 000  0 - 1  1  5

SHS  002 021  x - 5  4 1  

LOB: SG 3, SHS 5

SG hits - 1 single

SHS hits - 4 singles

WP- Wilson, LP-Bratland

Bratland 5 IP, 3H, 4R, 1 ER. 3W, 6K

Nerstad 1 IP, 4H, 1R, 0 ER, 0W, 2K

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


SG 12, Mabel-Canton 0

Folz and Peterson each batted 3 for 4 with a pair of triples from Folz and another three-bagger from Peterson.  

There were doubles from Bratland (2 for 3) and Kyle Hagen (1 for 1). Bratland received the Kingsley Mercantile Game Ball Award from KFIL Radio.

Singles from Nerstad and Caden Grinde completed the 11-hit attack. 

The Lions played without errors while taking advantage of six Cougar miscues. Spring Grove batters drew a half-dozen walks, two issued to Griffin.

Chandler Bergrud tossed the shutout, striking out five, walking only two and scattering five hits into five different innings. It ended after five innings with the 10-run rule.

Burdened by six errors, Mabel-Canton pitchers, junior Parker Ingvalson and seventh grader Cayden Tollefsrud, combined to give up only three earned runs.

The Lions leapt out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a Folz triple and a Bratland single. A four-error flood of errors led to six more runs in the second inning.

Spring Grove, in the fifth inning, used four hits to add five runs to evoke the run rule. 

The Lion B-team defeated the Cougars 6-3.

In junior high, the eighth grade came up one run short 6-5 at Fillmore Central/Lanesboro. The Lions stranded 15 runners, leaving the bases loaded in four of the six innings. 

The next afternoon, the eighth graders mangled Mabel-Canton 22-4 with Logan Brumm batting 3 for 3 with a pair of RBI triples. On the mound, Nathan Solberg struck out four Cougars during two scoreless innings. The game ended with the run rule after four innings.

SG 12, MC 0

SG 160  005 -12  11  0

MC 000  000 - 0   5   6

LOB: MC 7, SG 9

MC hits - 1 double, 4 singles

SG - 3 triples, 2 doubles, 6 singles

WP-Bergrud, LP- Ingvalson      

Ingvalson 3.2 IP, 7H, 7R, 1 ER, 3W, 5K

C. Tollefsrud 1.1 IP, 4H, 5R, 2 ER, 3W, 2K

Bergrud 5 IP, 5H, 0R, 2W, 5K



All three runs were scored in the fourth inning. Elton led off the top of the inning with a single and scored on a clutch, two-out, line drive single into center field by Griffin (2 for 3).

The Bulldogs answered with two runs on two singles, aided by a walk, a passed, ball, a wild pitch and an error.

GMLOK out-hit the Lions 6 to 4, all singles for both clubs. Bergrud had the other Spring Grove hit.

Peterson was on the mound for Spring Grove for the first five innings, allowing five hits and only one earned run. 

Senior Drew Copley went the distance to pick up the win, striking out six and walking none.

There was no charity in the field as well with the Bulldogs playing without error. The Lions committed three errors.

There were some extraordinary defensive gems. Griffin made a diving catch while coming in on a short pop-up.

"Folz made a tremendous catch going back toward the left field foul pole," said Strinmoen. "Superman dive with his back to the infield."

To end the bottom of the second inning, the Lions turned a 4-6-3 double play - Payton Leahy to Nerstad to Hagen.

"A beautiful, sunny day for a doubleheader on a nice facility (Luther College)", said Strinmoen. "It was great to see Dakotah Rostad (Spring Grove Male Athlete of the Year, 2010) and his team as he has them playing very good baseball. Kudos to him and his hard work he has put in this season. He is a great coach. 

"However, another frustrating day in the field for us. We are giving teams too many extra outs. We faced a good pitcher in Drew Copley during that first game, but errors at critical times gave them their two runs, and voided our upset bid. 

"Nic did a heck of a job keeping us in that game. I thought the RBI single by Isaac Griffin was going to hold up, but our defense just didn't get the job done."


SG         000 100  0 - 1  4  3

GMLOK 000  200 x - 2  6  0


SG: 4 singles

GMLOK: 6 singles

WP-Copley, LP-Peterson

Peterson 5 IP, 5H, 3R, 1 ER, 1W, 1K

Bergrud 1 IP, 1H, 0R, 0W, 1K

Copley 7 IP, 4H, 1R, 1 ER, 0W, 6K



GMLOK 10, SG 3

Three hits and an error sent the Bulldogs ahead 3-0 in the first inning. The Lions replied in the bottom of the inning with a Folz single and RBI double from Bergrud.

Down 4-1, SG got back within a run in the fifth with two walks and an RBI-single from Bratland. But the Bulldogs would pull away with a pair of three-run innings.

