Legion Baseball: Post 54 wins 5th straight
In the final week of the Legion baseball season, Red Wing is rolling.
Over a turbulent summer, Post 54 is piecing together its finest play over the last week, riding a five-game winning streak after two straight doubleheader sweeps and a 17-1 five-inning drubbing of Northfield Monday at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
“It’s nice to get past that bump in the road that we hit earlier this season,” said Post 54 center fielder Preston Blaney.
Red Wing didn’t hit any bumps in the road on Monday, but they did hit the baseball all over the Ath, finishing with 18 hits.
“All year, our hitting has kind of been contagious,” said head coach Justin Plein. “Everyone was getting hits today.”
Some of Post 54’s best offense against Northfield came from the bottom of the batting order as the No. 6, 7, 8 and 9 hitters tallied eight combined hits. Austin Strand went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Nic Plein was 2-for-3 with two runs and a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth.
“Their pitchers were throwing a lot of balls right down the middle,” Nic Plein said. “I’ve been in a little bit of a slump this year, so it was a good confidence booster tonight. … It’s nice that we got it going right before playoffs.”
Going up 1-0 in the first after an RBI single by Dixon Irwin, Post 54 capitalized on Northfield’s blunders to put up five runs in the second. Northfield was charged with two errors and pitcher Cody Polzin was called for a balk that allowed a run to score. Runs also came across the plate on a Michael Bigelbach single and a bases-loaded walk by Preston Blaney.
“We got on base right away with bunts by Josh Gadient, Nic Plein and Austin Strand,” Justin Plein said. “We put the ball into play and made them try to make plays. (Northfield) committed a couple errors in the field and you could tell they were down on themselves.”
Northfield’s lone run came in the third when Tommy McDonald scored on a single from Tim Maus. But any chance of a rally ended in the next at-bat as Post 54 escaped with an inning-ending double play.
Up 6-1, Bigelbach popped up for an out to start out the bottom of the fourth. After that, another Red Wing would not come for 13 straight at-bats. Post 54 pieced together 11 runs on 12 hits and one walk before the second out.
“It was simple; we were putting the bat on the ball tonight,” said Blaney, who finished 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and three RBI.
Looking to put the final touches on a complete-game victory, Bigelbach coaxed Northfield into three straight outs in the top of the fifth to leave the mound with the victory. Bigelbach allowed just five Northfield hits in the win.
Irwin went 3-for-3 with a run scored, Trey Eckstrom had two hits, two runs and an RBI, and Ricky Turcotte was 1-for-3 with two runs scored for Red Wing.
Now 12-8 overall, Post 54 is hoping to make some moves in the sub-section in the final three games of the regular season. On Wednesday and Thursday, Red Wing hosts West St. Paul and Prior Lake, respectively, before ending the season on the road Friday at Eagan.
“Right now we’re looking at the four, five, sixth or seven spot,” Justin Plein said. “If we can win out this week, we’ll finish 7-3 in the sub-section. … We’re going up against some pretty tough teams to end this week before the playoffs start.”