The Fat Daddy’s Alexandria American Legion Post 87 baseball team won its first game and dropped its next two to place fourth at this year’s Elden’s Fresh Foods 4th of July Tournament. Alexandria defeated Hastings 9-3 in the opening round before falling to West Fargo 6-0 and North Saint Paul 5-2. The tournament went very well which included eight very strong teams from across the upper Midwest. Edina took home the championship as it defeated West Fargo 3-0 in the finals in a really nice game… with Matthew Hopfner of the winning team earning the Bernie Steidl MVP Award. In the tournament, he collected four hits, scored three runs, and drove in four… while throwing a complete game five hit shutout on the mound in the championship game to help his team take home the trophy.
Game three... Third Place Game...
Alexandria 2 North Saint Paul 5
Alexandria Post 87 got a solid pitching performance from right-hander Nick Knoblach, but it wasn’t enough as the home team dropped the third place game by a score of 5-2 to a good team from North Saint Paul. They are a well-coached team and are always in the top ten in the state rankings in the summer. Ron Adams and his coaching staff have been very loyal to us and to our tournament, and they were another worthy opponent for us. It was a pretty well-played game overall, we just didn’t score enough runs to pick up the win. North Saint Paul got on the board first in the top of the fourth inning as it used a pair of base hits, a sacrifice bunt, and a two-RBI single to go up 2-0 early on. In the bottom half, Knoblach was hit by a pitch and then moved over on a nice bunt by Pat Leary. Gideon Burnham stepped to the plate and delivered a two-out RBI single to narrow the lead to 2-1. North Saint Paul got it back in the fifth on a walk and an RBI double to extend it to 3-1, but Post 87 again answered back in the bottom half. Zach Peterson reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and advanced to third on a Ben Kluver single through the left side. AJ Anderson had a quality at-bat as he grounded out to second to plate Peterson to cut it to 3-2. It would stay there into the seventh when starter Nick Knoblach got into a little trouble, giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning. Beau Backhaus came on in relief and got two quick outs on a strikeout and a fly ball to left field. Alexandria was just about out of the jam, but a passed ball and a fielding error allowed two more runs to score to push the deficit to 5-2 going into its final at-bat. Christian Anderson got things going with a one out double down the line, and Peterson roped a single to make it first and third. But the threat ended there as North Saint Paul ended things abruptly with a nifty 1-6-3 double play to secure the win and the third place trophy. Alexandria’s eight hits came off the bats of four players, as Peterson, Kluver, Burnham, and Christian Anderson all had two hits each. Knoblach went the first six plus innings and kept his team in the game all afternoon, allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits and six walks. He struck out five in picking up the tough luck loss. Backhaus worked the final inning and did not allow a run while striking out two.
I thought our guys played pretty well, we just kind of scattered our hits and couldn’t really string enough together to score runs. We did play solid defense again, but the big one kind of got us at the end. Our guys definitely got a chance to again see how they stack up against some of the better teams from our area… so it was another great experience. Fun weekend of baseball and we look forward to more!
Other third round scores:
Hastings 6 Fergus Falls 5 (7th Place Game)
Mankato 8 Worthington 7 (Consolation Game)
N. St. Paul 5 Alexandria 2 (3rd Place Game)
Edina 3 West Fargo 0 (Championship Game)
Bernie Steidl MVP Award winner: Matthew Hopfner of Edina
Alexandria now looks ahead and is set to play host to Litchfield in a nine-inning league game on Tuesday night for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. It will then travel to the always fun and competitive Gopher Classic Tournament in the Twin Cities Area this upcoming weekend where it will take on teams from Harrisonville, MO, Mitchell, SD, Rochester Century, Lakeville North, and Hopkins. All pool play games will be played at Elko Field in Elko, MN. It should be another exciting week of baseball for our guys!
I also want to send out a special thanks to all of the parents who helped out with admissions, concessions, scoreboard, PA, and work on the field over the entire weekend. We received lots of positive words from all of the teams, fans, and umpires on how well our tournament was run... and that is a credit to everyone involved. I was told by nearly all of the teams that they'd like to be back again next year because they felt everything was so smooth, so hopefully we can continue this in the future with more good baseball to come! Also.. if you get a chance to thank Mike Kluver and Bernice.. please do so. The ballpark would not look the same without all of their hard work and I am very thankful for both of their efforts each and every day down at Knute.
Time to take a deep breath and I will let you all know more as the week continues. Enjoy the week and your time away from the ballpark. Looking forward to some sleep! :)
Tag(s): Alex Legion