FAIRMONT - The Mapleton VFW Post 5338 baseball team needed the help of a pair of pinch hitters during a five-run fifth inning to rally past Blue Earth Area Post 4580, 8-4, during 2nd District, Southwest Sub-District playoff action on Thursday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.
"I was really proud of the way we came back in today's game," said Mapleton head coach Joel Moore. "There have been times this season that Blue Earth has roughed us up, where we gave up four runs and couldn't come back. So I was glad to see us make the comeback today."
Mapleton advances to face Fairmont in Day 2 of the sub-district at 5 p.m. today at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.
REACHING — Blue Earth’s Cole Hendricksen reaches first base safely as the throw evades Mapleton first baseman Sam Kain during 2nd District, Southwest Sub-District VFW baseball tournament action Thursday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Blue Earth (9-6) will face Lake Crystal in the 2 p.m. game today in Fairmont.
St. James won the other first-round game over Lake Crystal, 12-1, Thursday, and will face the winner of Mapleton and Fairmont at 11 a.m. Saturday at Herb Wolf Field.
Luke Hawkinson, who went 2-for-4, led off Mapleton's fifth-inning rally to take the 8-4 lead.
Hawkinson smacked a hit to left before Nick Shubert was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.
Sam Kein then reached on a fielding error, before Hawkinson dashed home on a wild pitch to even the game at 4-4.
Noah Greenfield took a walk to load the bases for Mapleton. Nick Steinhaus flew out to the Blue Earth second baseman for the first out of the inning, before Isaiah Lippert drove in Schubert with an RBI single to right.
With the bases still loaded, pinch hitter Ethan Caven drew a walk to allow Kain to score to make it 6-4.
Facing Blue Earth's Alan Davids in a relief effort, pinch hitter Jack Prosser smacked a single to center to score Greenfield from third to make it 7-4.
Jared Moore then drove in Mapleton's final run of the inning, hitting into a fielder's choice to allow Lippert to score from third to take the four-run lead.
"Baseball is a team game. Everyone has to do their job and we need everyone to get involved," said Joel Moore. "In that fifth inning, the pinch hitters really stepped up in situations that we needed them and they did their job to help us get back in the game. Everyone was involved today and that is something I'm proud of."
Blue Earth jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Cole Hendricksen, who started on the mound for Blue Earth, led off the scoring rally by reaching on an error. Davids then hit a grounder to the shortstop to reach first on the bobbled throw.
Michael Mack then hit into a fielder's choice as Hendricksen wheeled to third, forcing Davids at second and putting runners on the corners.
Colin Bell then drove in Hendricksen with an RBI single to left.
Logan Jahnke was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Chris Jenkins delivered an RBI single to center.
Zac Schonrock drew a four-pitch walk to allow Bell to score, before Mapleton made a pitching change.
Shubert, who pitched 3 1/3 innings for Mapleton, allowed four runs - two earned - on three hits, striking out four and walking one.
Kain came in a got Mapleton out of a bases-loaded jam to earn the win in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
Kain got Kaylan Legred to hit a grounder to second, allowing Jahnke to score from third base. Kain then got a popup to second off the bat of Adam Legred to end the scoring rally.
Kain struck out three, walked one and didn't allow a hit in his relief effort to take the win after Mapleton's comeback.
Hendricksen allowed eight runs - six earned - on six hits, striking out three and walking five in 4 1/3 innings to absorb the loss.
Davids allowed just two hits in relief.
Kaylan Legred recorded Blue Earth's other hit.
Lippert finished 2-for-4 with an RBI to help pace Mapleton in the win.
MAP 012 050 0 - 8 8 3
BE 000 400 0 - 4 3 3
Nick Shubert, Sam Kain (4, WP) and Chandler See. Cole Hendricksen (LP), Colin Bell (5) and Kaylan Legred.
LOB-Mapleton 7; Blue Earth 5. 2B-Luke Hawkinson (M).