VFW/Legion baseball roundup: Willmar Post 1639 makes it six wins in a row

VFW/Legion baseball report for Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in west central Minnesota. Willmar remains hot after beating Litchfield 3-1. And,Starbuck's late rally gives it a Junior Legion victory.

Baseball roundup
Willmar second baseman Carter Kallevig snatches a liner for an out during a VFW baseball game against Litchfield on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — Mason Thole and Cullen Gregory were lethal on the mound to lead Willmar VFW Post 1639 to a 3-1 victory over Litchfield on Tuesday evening at Baker Field.

Despite Litchfield scoring the first run of the game in the first inning, the duo of Thole and Gregory combined for eight strikeouts and did not allow another runner to score the remainder of the game.

“Our pitchers threw the ball very well, getting up in the count. Our hitters had timely hits,” Willmar head coach Jordan Steffer said. “[Mason was] being a bulldog. The first inning was a little rough and then he got into a groove — started throwing strikes — to get his confidence built up and kept going.”

062922.S.WCT.Litchfield VFW base Jack McCann.JPG
Litchfield's Jack McCann crosses home plate for a run during a VFW baseball game against Willmar on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

In the top of the sixth inning with Willmar holding a 3-1 lead, Litchfield had two runners in scoring position with one out. Gregory replaced Thole on the mound, earning two outs against three batters to leave the base runners stranded.

Gregory closed out the seventh inning, striking out three.


“He’s been my number two pitcher all year,” Steffer said of Gregory. “He’s had a save the last two games now.”

The two hits for Willmar came in a three-run fourth inning as Post 1639 cemented its victory with some help from Litchfield.

062922.S.WCT.Willmar VFW base Cullen Gregory.JPG
Willmar shortstop Cullen Gregory snags a pop fly for an out during a VFW baseball game against Litchfield on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Finley Donelan hit a two-out RBI double into right field to bring home Gregory before Braeden Fagerlie scored the third run for Willmar on a passed ball.

Dylan Staska led off in the three-run inning, hitting a single and advancing to second on a fielder’s error. He later reached third base on the first passed ball of the inning and reached home after Gregory hit a fielder’s choice RBI.

“We’re playing good ball right now,” Steffer said. “We’ve won six games in a row.”


Willmar 3, Litchfield 1

Litchfield    100   000   0-1   5   2
Willmar      000   300   x-3   2   3
Hitting - Litchfield: Jack McCann 0-2 r, Ben Olson 1-3, Hunter Schultz 2-3 rbi, Jaxon Marquardt 2-2… Willmar: Dylan Staska 1-3 r, Cullen Gregory 0-2 r rbi, Braeden Fagerlie 0-3 r, Finley Donelan 1-2 rbi
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Litchfield: Hunter Schultz (L) 6-2-3-1-0-4… Willmar: Mason Thole (W) 5.1-5-1-1-1-4, Cullen Gregory (Sv) 1.2-0-0-0-1-4

062922.S.WCT.Litchfield VFW base Hunter Schultz.JPG
Litchfield's Hunter Schultz steps into the batter's box during a VFW baseball game against Willmar on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at Bill Taunton Stadium in Willmar.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Junior Legion

Starbuck 7, EVW 6

Eden Valley-Watkins held a commanding 6-1 lead until Starbuck came up to plate with its last at-bats in the bottom of the seventh inning, where it rattled off six runs for the win at Marthaler Park in Glenwood.


Dylan Alexander led Starbuck with three hits in four at-bats, adding one run and an RBI.

EVW’s Lane Harff was the only other batter in the game to record three hits and he also scored a run.

Harff also had a strong performance on the mound for EVW. He threw 13 strikeouts in 6-⅔ innings, allowing five hits and two runs.

EVW            010   121   1-6   10   2
Starbuck      001   000   6-7   7   5
Hitting - EVW: Parker Schultz 2-4 r rbi, Coltant Harff 2-4 r rbi, Lane Harff 3-4 r, Anthony Fink 1-4 rbi, Nolan Haag 0-4 r rbi, Broden Thielen 0-4 r, Myles Haag 2-3 r rbi… Starbuck: Austin Ballhagen 0-2 r, Levi Johnson 1-3 r-2, Dylan Alexander 3-4 r rbi, Ryland Martin 0-1 rbi, Gavin Cain 0-1 r rbi, Austin Weber 0-4 r, Caden Larson 2-4 rbi-2, Jackson Holmes 1-1, Jack Majerus 0-2 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - EVW: Lane Harff 6.2-5-2-1-1-13, Coltan Harff (L) 0-2-5-1-3-0… Starbuck: Levi Johnson 6-7-5-3-0-6, Austin Weber (W) 1-3-1-1-0-0

American Legion

Game 1:

Tri-Town 6, Paynesville 2

Josh Kingery went 2-for-3 with two home runs, a hit-by-pitch, three runs and three RBI to lead Tri-Town past Paynesville late Monday in the first game of a doubleheader.

Tri-Town           102   102   0-6   11   0
Paynesville      000   002   0-2   9   0
Hitting - Tri-Town: Josh Kingery 2-3 r-3 rbi-3 hr-2 hbp, Logan Straumann 2-4, Jack Peterson 3-4 r rbi, Connor Barker 2-3 r rbi 2b hbp, Jaxon Behm 1-3 bb, Zach Bagley 0-4, Keegan  Kessler-Gross 0-3 bb, Jonas Morrison 1-3 r bb … Paynesville: Grayson Fuchs 1-4, Trent Wendlandt 2-3, Nelson 2-4 r, Spencer Eisenbraun 1-4 r, Austin Pauls 1-3 rbi, Eli Nelson 2-2 bb, Johnson 0-2 bb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Tri-Town: Peterson (W) 7-9-2-2-2-12 … Paynesville: Fuchs (L) 6-11-6-6-2-3, Eisenbraun 1-0-0-0-1-1

Game 2:

Paynesville 3, Tri-Town 1

Paynesville captured the nightcap, scoring three runs in the second inning, to win the five-inning second game.

Paynesville    030   00-3   6   0Tri-Town         000   01-1   7   2Hitting - Paynesville: Grayson Fuchs 0-2 r bb, Trent Wendlandt 1-2 rbi bb, Nelson 1-2 hbp, Spencer Eisenbraun 2-3 rbi, Austin Pauls 1-3, Eli Nelson 0-3 r, Hemmesch 0-1 r bb, Johnson 1-1 rbi … Tri-Town: Josh Kingergy 2-3 r, Logan Straumann 2-3, Jack Peterson 1-3 rbi, Connor Barker 1-2, Zach Bagley 1-2, J. Drange 0-1 bb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Paynesville: Nelson (W) 5-7-1-1-1-6 … Tri-Town: Bagley (L)  5-6-3-0-3-1


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Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in June 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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