July tends to be crunch time for American Legion baseball teams, and the Valley City Post 60 baseball team sees it no differently.
In the next three weeks, Post 60 will only play sectional opponents as it concludes the regular season. The team will then play in the Section 1 tournament starting July 24, and potentially the state tournament, which starts August 1.
With that in mind, the team didn’t stress out too much in its 15-3 loss to Kindred Sunday in the third place game of the Leevers Classic tournament at Charlie Brown Memorial Field.
“It was one of those games where you treat it like you want to win, but it’s a tournament, it doesn’t count towards section standings, so we were trying to get everybody in also,” coach Jason Beilke said. “Since they hadn’t played all weekend, some kids get an at-bat, so it keeps them in the game.”
The loss allowed the team to see three different pitchers and get all of its hitters into the game as the players attempted to rally back from a 9-0 deficit in the second inning.
Post 60 finished the tournament 1-2, beating Grafton 18-10 in the first game, then losing 5-2 to Thompson Saturday in the semifinals.
Throughout the first two games, Valley City had few problems hitting or pitching —the team outhit opponents a combined 22-14 — but were instead haunted all tournament by iffy fielding.
In 19 innings of play over the weekend, Post 60 combined for 23 errors, including nine in the first game.
Strong pitching from Jaden Keys in game one and Chase Carpenter in game two kept the games close.
Keys threw a complete game in his appearance, which included 12 strikeouts and limited earned runs.
Carpenter similarly kept the game close and allowed only five runs total.
“To make seven errors and still be in the game, that shows how good he did (Saturday) night,” Beilke said.
In Sunday’s loss, starterJosh Gilbertson gave up nine runs, five earned, on eight hits in one and two thirds of an inning.
Post 60 scored three runs in the bottom of the second to make it 9-3 but couldn’t get any more runs across.
Post 60 hosts Lidgerwood Friday at 5:30 p.m.