Post 60 clinches 3 seed at Sectional tourney
Entering Thursday's double header with Harwood, the Valley City Post 60 American Legion baseball team wasn't too concerned about getting the sweep.
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Instead, the team was focused solely on the first game, a 14-4 win in five innings that clinched the No.3 seed in next week's Section 1 tournament in Lidgerwood.
"We kind of had to win and stay out of Wahpeton's bracket," said Valley City infielder Josh Gilbertson.
It was a victory that kept the team from dwelling on a 9-0 no-hit loss in the second game, which largely used the team's reserves.
"That first one got us the three seed, so that's all we cared about was getting the first one and making sure we were the three seed come Tuesday," said Valley City coach Jason Beilke.
In the opener, Valley City took an early lead and never let it go.
The team got on the board in the first inning when Brett Stearns singled, stole second and later scored on a single by Jaden Keys.
The lead expanded to 4-0 after the second, which included hits from Anthony Olstad, Gilbertson, Ben Sorenson and Andrew Glaser. Post 60 capped the offensive success with a seven run fourth inning that was fueled by six hits, an error and a hit batter. The inning spanned 12 hitters and included two singles from Gilbertson.
Keys started at pitcher for Post 60 and threw the first four innings with only three hits allowed and no runs scoring. Chase Carpenter came in for relief in the fifth but hit two batters and allowed three hits, included a two-run double, to allow four runs.
Post 60 ended the game by mercy rule in the bottom of the inning.
Stearns started the wining rally with a walk, which was followed by a single by Carpenter. A walk to Keys loaded the bases. All three eventually scored, with Keys scoring the winning run on a single by Sorenson.
Valley City finished the game with 15 hits, which included plenty from the bottom of the order. Gilbertson and Sorenson, the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup, finished a combined 7-7 at the plate and reached base in all eight trips they took to the plate, which included a walk to Gilbertson.
Sorenson also had four runs batted in and Brett Kohn, who courtesy ran for him, scored twice.
Andrew Glaser, Stearns and Carpenter also finished with two hits each.
"We had some good at bats," Beilke said. "Even the guys that made outs had some good at-bats and saw some pitches, so that was good to see."
In the second game, Valley City's reserve players got a chance to take the field, but were hurt by numerous errors.
The game opened with a single to left field by Harwood. The hitter then scored on a bad pickoff play that resulted in two errors. Harwood then scored three runs in the top of the second to make it 4-0.
Harwood then had one run in the third and four in the fifth as Valley City gave four different pitchers an opportunity in the game. Of the nine runs allowed, only three were earned.
Valley City was held hitless, but Sorenson, Stearns, Troy Anderson, Gilbertson and Masyn Olson all reached after being hit by pitches.
Post 60 will continue its season Tuesday night when it opens the Section 1 tournament against tournament-host Lidgerwood at 7:30 p.m. Valley City beat Lidgerwood 13-3 and 9-3 in Section games earlier this month.
Beilke said he's confident in how his team will do in the tournament.
"I think we're playing our best baseball right now, and that's always good going into tournaments," he said.