Post 54 doubles up South St. Paul
When Cody Leitner takes the mound, the production is usually a foregone conclusion. Maybe Leitner gives up a run, possibly two, but his team will have a good chance to win by scoring three runs.
On Monday, Leitner was his usual self, and Jacob Duden channeled his inner Leitner as Post 54 swept a double header from South St. Paul.
In Game 1, Leitner cruised through six innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out seven.
The Red Wing offense took a little longer to get going, scoring twice in the third inning, but tacking on eight in the sixth to shorten the game with a 10-0 victory.
“We played really well tonight,” Post 54 head coach Justin Plein said. “We had two kids missing that were at the (MLB) home run derby. But we had some great pitching, and we came out hitting.”
Red Wing smacked 13 hits in the first game as Jake Meyer, Austin Strand and Peter Davig each came away with two hits and an RBI. Ryan Jonas and Duden also added an RBI as Post 54 sailed into Game 2 on a high note with Duden taking the mound.
And if South St. Paul players thought it would be a relief to see Duden, they were wrong.
Seven innings after Duden first toed the rubber, Post 54 were winners again, this time by a 5-0 margin that saw the visitors manage just two more hits off of Red Wing pitching.
“Duden came out strong, and he was on short rest after pitching Thursday against Hastings,” Plein said. “And he actually had a no hitter into the sixth inning.”
Post 54 had no such trouble connecting as Red Wing pounded out 10 more hits in the nightcap led by Strand and Davig, who had a pair of hits and an RBI each.
As the visitors, Red Wing scored once in the fifth and four times in the seventh to come away with the sweep. Duden threw all seven innings, allowing the two hits and four walks to go with four strikeouts.
In a season full of disappointments, the recent hitting surge has complemented a defense and pitching staff that has been solid all summer.
“We’ve been playing alright defense and we’ve been pitching, but we haven’t been picking up the big hit,” Plein said. “We’ve been a lot more patient, and we’re getting that hit with guys on base.”
Post 54 (6-16) visited New Prague on Tuesday and will have its regular season finale Thursday, at home, at 7:30 p.m. against Faribault.
Playoff seeding is set for Sunday night. Plein said he anticipates the seventh-seed (out of nine teams). The No. 8 versus No. 9 play-in game is Monday, with the rest of the tournament beginning Wednesday in Dundas.