Legion Baseball: Big inning propels Post 54 to victory
Red Wing Post 54 was lethargic in the opening innings Thursday for the second night in a row.
One night after a slow start in a doubleheader sweep of Faribault, the ending result was nearly the same as Post 54 exploded for nine hits and nine runs in the sixth inning of a 12-4 victory over Hastings at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
“I don’t know if it’s because we played two yesterday but we were kind of going through the motions in the first couple innings,” Red Wing head coach Justin Plein said. “They feed off each other. … Once we get that one big hit, we get going.”
Preston Blaney finished 2-for-3 with a home run, Ricky Turcotte went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Thate Peterson was 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead Post 54 (5-0). Zach Lang was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI and Josh Gadient went 2-for-3 with three RBI.
It took Post 54 five innings to get started, trailing Hastings 4-1 into the bottom of the fifth inning. Hastings’ starting pitcher, Pat Rough, took advantage of Red Wing’s patience in the first four innings with first pitch fastballs for strikes. He gave up seven hits before the fifth inning but stranded four runners in scoring position.
But in the sixth inning, Red Wing loaded the bases with no outs and after a strikeout, Thate Peterson jumpstarted Post 54 with a bases-clearing double for a 6-4 lead.
“(Rough) was really slowing down,” Peterson said. “He was throwing me a lot of fastballs. I was just looking for something to hit.”
Rough walked Trey Eckstrom in the next at-bat and gave up a sacrifice fly out to left field by Ricky Turcotte before injuring his elbow on the third pitch to Cam Voigt.
“It was an old issue,” Hastings head coach Chris Gardell said. “He had been rehabbing it. … Even during the last mound visit, he said it was fine. He said he didn’t feel it until that pitch.”
The injury left Hastings with just eight players after using its one bench player as a pinch-hitter during the previous inning. Red Wing took advantage of Hastings having only two outfielders and sprayed the ball all over the outfield with five straight hits with two outs. Michael Bigelbach, who finished 2-for-5, laced an inside-the-park home run into the right-field corner for the final two runs of the game.
Post 54 stayed in the game prior to the offensive outburst because of the outing of starting pitcher Tristan Van Stone. Van Stone allowed four unearned runs in six innings, giving up five hits and two walks. He retired 11 in a row from the second inning to the fifth inning and had two strikeouts.
“I was really impressed with him today,” Plein said. “He kept them off-balance. That’s what we need from him, throw strikes and make them put it in play.”
Austin LaDoux and Isaiah Gardell each finished with two singles to lead Hastings.
Red Wing will attempt to remain undefeated Monday against New Prague at the Ath.