Legion baseball: Litchfield get left out

Pierz wins two in a row at Optimist Park to take best-of-three Sub-State series

Litchfield right fielder Hunter Thiel dives for an out during a Central Sub-State playoff game against Pierz on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at Optimist Park in Litchfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

LITCHFIELD — Litchfield Post 104 approached the ballpark needing to win one game over Pierz to advance in the Division II Central Sub-State tournament. But after losing 4-1 in Game 2 and 7-1 in Game 3, Post 104 saw its season come to an end.

Pierz proved to be a team on a mission after scoring a run in the first inning.

Post 104 attempted to get on the board itself in the first inning, filling the bases. But the inning ended with back-to-back strikeouts by starter Noah Cekalla.

Litchfield outfielder Hunter Theil made possibly the defensive catch of the evening in the second inning with a diving grab before successfully connecting with second base to pick off a runner, resulting in a double play.

Litchfield batter Caden Besemer brought home the tying run in the bottom of the fourth.


In the top of the sixth, after loading the bases on walks and giving up two runs on an error, Pierz took a 4-1 lead.

Litchfield scored a lone run in the bottom of the sixth, but were unable to find the same success at the plate as Pierz.

The victory tied the series at 1-1 and forced a Game 3.

Pierz shut out Litchfield 7-0 in Game 3 to advance to the next round and end Litchfield’s season.

Pierz will play Tri-Town for the sub-state title this weekend. Game 1 will be held at Pierz, while Games 2 and 3 (if needed) will take place Sunday at Atwater.

Game 3
Pierz 7, Litchfield 0

Litchfield 000 000 0-0 3 1
Pierz 003 040 x-7 8 1
Hitting - Litchfield: Bauer Wahl 1-3, Bennett Lecher 1-3, Avery Liestman 1-3 … Pierz: Michael Leidenfrost 2-3 r-2 bb sb-3, Ryan Stuckmeyer 2-3 r-2 hbp sb-2, Noah Cekalla 1-2 r-2 rbi bb-2, Kamden Happke 1-2 2b r rbi bb, Louis Gober 1-3, Ben Virnig 1-3, Kolten Happke 0-1 rbi-2 sac-2
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Litchfield: Ben Alsleben (L) 6-8-7-6-4-6 … Pierz: Virnig (W) 5-2-0-0-3-5, Stuckmeyer 2-1-0-0-0-1

Game 2
Pierz 4, Litchfield 2

Pierz 100 030 0-4 7 1
Litchfield 000 101 0-2 7 3
Hitting - Pierz: Ryan Stuckmeyer 2-4 r, Kolten Happke 1-4, Kamden Happke 1-2 r bb-2 sb, Louis Gober 1-3 r bb, Kirby Iischer r bb, Ben Virnig 1-3 rbi-2, Andy Winscher 1-3 rbi sb ... Litchfield: Winky Estrada 2-3 r bb sb, Bauer Wahl 1-2 rbi bb, Ben Alsleben 2-3 bb 2b, Avery Liestman 1-3 r bb, Judd Dollerschell 0-2 bb, Caden Besemer 1-3 rbi.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Pierz: Noah Cekalla 5⅔-6-2-2-8-5, Ben Virnig 1⅓-1-0-0-0-0 ... Litchfield: Liestman 5-4-1-0-3-1, Beau Weseloh ⅓-0-3-2-0-3, Riley Taber 1⅔-3-0-0-0-0

Litchfield's Winky Estrada watches as the ball heads to the outfield for a single in a Central Sub-State game against Pierz on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at Optimist Park in Litchfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune


Litchfield shortstop Ben Alsleben charges a ground ball during a Central Sub-State game against Pierz on Thursday, July 23, 2021 at Optimist Park in Litchfield. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Tri-Town 6,

Tri-Town advanced to the Division II Central Sub-State championship after beating Sacred Heart/MACCRAY in Game 2 at Sacred Heart, sweeping the best-of-three series.

Josh Kinzler and Connor Barker each had two hits as the Black Sox finished the game with 10 base knocks. Kinzler was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI while Barker was 2-for-5 with a double. Jack Peterson tallied the win after holding the Scarlets to one run and no walks with six strikeouts over five scoreless innings.

Brandan Hoberg and Gavin Husman accounted for both of Sacred Heart/MACCRAY’s hits. Hoberg also took the loss after pitching the first three-plus innings.

Tri-Town 001 500 0-6 10 1
SH/MACCRAY 000 000 0-0 2 4
Hitting - Tri-Town: Josh Kingery 1-5 r, Josh Kinzler 2-5 r rbi, Connor Barker 2-5 2b, Jack Peterson 1-3 2b rbi bb, Jaxon Behm 1-3 r hbp, Zach Bagley 1-4 2b r, Hayden Straumann 1-3 r rbi bb, Keegan Kessler-Gross 1-3 r bb … SH/MACCRAY: Brandan Hoberg 1-1 2b, Gavin Husman 1-2
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Tri-Town: Peterson (W) 5-1-0-0-0-6, Behm 2-1-0-0-0-1 … SH/MACCRAY: Hoberg (L) 3-6-4-4-2-0, Brooks Asche 4-4-2-0-1-3

Willmar 8,
Hutchinson 4

Hutchinson closed the gap with a three-run fifth inning, but Willmar responded with two runs in each of the next two frames as Post 167 advanced in the Division I Sub-State 15 tournament at Delano Municipal Baseball Park.

Hunter Magnuson had a strong game for top-seeded Willmar. At the plate, he was 2-for-3 with two runs, an RBI and two stolen bases. He also got the victory on the mound, tossing 4-1/3 innings in relief behind starter Andrew Baumgart.

Cayden Hansen finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Post 167, and Alex Schramm had a hit, three RBIs and a run scored in the victory.

Sam Starke led the offense for fourth-seeded Hutchinson, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Max Einch got the loss after allowing six runs over four innings.


Willmar will face No. 6 seed Waconia in the next round at 11 a.m. Friday. Waconia advanced with a 3-2 win over No. 2 Buffalo on Thursday. The winner will earn a spot in the sub-state championship on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.

Hutchinson 000 030 1-4 8 0
Willmar 400 022 x-8 7 1
Hitting - Hutchinson: Billy Marquardt 1-5, Brady Knorr 1-3 r bb, Zach Kuseske 1-1 bb hbp, Jauan Olmscheid 1-4 rbi, Sam Starke 2-4 rbi-2, Nathan Rannow 1-3 sac, Gavin Hutchins 1-3 bb, Braeden McGill 0-1 r-2 bb-2 hbp, Grant Ketcher 0-0 r … Willmar: Hunter Magnuson 2-3 r-2 rbi-bb sb-2, Dylan Arndorfer 1-3, Alex Schramm 1-2 r rbi-3 sf, Cayden Hansen 2-3 rbi-2, Brandt Sunder 1-3 r sb, Jett Salonek 0-2 r-2 bb-2 sb, Ian Koosman 0-1 r bb-2 hbp

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Hutchinson: Max Einch (L) 4-3-6-6-5-3, Parker Wortz 2-4-2-2-2-1 … Willmar: Andrew Baumgart 2 2/3-4-0-0-1-0, Magnuson (W) 4 1/3-4-4-3-4-3

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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