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Red Wing catcher Thate Peterson (right) holds onto the ball before tagging out Northfield’s Caleb Malek at home during the first inning of Thursday’s Sub-State 6 elimination game in Dundas, Minnesota. Post 54’s season came to an end in a 12-2 eight-inning loss. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

Legion Baseball: Post 54 eliminated after consecutive losses

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Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

DUNDAS, Minn. – Red Wing had its chances early against Northfield but just couldn’t capitalize. 

With bases loaded in the second inning, Post 54 left the inning unable to bring a run home. Red Wing finally got on the board in the fourth and had another runner in scoring position, but could not maintain that momentum. 

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“We had a chance to break through early,” said Post 54 head coach Justin Plein, “We just couldn’t get those runs in early.”

While Red Wing couldn’t capitalize early, Northfield did not squander its chances late in the game. 

With both teams facing elimination Thursday, No. 6-seed Northfield scored nine runs combined in the seventh and eighth innings on the way to a 12-2 win over No. 7-seed Post 54 in the Sub-State 6 tournament at Memorial Park in Dundas.

Through the first six innings, Plein declared that Thursday’s elimination game was one of his team’s best games of the season.

“We were down 3-1, but defensively we were playing well and getting out of jams,” Plein said. “We just couldn’t get a hit.”

Plein continued, “All of a sudden in the seventh and eighth innings, they came through with a few there. The game was definitely closer than 12-2 indicated.”

Northfield didn’t take long to take a lead as Jake Mathison hit an RBI single to left field that scored Tommy McDonald. Then in the second, they went up 2-0 when a double steal attempt helped Joey Eckhoff reach home as Red Wing chased down McDonald for the final out.

Though Northfield was able to rack up eight hits over the first three innings, Post 54 kept the damage to a minimum as starting pitcher Sam Palmatier bulldogged his way through 4 1/3 innings before Jacob Duden came on in relief.

Held hitless through the first three innings, Red Wing’s offense found some traction in the fourth. Thate Peterson drew a leadoff walk, and Cam Voigt got Peterson to third with a single. Peterson plated Post 54’s first run after a wild pitch by Northfield’s Shelby Samuels. 

After a rough first time through the order, Post 54 brought Samuels deeper into counts, making him work for every out.

“The first time though, you could tell (Samuels) was struggling with the strike zone, so we talked about being patient and getting a pitch,” Plein said. “Even if you take strike one, that’s all right. Make him throw. I know he went seven, but he labored through seven.”

Northfield made it 3-1 in the fifth after Caleb Malek scored on a grounder by Chris Antoine. Under a normal seven-inning game, Red Wing would have lost 3-1, but Sub-State games go nine innings and Red Wing still had a chance to fight back.

“You try telling the guys, ‘Hey, it’s a nine-inning game. There are a lot of chances, we gotta stay in it,’” Plein said. 

Once Northfield got to the bottom of the seventh, they were able to pull away. Thanks in large part to a two-run double by Sam Stuckmayer, Northfield tacked on four runs in the inning. Then in the eighth, Northfield scored five more runs, capped off by a two-run single Eckhoff that put the mercy rule into play.

Post 54 (7-19) finished with six hits, led by Voigt, who went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Peter Davig had a double, and Jakob Meyer, Andrew Lancman and Cody Leitner each collected singles in the loss.

Wednesday

Eastview 13, Red Wing 0

Playing second-seeded Eastview in the opening round, Red Wing took a pounding in a 13-0 seven-inning loss Wednesday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. 

Austin Strand and Corey Hawe each went 2-for-2 for Post 54, while Thate Peterson and Cody Leitner each accounted for a hit. In Red Wing’s six hits, none went for extra bases.

Leitner was charged with the loss after giving up seven runs (six earned), eight hits and two walks while striking out three in three innings of work.

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