Minneota concludes Summer Legion season
The Minneota Senior and Junior Legion teams concluded their respective seasons this past weekend, but each were able to showcase several key players that will be returning to the high school and summer teams next season.
There is still a possibility for a Fall Summer Baseball League with details currently being ironed out.
In the Senior Legion playoffs, Minneota defeated Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 5-1 in the first round on Thursday in Minneota, before falling to Luverne 12-2 in Adrian on Friday.
"We were really happy with how are pitchers progressed in this short COVID season," said J.D. Pesch, who coaches both the high school and Legion teams with Keven Larson. "It was a concern of ours when the spring high school season was cancelled and then it looked like no ball for the summer either.
"It's really important for pitchers to improve through playing games and missing a whole year would have been bad for these guys. We had opportunities to have Ben Skorczewski, Jacob Hennen, AJ Myhre, Carter Schuelke, Braeden Panka, and Thor Fischer all pitch a few games this summer. Those are six of nine upcoming seniors who needed and got an opportunity to get better this summer."
Minneota boasted a strong and young lineup this season with nine seniors and five juniors returning.
"We get comments often about how there is not a weak spot in the line up and these guys are all tough outs," Pesch remarked. "They put the ball in play. We averaged just three strikeouts per game on offense."
The Junior Legion lost twice in the playoffs, falling to Luverne and Marshall.
"We would like to thank all the baseball fans, families and alumni for the support this summer for this COVID season," said Pesch. "The baseball community pulled it off with the help of many people and donations to cover our expenses, insurance and uniforms. Thank you to everyone who helped or donated."
(Thursday, Aug. 6)
Minneota 5, RTR 1
Carter Schuelke and Jacob Hennen combined on a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts as Minneots defeated Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 5-1 in the opening round of the playoffs.
Minneota had six hits, including two by cleanup hitter A.J. Myhre. Hennen, Josh Schuelke, Carter Schuelke and Thor Fischer each had a hit.
"A.J. Myhre has been hitting well lately for us in the cleanup position," said Pesch. "And Josh Schuelke hit well in the number two spot in the lineup. He is a great contact hitter and bunts for hits or sacrifices."
Carter Schuelke hurled the first 32/3 innings for the win. He allowed three hits and one run, while walking five and striking out six. Hennen gave up only one hit over the final 31/3 innings. He walked three and fanned four.
Minneota hitting: Josh Schuelke 1-for-3, Jacob Hennen 1-for-3, A.J. Myhre 2-for-3, Carter Schuelke 1-for-3, Thor Fischer 1-for-2
Minneota pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Carter Schuelke (W) 3 2/3-3-1-1-5-6, Jacob Hennen (S) 31/3-1-0-0-3-4
(Friday, Aug. 7)
Luverne 12, Minneota 2
Luverne's large numbers and experience outmatched the smaller Minneota team, which managed only two hits.
"We like playing the bigger towns in baseball as the competition is always solid and the games are usually competitive," said Pesch. "And we learn a lot playing better teams. But this one got away from us."
Josh Schuelke and Grady Moorse had two Minneota hits.
Ben Skorczewski started on the mound and pitched the first three innings. Grady Moorse finished up, allowing four hits and two unearned runs over the final three innings.
-------------------- JUNIOR LEGION ---------------------
(Friday, Aug. 7)
Luverne 10, Minneota 0
Isaac Pohlen had the lone hit for Minneota. Ryan Dalager took the loss.
"Luverne had superior pitching and we could not collect more than one hit," said Pesch. "Ryan, an eighth-grader, pitched very well but the defense committed six errors behind him."
Only three of the nine runs scored off Dalager were earned. Jayden Gamrak pitched the final two innings, allowing no hits and one run. He walked two and struck out six.
Minneota hitting: Isaac Pohlen 1-for-3
Minneota pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Ryan Dalager (L) 2-4-9-3-7-3, Jayden Gamrak 2-0-1-1-2-6
(Friday, Aug. 7)
Marshall 13, Minneota 6
Marshall ousted Minneota from the tournament, breaking open a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning.
"Again, defensive errors and baserunning errors were the difference in the end," said Pesch.
Minneota hit the ball well as evidenced by its 12 hits. Jackson Esping, Isaac Pohlen, Jonah Gruenes and Jack Lacek had two hits apiece.
Peyton Gillund absorbed the loss as he was victim to several defensive lapses behind him. He pitched the first four innings. Gamrak came on and pitched the next 21/3 innings and Pohlen recorded the final two outs.
The Junior Legion team finished with a 3-7 record in a league with mostly bigger towns that play in Class AA in high school.
Minneota hitting: Jackson Esping 2-for-4, Isaac Pohlen 2-for-4, Jonah Gruenes 2-for-4, Jayden Gamrak 1-for-2, Tyler Gronke 1-for-2, Cole Myhre 1-for-1, Ryan Dalager 1-for-2, Jack Lacek 2-for-2
Minneota pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Peyton Gillund (L) 4-9-9-5-2-4, Jayden Gamrak 21/3-2-4-2-3-2, Isaac Pohlen 2/3-2-0-0-0-0