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On to the District VFW Tourney

BE VFW team downs USC 6-5 in rain delayed game to advance

July 23, 2017
Robert Brewer - Register Staff Writer ( , Faribault County Register

The boys of Blue Earth VFW Post 4580 were in third round action of the 2nd District, Southwest Sub-District Tournament on July 19 at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.

However, Mother Nature had different plans as the game with United South Central was suspended in the top of the fifth due to rain. Making matters more intriguing, the game was tied at five at the time of the stoppage.

Play resumed on Thursday, July 20. Action picked up in the bottom of the fifth inning as Blue Earth batter Luke Mertens worked a walk and was able to get into scoring position by swiping second base.

Article Photos

Blue Earth VFW’s Caelan Sanders beats the throw to second base on an attempted force out, during action in last Thursday’s thrilling 6-5 win over USC.

From there, Kyle Hagedorn laid down a sacrifice bunt which moved Mertens to third. Blue Earth's small ball tactics worked again as Hunter Bleess executed a pin-point suicide squeeze bunt down the first base side that scored Mertens.

That would be all the run support Bleess would need as he pitched three scoreless innings to lead BE to victory.

Blue Earth played again on Friday afternoon, July 21, after the weekly deadline for the Faribault County Register. Results of this game can be found in next week's edition.

Already qualifying for the district tournament, BE will move on to Franklin Rogers Field in Mankato. The date and opponent has yet to be determined.

BE 16, St. James 13

Of all the ways a high-scoring affair could end, it was the small ball approach that sealed the victory late in the game for Blue Earth VFW Post 4580.

BE's Karson Legred perfectly-executed an RBI suicide-squeeze bunt against St. James Post 1914 on July 18 at Herb Wolf Field. Legred's handy bat work helped spark a three-run rally that broke the 13-13 stalemate in the top of the eighth.

Due to the extreme heat and competitive nature of the ballgame, Blue Earth head coach Jeff Bell likened this memorable tilt with St. James to a classic Ali-Frazier battle from the 1970s.

"It just felt like a heavyweight (boxing) bout today," Bell said. "Both teams kept trading offensive punches inning by inning before we finally broke through with three in the top of the eighth inning. Between the back-and-forth game and the heat, I felt physically drained."

St. James took a 13-11 lead after a four-run inning in the bottom of the sixth. However, Blue Earth rallied back in the seventh to force extra innings. Gavin Storbeck got the rally started by reaching base after being hit by a pitch. Hunter Bleess added to the momentum with a one-out single to right field. Then, Luke Mertens connected with an RBI single to center.

The baton was then passed to Kyle Hagedorn, who delivered in the clutch with an RBI single of his own that chased home the fleet-footed Bleess.

In extra innings, Legred executed a perfect RBI suicide squeeze bunt with two on and one out. Legred himself would come around to score later in the inning as Blue Earth tallied three runs in the eighth and closed the door on St. James in the bottom of the frame.

BE 11, Mapleton 6

Despite the lopsided final score, Blue Earth VFW Post 4580 struggled for the majority of their first-round playoff game against Mapleton Post 5338. In fact, Mapleton enjoyed a 5-0 lead after five complete innings at Herb Wolf Field on July 17.

However, the sixth and seventh innings saw Blue Earth exploding for 11 total runs, compared to just one run for Mapleton during that span. Eight of the 11 runs came in the seventh and final inning. Hunter Bleess' RBI single and Kyle Hagedorn's two-run single in the sixth accounted for Blue Earth's scoring total in the frame.

The seventh inning featured a Blue Earth bunting bonanza that would make major league baseball manager Ned Yost proud. In all, head coach Jeff Bell put on the bunt sign for five of the seven Blue Earth batters to step to the plate following a leadoff single by Koby Nagel.

Caelan Sanders legged out a bunt single that helped set up the Blue Earth rally with two runners aboard and nobody out. Pinch hitter Will Howard followed that up by reaching base on his sacrifice bunt attempt that loaded the bases.

Karson Legred blasted a two-run double to centerfield to finally take the lead for Blue Earth. Still with nobody out, Bleess was intentionally walked to reload the bases.

Mapleton's frustrations were compounded by two errors and two wild pitches later in the inning. Once the inning was finally over, Blue Earth had taken a commanding 11-6 lead en route to the win.



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