The Winnebago-Blue Earth (WBE) Legion baseball team took the championship in the American Legion Division II, Sub-District 'C' baseball tournament in Truman on Sunday, July 14.
But, it wasn't easy.
The WBE team had to play St. James three times in the double elimination tourney.
The Winnebago-Blue Earth Legion baseball team is pictured above, back row from left to right, coach Steve Sonnicksen, Brandyn Olsen, Brady Anderson, Mott Rockers, Christian Haugh, Seth Anderson, Kellen Jacobs and Quinn Huismann. Front row, from left to right, Luke Schavey, Dallas Barslou, Alex Stewart, Reed Rasmussen, David Franta, Carter Hanson, Calvin Sanders and Derek Johnson. Not pictured:?Zac Bartlett, Jack Kennedy and Matthew Bell.
WBE cruised to a victory in the first game held on Friday night, winning 6-0.
However, the second time they faced each other in a game played on Sunday, the win went to St. James in a marathon, 13-12, forcing a third game.
In that championship game, the local team came away with a close 7-6 victory.
However, both teams, WBE and St. James, qualified to move on to the Second District Tournament being held in Milroy. WBE will go in as a No. 1 seed, St. James as a No. 2 seed.
"I thought we had it won in that first game on Sunday," WBE coach Steve Sonnicksen says. "But we had to go to game three."
In game two a Brandyn Olsen two-run double and Christan Haugh's two-run single in the top of the seventh gave WBE a slim one-run 12-11 come-from- behind lead.
But, St. James came back and won it by one run.
In the championship game it was David Franta's solo home run in the top of the eighth inning that gave the WBE Legion team the 7-6 lead. He then came in and pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth to seal the win.
The game was tied in the third inning. WBE took a one run, 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth, but St. James came back with three runs to go up 6-4.
WBE scored two runs in the seventh to knot the score at 6-6 before Franta's homer sealed the win.
The WBE squad has a season record of 13-3. The team is composed of players 19 and under and most team members were Blue Earth Area High School Buccaneer players this past season.
Their official name is the Winnebago Post 82/Blue Earth Post 89 American Legion Baseball Team.
In previous years they have been sponsored by just the Blue Earth Legion Post 89.
"We (Blue Earth Legion) did not have the funding to totally sponsor the team this year," says Loren Eckhardt, Legion team administrator for Post 89. "The Winnebago Post said they would help and have paid most of the sponsorship costs this season."
Eckhardt says that without Winnebago's help, there probably would not have been a Legion team this year.
"That would be a shame," he adds. "We are grateful for this partnership to help keep the team going."
The WBE team now moves on to the District Tourney. They are scheduled to have played Jackson on Friday at 3 p.m., after the deadline for this issue of the Faribault County Register.
It is a double elimination tournament played over two weekends, July 26-28 and Aug. 3-4.
If the team wins on Friday, they play at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. If they lose the first game, they would play again at 11 a.m. on Saturday.