Walk-off tournament victory highlights baseball week

Switch hitter Chandler Bergrud, shown here with a previous-week, walk-off hit versus Chatfield, batted .333 for the Legion Lions this summer. Last week, the Little League Lions enjoyed a walk-off win versus Fillmore Central. Photo by S. Lee Epps

A walk-off hit by Gavin Ostern completed an improbable comeback to defeat Fillmore Central 4-3 in the Little League (7th grade & under) Tournament at Preston on July 23. 

Spring Grove was then eliminated by eventual champion Mabel, 1-0. These Lions closed the summer at 6-15 (5-5 league).

The 14 & under Lions (4-6, 2-4 league) had their final game canceled when Onalaska could not field enough players.


The 19 & under boys had closed their season the previous week with a 4-3 record. Spring Grove was a very young team for this age group, which can include those who have finished one year of college. All four pitchers recorded more strikeouts than walks.

Summer season statistics leaders were:

Batting:Caden Grinde .800 (4 for 5), Caleb Nerstad .381, Ethan Matzke .375, Isaac Griffin .333, Chandler Bergrud 333, Logan Brumm .333, Carter Bratland .316.

RBIs:Bratland 9, Nerstad 6, Caleb Griffin 5, Bergrud 5.

Runs scored:Isaac Griffin 7, Bergrud 6, Payton Leahy 6, Nerstad 5, Kyle Hagen 4.

Stolen bases:Grinde 4, Bergrud 2, Isaac Griffin 2

Pitching ERA:Isaac Griffin 3.00, Carter Bratland 3.18, Caleb Nerstad 4.20, Chandler Bergrud 4.50

Pitching record:Bergrud 2-0, Griffin 2-1, Nerstad 0-0, Bratland 0-2 

Pitching strikeouts/walks:Isaac Griffin 16/0, Bratland 15/4, Bergrud 17/7, Nerstad 4/3


SG 4, Fillmore Central 3

A walk-off single by Gavin Ostern completed an improbable comeback to overtake Fillmore Central. It was the only contact by a Spring Grove batter that left the infield. It came after a pair of infield singles from Jacob Olerud and Brandon Jahnke had spoiled a no hitter in the final fifth inning.

 Previously, Falcon pitcher Atlee Hershberger had dominated the game, breezing through the first three innings on the mound with seven strikeouts and only two walks. Fillmore Central led 3-0 after Hershberger had driven in all three runs with an RBI double in the first inning and two-RBI home run in the third inning.

But Hershberger donated the first Lion run with a hit batter and three walks in the fourth inning.

The Falcons stranded a runner on third base in the top of the fifth but still appeared safe before Spring Grove's Ezra Griffin led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and then stole second base. 

 Olerud supplied the first Lion hit, an infield single. Griffin scored and Olerud went to second on a throwing error. The score was then 3-2.

After a strikeout, Jahnke had another infield hit to send Olerud home. Suddenly, it was 3-3.

 Hershberger recorded his 12th strikeout, and Bryce Berns drew a walk to set the stage for Ostern's game winner - a bloop single into short center field.

Both teams finished with three hits; all three Lion singles came with their backs to the wall in the bottom of the final frame.

On the mound for Spring Grove, Griffin fanned nine Falcon batters and walked only three.

The Lions paid for their only error, which put a Falcon on base shortly before Hershberger's home run.

Spring Grove had also defeated Fillmore Central 3-1 earlier in the summer.

Mabel 1, SG 0

Olerud pitched a one-hitter while striking out nine and walking only two, but the one hit was a home run and the only hit of the game.

After the Lions had finally gotten to Hershberger, they could not touch Mabel pitcher Cayden Tollefsrud, who came within a dropped third strike of a perfect game.

The game appeared over until the dropped third strike put the only Lion runner on base. Tollefsrud would then end the game by fielding a ground ball and beating the batter to first base. 

He not only struck out 14 batters but also hit the home run, a first-inning blast that was the only hit of the game.

Mabel would go on to win the championship game versus Lanesboro, 2-1, with Tollefsrud tossing another no-hitter while getting all 15 outs with strikeouts while walking only one. At the plate, he had two of Mabel's three hits - both doubles.