FAIRMONT - Alex Bruggeman's tiebreaking RBI triple highlighted Sleepy Eye Blue's four-run top of the seventh inning to help cap a 10-9 comeback victory over Fairmont Post 1222 during VFW baseball action Thursday at Herb Wolf Field.
Sleepy Eye starting pitcher Koden Kosak earned the complete-game victory by stranding the tying run only 90 feet from home during the bottom of the seventh in Fairmont.
Trailing 10-8, Clayton Maakestad lined his second hit of the game to open Post 1222's final at-bat before pinch hitter Carter Lloyd followed with a single that the Blue left fielder bobbled to allow both runners to advance an extra 90 feet.
CONNECTING — Fairmont Post 1222 batter Tyler Tennyson prepares to connect for one of his two hits against Sleepy Eye Blue during VFW baseball action Thursday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Pinch runner Caleb Lloyd later scored on a wild pitch with one out, with Carter Lloyd wheeling to third. Kosak, however, got a shallow flyout and a groundout to preserve Sleepy Eye's one-run margin of victory.
The slugfest teetered back-and-forth in the scoring column as Blue combined first-inning singles by Sam Tessner, Nathan Schroepfer and Austin Fischer into an early 2-0 edge.
Fairmont, however, answered the challenge by erupting for four singles to generate three runs to grab the upperhand temporarily.
Jack Waletich, who produced three of Post 1222's 14 hits, lined a leadoff single, took second on Tyler Tennyson's single and scored on an ensuing Sleepy Eye throwing error.
Nathan Gillis legged out an infield hit before Tennyson scored on a throwing miscue during the play. Gillis, who later reached third on Maakestad's two-out single, crossed the plate on a wild pitch for a 3-2 edge.
Bruggeman's leadoff double, combined with Jaden Mickelson's RBI single, knotted the game at 3-all in the top of the second before Post 1222 countered with a solo run in the last half of the frame. Waletich, who had drawn a two-out walk, later put the home team ahead 4-3 on Tennyson's RBI single to left.
Hits by starter Carter Lloyd, Waletich and Gillis - combined with a wild pitch and a Blue error - manufactured two runs in Fairmont's half of the fourth to double the gap to 6-3.
Sleepy Eye countered behind Mickelson's single, Schroepfer's sacrifice fly and Dylan Klein's RBI single to trim the visitors' deficit to 6-5 during the top of the fifth.
Fairmont restored its three-run lead behind hits from Kale Fritz, Carter Lloyd and Waletich - in conjunction with a run-scoring balk, but Sleepy Eye trimmed its gap to 8-6 behind Sean Salfer's RBI single that produced a collision with Fritz at first base.
Unfortunately, Fritz was literally knocked out of the game on the play in the sixth. Blue later combined Jared Beltz's single, Bruggeman's RBI triple and Matt Mielke's run-scoring infield hit with a passed ball and a wild pitch to manufacture four runs in the seventh.
Bruggeman and Mickelson each collected two of Sleepy Eye's 11 hits, while Waletich delivered three of Fairmont's 14 hits. Tennyson, Maakestad, Fritz and starter Carter Lloyd each supplied two hits for Post 1222.
Kosak allowed nine runs - only one earned - on 14 hits, struck out six and issued one walk in seven innings of work to net the win.
Sam Schwieger allowed five runs - three earned - on four hits, walked four and fanned two in two innings of relief to take the loss for Fairmont. Maakestad gave up five runs - three earned - on seven hits, struck out six and walked one in five frames.
Fairmont (7-4) hosts Lake Crystal on Saturday in a 10 a.m. doubleheader at Herb Wolf Field, while Sleepy Eye Blue (12-5) opens the Sioux Falls Classic against Sioux Falls East at 5 p.m. today in Sioux Falls, S.D.
SE 210 021 4 - 10 11 6
FMT 310 220 1 - 9 14 2
Koden Kosak (WP) and Alex Bruggeman. Clayton Maakestad, Sam Schwieger (6, LP) and Cory Lyons.
LOB-Fairmont 6; Sleepy Eye 6. 2B-Bruggeman (SE). 3B-Bruggeman (SE). SF-Nathan Schroepfer (SE). SAC-Schwieger (F).