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Legion team State bound

By Staff | Aug 4, 2013

The boys of summer are headed to State.

The Winnebago American Legion Post 82/Blue Earth American Legion Post 89 baseball team earned a spot in the 2013 American Legion Baseball State Tournament.

And, they did it in dramatic fashion, defeating St. James in a close 2-1 game played on Sunday, July 28 in Milroy.

The team opened State Tournament play with a game on Friday, Aug. 2, at 9:30 a.m. in Bird Island. The game was played after press time for this week’s Faribault County Register so details will be included in the next edition.

The W/BE Legion team had to come from behind to defeat St. James in the championship game of the American Legion District 2 Tournament.

St. James scored in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.

But the local squad came back strong in the third.

Shortstop David Franta started off with a double and crossed home plate after Brandyn Olsen singled.

Olsen came across the plate to score the go-ahead run on a Luke Schavey double.

The W/BE Legion team then relied on the arm of Quinn Huisman to secure the victory.

Huisman pitched a complete game. After giving up the one run in the first inning, he then threw six shutout innings for the win.

He gave up seven hits and walked four St. James batters and did not record a single strikeout.

Franta started the game ending double play that stopped St. James’ bid for a come-back of their own.

With a man on third and one out, Franta caught a looper behind second base for one out, then fired to catcher Carter Hanson who hung onto the ball and put out the runner coming home from third.

Game over and on to State.

“That was one of the craziest, most bizarre endings to a game I’ve seen,” Coach Steve Sonnicksen said. “It was a great play by two outstanding players who really stepped up.”

The coach says Franta first made an outstanding catch then followed it up with an amazing throw to the plate.

“Carter caught the ball and would not let the runner go through him,” Sonnicksen says. “He held his ground like a football player.”

The coach says if the runner would have made it, the game would have gone to extra innings or worse, St. James could have extended their scoring.

Franta was 4 for 4 at the plate for W/BE who had nine hits in the game. Besides Olsen, Franta and Schavey, Hanson, Seth Anderson and Christian Haugh also had hits in the contest.

St. James pitcher Sam Carlson went all seven innings, giving up the two W/BE runs on nine hits, striking out five and walking one.

“We played well defensively,” Coach Sonnicksen says. “Quinn gave us good pitching, not giving them any easy bases. He walked a few, but they didn’t hurt us. St. James had a lead off double then a single in the first inning, for the early lead, but after that Quinn shut them down.”

The coach says the rest of the team came up with some timely hitting.

The W/BE team was set to go up against Morris on Friday morning.

But before the game, the team would be staying in Willmar and attending a special Legion baseball banquet on Thursday night. Former Minnesota Twin Tim Laudner is the scheduled banquet speaker.

If the local team wins on Friday, they will play again on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Sonnicksen says this is the first time in more than 10 years that the team has been in the State Tournament.