The Blue Earth Area VFW baseball team lost the Southwest Sub-District Championship game last Sunday to the Fairmont VFW team by a score of 7-0.
But, it didn't really matter. Both the first and second place teams in the Sub-District move on to play in the VFW District Tournament being held this weekend, Thursday, July 25 through Sunday, July 28.
The Blue Earth VFW team was scheduled to play against the New Ulm Gold team in Green Isle on this past Thursday.
The tournament is four day double elimination style format.
"It's huge to move on to the District Tournament," Blue Earth coach Jeff Bell says. "Hopefully we can play more than just one game on Thursday and one on Friday."
That means they have to win one of their first two games.
At the Sub-District tournament, which was held in Blue Earth and Winnebago, the team had an early scare.
The Blue Earth VFW team had to fight their way through the loser's bracket in order to get to the championship game at the Sub-District. They played a total of six games in the four day tourney.
The team started off the marathon by defeating Lake Crystal on Thursday by a score of 7-0. But, they turned around on Friday and lost to Fairmont by that same 7-0 score. That dropped Blue Earth down into the loser's bracket.
There they rallied and defeated Wells by a score of 8-3. Next up they faced New Ulm Silver and defeated them by a score of 5-0.
That set up a critical game against St. James.
"We knew if we could get a win against St. James, we would get to the championship game and would then go to District whether we won or lost in the championship game," Coach Bell says. "So, this was our biggest game of the tourney."
And, it was the best game, the coach quickly adds.
Blue Earth downed the St. James VFW team by a close 2-0 score.
"This was the big game of the weekend for us," Coach Bell says. "We knew if we could get by St. James, we would be moving on."
The coach says both teams knew each other well, having played against each other for years. In fact, players on both teams had developed friendships.
While both teams were good, Blue Earth had an ace up its sleeve. And, that ace was named Alan Davids.
"Alan threw a beauty of a game," Coach Bell says. "He had a no-hitter going into the top of the seventh inning."
He gave up one hit in the seventh. His pitching performance was even more remarkable because he had pitched seven innings against Fairmont the day before. Blue Earth managed to score two runs of their own for the hard-fought win. "We basically wore down their pitchers," Coach Bell says. "They went through four of them in the game. We had just the one."
On Sunday the Blue Earth VFW was defeated by Fairmont by the same score they had lost by on Friday, 7-0.
But, the local team was advancing on in post-season play despite coming in second.
"We will have a tough time at the District," Coach Bell says. "We are the smallest team there (from the smallest town). There are teams from New Ulm, Mankato and Hutchinson."
But, the coach adds, he knows his team will be doing their best. Because they have been all season long.