TRUMAN - Blue Earth American Legion Post 89 leadoff hitter David Franta and right-handed pitcher Andrew Bell finished what they each started during Friday's opening Division II, 2nd District baseball tournament.
Franta collected two hits and scored Post 89's first and final runs, while Bell hurled a five-hit complete-game gem to propel Blue Earth to a 3-1 victory over Springfield Post 257 in Truman.
Blue Earth (13-8) advances to face Luverne - a 10-1 winner over Mountain Lake - at 4 p.m. today back in Truman. Springfield plays Mountain Lake at 11 a.m. today in an elimination game.
DIVING TAG — Blue Earth American Legion Post 89 second baseman Dallas Barslou (right) makes a diving tag on Springfield runner Zac Mickelson before Mickelson can reach the bag during first-round baseball action in the Division II, 2nd District Tournament on Friday in Truman. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
"I think Andrew threw one of his best games of the summer," said Post 89 coach Steve Sonnicksen. "He did a nice job of getting ahead in the count and that was the key."
Bell worked around a two-out walk to No. 3 batter Alex Fink during the top of the first inning before Franta & Co. supplied all the run support that the Blue Earth right-hander would need.
Franta, who went 2-for-3, smacked a leadoff single to left before scampering to second base when the Springfield outfielder let the baseball skip away from him.
Carter Hanson then hammered a double off the center-field fence to plate the fleet-footed Franta for a quick 1-0 edge. Hanson circled the bases one out later on Seth Anderson's clutch RBI single to stake Bell to a 2-0 lead.
Springfield actually generated three of its five hits during the third, but managed to only plate a solo run. Cole Milbrath blooped a leadoff single inside the right-field line before Cooper Scheffler bunted Milbrath to second base.
Shawn Anderson singled sharply to left field to put runners on the corners for Post 257 before Fink grounded into an RBI fielder's choice to plate Milbrath to slice the gap to 2-1.
Blue Earth then turned in a couple of defensive gems during the fourth and fifth frames to keep Springfield's offense off of the scoreboard.
Post 89 catcher Carter Hanson threw out Zac Mickelson trying to swipe second base after Mickelson was hit by a Bell offering during the fourth.
Left fielder Matt Rockers then made a running catch to thwart Springfield's bases-loaded threat during the fifth. Post 257 filled the bags when Scheffler singled, Fink walked and Matt Vogel was plunked by a Bell offering.
Ahead 2-1, Franta produced a key insurance run during the bottom of the fifth. Franta blasted an Isaac Kirschstein offering to deep right for a leadoff triple before trotting home on Dallas Barslou's sacrifice fly to center.
Bell then retired the final six batters he faced in the game to preserve his complete-game victory.
Bell gave up one earned run on five hits, recorded three strikeouts, issued two walks and hit two batters in seven innings of work.
Kirschstein allowed three earned runs on five hits, fanned five, walked three and hit one batter in six innings of work to receive the loss.
Rockers added a single for Blue Earth, while Jacob Menage tallied Springfield's other hit.
S'field 001 000 0 - 1 5 1
BE 200 010 x - 3 5 1
Isaac Kirschstein (LP) and Jacob Menage. Andrew Bell (WP) and Carter Hanson.
LOB-Blue Earth 6; Springfield 7. 2B-Hanson (BE). 3B-David Franta (BE). SF-Dallas Barslou (BE). SAC-Bell (BE), Christian Haugh (BE), Cooper Scheffler (S), Shawn Anderson (S).