Legion baseball: Morris wins on game-ending walk
MONTEVIDEO — A very talented group of Morris-area baseball players have played together and posted some solid seasons over the years, but they could never quite get over the top and secure a spot in a state tournament.
This spring, the Morris/Chokio-Alberta Tigers were 17-4 and won four postseason games but couldn’t clear the Section 3AA playoffs. The year before, after a 1-5 start, the Tigers won 15 straight before again falling deep in the section tournament.
This summer’s Legion season was the last chance for 10 of the 14 players on the roster and they finally made good on their goal, defeating Madison 3-2 in a Division II, District 7 elimination game Friday on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Post 29ers will play BOLD for the district championship today in Montevideo, but because BOLD has an automatic berth as the state tournament host, Morris is assured a spot in next week’s tournament in Bird Island.
“It’s a way to have another week with the guys,” said Morris first baseman Mac Beyer, who drew the game-winning walk and also doubled in a first-inning run. “We’ll get to make our last go together and hopefully we’ll go out with a bang.”
Morris will be making its first Legion state tournament appearance since 2001.
“We’d always get close in the (prep) section playoffs and in Legion but we never quite got it done,” said winning pitcher Jacob Torgerson. “We want to keep winning from here out and go as far as we can.”
Unfortunately for Madison, 10 of its players removed their spikes for the final time as a team that won 18 prep games this year and placed second in the Class A state tournament in 2012.
Madison killed its state-tournament chances with four errors, including two costly miscues in the first inning that led to two Morris runs.
“We gave up only one earned run,” said Madison coach Jared Weber. “The errors were tough on us today, but we battled back and made it a game at the end.”
Madison tied the game in the sixth when Nick Burkleo and Jalen Baldwin drove in runs. But Torgerson was solid throughout the game, scattering eight hits, issuing no walks while striking out four, and he got a strikeout with Madison runners on second and third to end the top of the seventh. This after he worked four innings in relief on Thursday in the team’s 6-5 loss to BOLD.
“My arm was kind of sore the whole game,” Torgerson said. “But once you’re out there, you have to put the pain away and get the job done.”
Madison’s Ben Morken also pitched well after the team’s shaky start. He worked all seven innings, allowing just an unearned run on six hits and he struck out four. But his three walks in the seventh were his undoing.
Morris’ Logan Manska walked to lead off the inning and he moved up to second on Torgerson’s sacrifice. Tanner Picht drew a walk and Morris loaded the bases when Tyler Henrichs blooped a single just inside the left field foul line. That brough up Beyer.
“(Morken) came with a fastball and I was nervous and was behind it,” Beyer said. “Then he threw a curve and I was out front on it. He threw three low and on the last pitch he threw a two-seamer that was moving well but inside. Somehow, I was able to lay off it.”
Morris 3, Madison 2
Madison 000 002 0 — 2 8 4
Morris 200 000 1 — 3 6 0
HITTING – Madison: Brandon Hill 1-4, Preston Kraft 2-3, Nick Burkleo 2-3 rbi, Jalen Baldwin 0-2 rbi, Jared Roiland 2-3, Dylan Lillejord 1-3… Morris: Jacob Torgerson 1-3, Tanner Picht 1-3, Tyler Henrichs 1-4, Mac Beyer 1-3 2b rbi, Bryce Jergenson 1-2, Lincoln Berget 1-3
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Madison: Ben Morken (L) 7-6-3-1-3-4… Morris: Torgerson (W) 7-8-2-2-0-4