Fairmont VFW downs St. James

ST. JAMES – The Fairmont VFW Post 1222 baseball team did everything – got hits, stole bases and scored runs – and came out with a 7-1 win over St. James Post 1912 in the second round of the 2nd District, Southwest Sub-District playoffs Tuesday in St. James.

Fairmont (14-3) plays New Ulm Silver at 3 p.m. today back in St. James in the semifinals. New Ulm Silver beat Blue Earth Area, 12-2, on Tuesday to advance.

“We’ve played them twice and the last time, it was really close. So, it’s going to be a hard game and it’s going to probably be pretty hot,” said Post 1222 head coach Todd Sukalski. “We’re just going to play as well as we can and not let the heat get to us.”

Nate Kallenbach led off the first inning with a walk and stole two bases to get in scoring position for Post 1222. He added the last base when Lance Becker nailed a double to right field for the 1-0 early lead.

In the fourth inning, Jacob Tennyson hit a single past second baseman Sam Kulseth to reach before moving over on Daniel Reiter’s sacrifice bunt.

Tennyson swiped a base just before Post 1912 starting pitcher Jacob Brey walked Nick Segar. Tennyson scored on the ball-four wild pitch, which diverted the attention from Segar, who stole a base.

Jack Hested singled and stole second before Brey walked Isaac Donnelly to load the bases. Kallenbach walked to score Segar.

Kallenbach then got out on a fielder’s choice, but not before pinch runner Colby Kuhl and Hested made it home for the 5-0 advantage.

“I thought our base running was really good,” Sukalski said. “We didn’t hit the ball real hard tonight, but we put the ball in play enough to where they had to field the ball, and we forced the action with our base running. We put enough pressure on them – and they had a few errors there – to get enough guys in.”

Post 1912 avoided the shutout, however, in the sixth inning Sawyer Carr got a leadoff single and reached home on a Post 1222 error. But Fairmont got the last two outs via fielder’s choice to conclude the inning.

“We didn’t make every play. It seemed like if we had a missed play, we made up for it right away with … someone making an outstanding play to cover up for it,” Sukalski said. “That’s what you need to do; you need to bounce back when bad things happen.”

Post 1222 put up two more scores in the seventh to further seal the deal. Brady Allen took advantage of a dropped fly ball to wheel his way to second base. He then scored on Camren Saxton’s groundout.

Tennyson notched his second hit of the game, finishing 2-for-4, and contributed his second score to provide Nick Segar with a two-out RBI base hit.

In the bottom of the seventh, Garrett Larson singled but was tagged out on a fielder’s choice. Becker ended the game by striking out Kulseth to record the six-run win. He gave up one run on seven hits, struck out four and hit one batter.

“Lance pitched really well. He threw strikes, which is exactly what we asked him to do, and we made enough good plays behind him,” Sukalski said. “Overall, I thought it was a pretty well-played game by us.”

Becker went 2-for-4 with a double and collected an RBI. Segar scored a run and recorded an RBI on 2-for-4 hitting.

FMT 100 400 2-7 8 3

STJ 000 001 0-1 7 1

Lance Becker (WP) and Daniel Reiter. Jacob Brey (LP), Sam Kulseth (5) and Daniel Zavala.

LOB-Fairmont 7, St. James 6. 2B-Lance Becker (F). SAC-Daniel Reiter (F).

New Ulm Silver 12, Blue Earth 2 – Silver scored a total of 10 runs in the third and fourth innings to beat Blue Earth via 10-run rule in five innings.

Blue Earth ends the season with a 3-15 record.

New Ulm scored a run in the first inning, then added the last score of the game in the bottom of the fifth on a wild pitch.

Caelan Sanders scored in the first and fifth innings for Blue Earth. Joe Schavey, Colby Peterson, Hunter Bleess and Trevor Oppedal had a hit apiece.

Jared Kennedy absorbed the loss, giving up six runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings on the mound. Carter Bell pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed five runs on three hits. Ethan Spear gave up a run on a hit in 2/3 of an inning pitched.