Good game: Post 14 falls 5-2 to No. 1 Minnesota team
Jamestown Post 14 stuck with Minnesota’s No. 1-ranked team the entire way on Friday night.
A four-run third inning paved the way for Excelsior’s 5-2 win during first-day action at the Post 14 Invitational at Jack Brown Stadium. Jamestown continues pool-play action today at 1 p.m. vs. Coon Rapids (Minnesota) and 7 p.m. against Gillette (Wyoming).
“We talked (to our guys) about how many times one inning costs you the game,” Jamestown coach Shane Schoeneberg said. “Other than that inning, it was a 2-1 game in our favor. The guys they have on the field are very good, and we’ve got to know we can play with them.”
Griffith Powell’s two-run double in the third inning put Excelsior out front 2-1, and Derek Branson followed with a two-run single that accounted for four of their team’s five runs.
“That was the deciding factor,” said Powell, who is one of four position players back from college for Excelsior after he redshirted at Minnesota State-Mankato. “Their pitcher was battling and we were about to come through the order for the second time. We knew we’d be all right. A couple guys led off with base hits and he left a first-pitch fastball up, so I took it to right field.”
Excelsior improved to 40-5 this summer and is coming off winning the prestigious 96-team Gopher Classic.
“This has been a fantastic summer,” Powell said. “We think the pieces are where they should be and we hope to execute the rest of the season.”
David Cushing went five innings for the win, surrendering one earned run on three hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out four.
Jamestown’s Joey Gebhardt retired the side in order to begin the game and fought his way through six innings. He allowed three earned runs on nine hits and only walked one batter. Gebhardt had struggled lately with free passes, but with this trip to the mound, he made Excelsior earn it.
“When Joe needed to make a big pitch, he did,” Schoeneberg said. “He gave up a few too many 0-and-2 hits, and that’s just him missing a spot. But I thought he had a good outing.”
Jamestown took a 1-0 lead when Nate Soulis’ single plated Gebhardt in the first inning. Post 14’s other run came in the third, as Tyler Ukestad’s ground out brought home Ben Walz, who was hit by a pitch.
Down by three in the bottom of the seventh, Soulis was hit by a pitch and Ukestad singled to left to bring the tying runner to the plate in Anthony Cook, who ended up grounding out to first to end the game. Excelsior’s Max Fahlsing bent but didn’t break for the save.
Jamestown appeared loose the entire game, which Schoeneberg attributes to a speech after a split in Dickinson this week.
“Don’t treat this like a job,” Schoeneberg said to his players. “You only have so many opportunities to play Legion baseball. These are gonna be some of your best friends the rest of your life. When we’re loose and chattering, that’s when we play our best baseball.”
Coon Rapids 6, Gillette 0
John Barclay pitched a masterpiece, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up back-to-back singles in the hole.
He got the win, recording five strikeouts in seven innings, though he did walk five. Barclay ran into trouble in the sixth, but got out of a bases-loaded jam with a ground out.
University of Minnesota-bound Alex Boxwell, a big lefty, proved to be a tough out. He finished 3-for-4 with a double from the No. 3 spot, driving in a runner in the first inning that made it 2-0.
Coon Rapids struck for two more runs in the fourth inning thanks to a double from Matt Essler, who also had three hits.
Gillette’s Ian Durgin suffered the loss, going five innings and surrendering three earned runs.
Excelsior (Minn.) 5, Jamestown 2
Excelsior 004 001 0 — 5 9 2
Jamestown 101 000 x — 2 4 1
David Cushing, Zach Amundson (6), Max Fahlsing (7) and Ian Cote. Joey Gebhardt, Nate Soulis (6) and Shaun Hogan, Joey Gebhardt (6). W—Cushing. L—Gebhardt. Save—Max Fahlsing.
Highlights: Cote 2-3, double, R, Derek Branson 1-4, 2 RBIs, Griffith Powell 1-3, walk, double, R, 2 RBIs. J, Gebhardt 1-3, walk, R, Nate Soulis 1-3, HBP, RBI, Tyler Ukestad 1-4, RBI, Ben Walz HBP, R.
Records: Excelsior 40-5, Jamestown 9-20.
Coon Rapids (Minn.) 6, Gillette (Wyo.) 0
Coon Rapids 200 201 1 — 6 16 0
Gillette 000 000 0 — 0 2 3
John Barclay and Justin Reeves. Ian Durgin, Josh Bradbury (6), Kyler Stark (7) and Drayson Hladky. W—Barclay. L—Durgin.
Highlights: CR, Barclay 7 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 5 walks, 5 Ks, Alex Boxwell 3-4, double, 2 RBIs, Matt Essler 3-4, double, R, RBI, Joe Lewis 2-4, R, Mike Zimbeck 2-4, Zach Klisch 2-4, R, Connor Boone 2-4, double, R. Gillette, Lucas Rissler 1-3, Tanner Rogen 1-3.
Records: Coon Rapids 16-14, Gillette 37-28.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or firstname.lastname@example.org