"We were shaky right out of the gate defensively again," said Strinmoen. "We spotted them three runs and just had a hard time catching up again. We hit the ball but could not piece the hits together at the right time to push across many runs."

Again, there were defensive highlights. Both catchers, Folz and Bratland, threw out runners attempting to steal.

There was another 4-6-3 double play - this time Leahy to Peterson to Ethan Matzke.

For GMLOK, Nolan Skifter enjoyed a 4-for-5 day at the plate. Drew Copley went 2 for 5 while driving in three runs.

For Spring Grove, Bergrud (RBI), Folz and Nerstad each batted 2 for 3 while Bratland was 2 for 4 to account for all eight hits.

Freshman Dustin Copley started and pitched five innings to earn the pitching decision (5 strikeouts, 4 walks). The Bulldogs used three pitchers and Spring Grove five.

 Folz posted a pair of strikeouts, which gave him 211 for his career. He moved past Mike Sherburne and now trails only Todd Oakes in career strikeouts.

 In the first junior highgame of the day, the Lion eighth graders (8-2) defeated GMLOK 12-0.

GMLOK 10, SG 3

GMLOK 310  003 3 -10  11  1

SG         100 020  0 - 3   8   3


SG: 2 doubles, 6 singles

GMLOK: 2 doubles, 9 singles

WP-Du. Copley, LP-Bratland

Bratland 2 P, 4H, 4R, 2 ER, 0W, 2K

Nerstad 3 IP, 2H, 0R, 0W, 2K

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

Folz 1.1 IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 3W, 2K

Griffin 0.2 IP, 1H, 0R, 0W, 0K      

Du. Copley 5 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 4W, 5K

Dr. Copley 1.2 IP, OH, 0R, 0W, 4K

Millette 0.1 IP, 2H, 0R, 0W, 0K

This week and next

It is another busy, four-game week to close the regular season. As the Herald was going to press on Monday of this week, the Lions were taking on Class AA Cotter/Hope Lutheran at Winona. On Tuesday, Lyle/Pacelli hosted the rematch with Spring Grove. The Lions edged the Athletics 2-0 earlier in the season.

The rematch at Houston is on Thursday, May 16, before the boys close the regular season with a Friday, May 17, non-conference visit from defending section champion Rushford-Peterson. Like the loss at Southland, this game against the Trojans should affect the sub-section seeding.

While GMLOK battles Randolph for the conference championship this week, neither of those two SEC heavyweights are in the same playoff section as Spring Grove. The Bulldogs are in Class AA, and the Rockets are in Section 4A.

The Sub-section 1A East Tournament begins on Wednesday, May 22.


Southeast Conference Baseball 2019 (updated since print edition)

GMLOK……………..12-0 SEC (15-2 season)

Randolph……………11-1 SEC (14-1 season)

Lyle/Pacelli…………..7-5 SEC (10-7 season)

Spring Grove………...7-5 SEC (9-6 season)

Schaeffer Academy…4-5 SEC (4-7 season)

G-E/A-C……………...4-7 SEC (5-9 season)

Houston……………...2-10 SEC (2-14 season)

Mabel-Canton…….....0-11 SEC (1-13 season)


Spring Grove varsity baseball (9-6, 7-5 SEC) updated since print edition

W at Schaeffer Academy 11-1

W vs. Wabasha-Kellogg 6-1

W at Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger 11-5

W vs. Lyle/Pacelli 2-0

W vs. Houston 14-3

W vs. Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger 7-0

W vs. Mabel-Canton 11-1

L vs. Schaeffer Academy 3-9

L at Randolph 6-11

L vs. Randolph 0-5

L at Southland 1-5

W at Mabel-Canton 12-0

L vs. GMLOK 1-2

L vs. GMLOK 3-10

W at Cotter/Hope Lutheran 7-1

5/14 at Lyle/Pacelli (at Austin)

5/16 at Houston

5/17 Rushford-Peterson


B-team (4-1)

W at Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger 7-4

L vs. Caledonia 3-9

W vs. Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger 4-90

W vs. Mabel-Canton 3-1

W vs. Mabel-Canton 6-3


Eighth grade (8-2)

W at Caledonia 4-2

L at Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger 1-7

W at GMLOK 6-1

W vs. Lyle/Pacelli 4-2

W vs. Houston 10-0

W vs. Mabel-Canton 4-2

W at Cotter 13-5

L vs. Fillmore Central/Lanesboro 5-6

W vs. Mabel-Canton 22-4

W vs. GMLOK 12-0


Seventh grade (4-2-1)

W at Caledonia 6-4

L at Glenville-Emmons/Alden-Conger 5-6

W at GMLOK 9-6

T vs. Lyle/Pacelli 4-4

W vs. Houston 7-0

W vs. Mabel-Canton 7-0

L at Cotter 7-8