Area baseball roundup: Willmar Rails get a top-notch pitching performance

Area baseball report for Friday, July 8, 2022, in west central Minnesota. Christian Lessman tosses a 1-hitter, striking out 13, in a 4-0 Corn Belt League victory over Sacred Heart.

Baseball roundup
Christian Lessman fires a pitch toward home plate for the Willmar Rails in a game against the Sacred Heart Saints on Friday, July 8, 2022, at Baker Field.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — The Willmar Rails shut out the Sacred Heart Saints behind Christian Lessman en route to a 4-0 victory Friday evening at Baker Field.

Lessman, who earned the starting nod on the mound, threw a complete game with 13 strikeouts. He was one hit and a walk away from throwing a perfect game for the Rails.

Jordan Steffer, second baseman of the Willmar Rails, converts a double play in the first inning against the Sacred Heart Saints on Friday, July 8, 2022, at Baker Field.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

The Rails, who had four hits, scored three of their four runs on errors.

Jordan Steffer not only contributed offensively by scoring the game’s first run alongside earning the Rails’ only RBI, he helped out Lessman early by executing a double play in the first inning.

Zach Reierson accounted for half of Willmar’s hits with two, scoring the team’s fourth run.


Ashton Gregory, who had a double for the Rails, and Ian Koosman each reached home plate.

Jose Ortiz provided two perfect innings in relief for the Saints. He allowed no hits, no walks and zero runs with one strikeout.

Willmar will host the Wabasso Jaxx at 5 p.m. Sunday at Baker Field.

Sacred Heart third baseman Jose Ortiz tags out the Willmar Rails' Jack Baumgart on Friday, July 8, 2022, at Baker Field.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Amateur baseball

Willmar 4, Sacred Heart 0

Sacred Heart    000   000   000-0   1   5
Willmar              002   002   00x-4   4   0
Hitting - Sacred Heart: Tyler Froland 1-3 2b … Willmar: Jordan Steffer 1-2 r rbi, Ashton Gregory 1-4 r 2b, Ian Koosman 0-3 r, Zach Reierson 2-4 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Sacred Heart: Ayden Gustafson (L) 6-4-4-0-6-3, Jose Ortiz 2-0-0-0-0-1 … Willmar: Christian Lessman (W) 9-1-0-0-1-13

Dumont 3, Benson 2

The Dumont Saints earned the walk-off win over the Benson Plowboys in a Land O’ Ducks League game at Wheaton.

Benson’s next game is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Morris.

Litchfield 3, Cokato 2

Behind starting pitcher Avery Liestman, who threw a complete game, the Blues defeated the Kernels at Optimist Park in Litchfield.


Liestman struck out 13, allowing four hits and two unearned runs.

Litchfield did not trail at any point in the game. Andrew Loch scored two runs, including the game-winner off a Jake Jones two-out RBI single.

Cokato    000   010   010-2   4   2
Litchfield      001   001   100-3   8   1
Hitting - Cokato: Jack Pietila 1-4 r, Tommy Halonen 2-4, Billy Aho 1-4 r, … Litchfield: Andrew Loch 2-4 r-2, Winky Estrada 1-3 2b, Drew Kotzer 1-4, Avery Liestman 1-3 rbi, Eddie Estrada Jr. 1-4 r, Jake Jones 2-4 rbi
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Cokato: Riley Gruenhagen (L) 8-8-3-3-1-6… Litchfield: Avery Liestman (W) 9-4-2-0-4-13

Legion Baseball

Game 1: Albany 8, NLS 3

Albany won Game 1 of a doubleheader with New London-Spicer, getting six runs in the fourth inning to open things up.

Brandon Holm went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run and Izaac Hutchinson was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and three RBIs for Albany.

Bennett Schultz went 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and a run and Gabe Rohman was 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs for NLS.

NLS           000   110   1-3   6   1
Albany      002   600   x-8   7   4
Hitting - NLS: Luke Knudsen 1-4 rbi, Bennett Schultz 2-3 r 2b sb, Gabe Rohman 2-3 r-2 2b-2, Reid Holmquist 1-2 rbi sb, Christopher Schneider 0-3 hbp  … Albany: Tony Herkenhoff 0-2 r-2 bb-2, Brandon Holm 2-3 r bb 2b, Tanner Reis 0-3 r bb, Devin Hansen 1-4 rbi-3 3b, Izaac Hutchinson 2-3 r rbi-3 bb, Carter Voss 1-2 r, Jake Lauer 1-3 rbi-2 2b
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - NLS: Schneider (L) 3.2-4-5-5-5-4, Holmquist 2.1-3-3-1-0-2 … Albany: Holm (W) 5-3-2-1-0-4, Drew Cramlet 2-3-1-1-0-2

Game 2:

Albany 3, NLS 0

Albany swept the doubleheader from New London-Spicer, getting home runs from Tanner Reis and Brandon Holm.


Post 482 also got a combined shutout from Carter Voss and Jake Lauer. Voss went six innings, allowing four hits and two walks. He struck out. Lauer pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out two.

Bennett Schultz was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and two stolen bases for NLS.

Albany    000   201   0-3   5   4
NLS         000   000   0-0   4   2
Hitting - Albany: Tanner Reis 1-2 r rbi hr bb, Brandon Holm 1-3 r rbi hr, Devin Hansen 1-1 r bb-2, Izaac Hutchinson 1-3 rbi, Isaac Evenson 1-3, Ethan Borgerding 0-2 sb, Drew Cramlet 0-2 hbp … NLS: Luke Knudsen 0-3 bb sb, Bennett Schultz 2-2 hbp sb-2, Christopher Schneider 0-2 bb, Riley Lessman 1-3, Cole Dolezal 1-3
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Albany: Carter Voss (W) 6-4-0-0-2-2, Jake Lauer (Sv) 1-0-0-0-0-2 … NLS: Carson McCain (L) 5-4-2-2-2-3, E. Jacobson 2-1-1-1-1-3

Junior Legion

Starbuck 14, Kerkhoven 3

Fueled by a seven-run second inning, Starbuck dominated Kerkhoven in five innings at Marthaler Park in Glenwood.

Jack Majerus led the way for Starbuck. He went 4-for-4, scoring three runs and adding an RBI.

Austin Weber and Alex Panitzke provided an inning each of relief. The duo combined for four strikeouts and allowed zero hits.

Kerkhoven  102   00-3   4   5
Starbuck      373   1x-14   13   2
Hitting - Kerkhoven: Luke Jeseritz 1-3 r, Wylee Lottman 0-1 sb-2 r rbi, Jett Olson 1-2 sb, Evan Zimmer 1-3 rbi… Starbuck: Austin Weber 2-4 r-3 rbi, Jack Majerus 4-4 r-3 rbi, Dylan Alexander 1-3 3b r rbi, Zach Gugisberg 0-1 rbi, Noah Jensen 2-3 sb r-3, Caden Larson 1-3 r rbi, Ryland Martin 2-3 sb r rbi-3, Alex Panitzke 0-2 r, Nathan Dell 1-3 rbi, Austin Ballhagen 0-2 sb r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Kerkhoven: Evan Zimmer 2-7-10-0-1-3, Hunter Wilts (L) 2-6-4-3-0-3… Starbuck: C Larson (W) 3-4-3-1-0-4, Austin Weber 1-0-0-0-2-2, Alex Panitzke 1-0-0-0-0-2

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