Willmar advances to state
MARSHALL -- The Willmar American Legion baseball team is headed back to state after beating Alexandria 13-2 and 9-8 on Tuesday. Post 167 needed to beat its high school and Legion rival twice to earn its third straight District 7, Division I champ...
MARSHALL -- The Willmar American Legion baseball team is headed back to state after beating Alexandria 13-2 and 9-8 on Tuesday.
Post 167 needed to beat its high school and Legion rival twice to earn its third straight District 7, Division I championship.
For the second year in a row, the final was a one-run game with Alexandria on the short end. In 2006, Willmar came out of the loser's bracket to beat Alexandria twice.
Right-hander Jordan Smith got the win in the first game -- on a six-hitter -- and the save in the second in relief of George Jacobson. Alec Saunders drove in seven runs in the two games.
"We game down here ready to sweep," said coach Dave Oehrlein. "The second game was another epic Alex and Willmar battle."
Willmar lost on Sunday 3-1 to Alexandria and its ace Colin Erickson, putting Post 167 into the loser's bracket at Legion Field.
The Legion state tourney runs Aug. 6-10 in Burnsville.
Willmar 9, Alexandria 8
Saunder's fifth straight hit of the twinbill -- a double -- got Post 167 off to a 2-0 lead in the first, just as his single did in the opener.
But Willmar would need a much bigger inning to prevail. Trailing 5-2, Willmar struck for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Matt Seehusen, who will be a sophomore at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall, started the inning with a base hit and topped the rampage with a two-run double.
He had five hits yesterday and 12 in the tournament.
Saunders, Matt Odom, Mike Dunham, and Logan Birkland also knocked in runs. Two Alexandria errors and a hit batter by starter Kreig Katchmark fueled the uprising.
Alexandria answered in the seventh with a three-run rally of its own off Jacobson, who gave way to Smith. He went the last 2Xc innings for the save.
Alexandria 000 230 300 -- 8 12 4
Willmar 200 007 00x -- 9 11 2
HITTING - Alexandria: Tyler Erickson 1-for-3; Colin Erickson 2-for-5, 3 rbi; Kreig Katchmark 3-for-5; Dylan Carlson 1-for-5; Karl Brezina 2-for-3 ... Willmar: Logan Birkland 1-for-2, rbi; Jordan Smith 1-for-5; Matt Seehusen 3-for-5, 2 2b's, 2 rbi; Alec Saunders 1-for-3, 2b, 3 rbi; George Jacobson 3-for-5, 2b; Alex Malmgren 1-for-2; Matt Odom 1-for-3, rbi
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Alexandria: Kreig Katchmark (L) 6-10-9-5-3-2, Colin Erickson 2-1-0-0-25 ... Willmar: George Jacobson (W) 6Zc-9-7-3-1-3, Jordan Smith (S) 2Xc-3-1-0-1-3
Willmar 13, Marshall 2
Saunder's two-out single to start the game hinted at things to come for the senior-to-be.
Post 167's third baseman singled and scored to start a three-run fourth, batted in Smith in fifth and knocked in Smith again in a seven-run seventh.
Smith, who wastes no time between pitches, struck out six in a row at one point.
The biggest strikeout came in the fifth with Willmar up 6-0 and two Alexandria runners on and its best hitter, Colin Erickson, at the plate. He had singled and doubled his first two trips, but Smith tamed the big first baseman this time on three pitches.
Travis Koenen, Mike Dunham, Smith and Matt Seehusen had two hits apiece and Koenen drove in three runs.
This was another tough ending for Alexandria. Last year at Optimist Park in Litchfield, Alex Malmgren's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth gave Willmar a 6-5 win and the district title.
Willmar 200 310 7 -- 13 15 2
Alexandria 000 001 1 -- 2 6 3
HITTING - Willmar: Mike Dunham 2-for-4, 2b, rbi; Logan Birkland 1-for-4; Jordan Smith 2-for-3, 2 bb's, rbi, 3 runs; Matt Seehusen 2-for-5, rbi; Alec Saunders 4-for-4, 2 runs, 4 rbi; George Jacobson 1-for-3; Travis Koenen 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2b, sb, 3 rbi; Matt Odom 1-for-4, rbi ... Alexandria: Tyler Erickson 1-for-4, Zack Beireis 1-for-4, rbi; Colin Erickson 3-for-4, 2b; Kreig Katchmark 1-for-2, 3b
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Willmar: Jordan Smith (W) 7-5-2-1-3-11 ... Alexandria: Derek Miller (L) 5-9-6-6-1-3, Walker Girioux 2-6-7-7-3-0