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O’Hara, pitching power Winnebago/Blue Earth legion baseball to sub-district championship

SOLO SHOT — Winnebago Post 82/Blue Earth Post 89 clean-up batter Logan O’Hara (24) receives congratulations from Keegan O’Brien (1), Anthony Carr (35), Kean Hicks (22) and Luke Mertens after O’Hara drilled a solo home run to lead off the top of the third inning during Sunday’s District 2, Sub-District ‘C’ American Legion baseball tournament’s championship game against United South Central at Veterans Memorial Field in Blue Earth. (Photo by Greg Abel)

BLUE EARTH — Winnebago Post 82/Blue Earth Post 89 cleanup batter Logan O’Hara experienced “heroic” deja vu during the weekend’s District 2, Sub-District ‘C’ American Legion baseball tournament’s final pair of games.

O’Hara lined a walk-off, two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap Winnebago/Blue Earth’s 11-1, run-rule triumph over United South Central (Wells) in Sunday’s sub-district championship clash.

Ironically, O’Hara crushed a pitch over Veterans Memorial Field’s left-field fence for a walk-off, two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to clinch WBE’s first 11-1 run-rule win over USC during Saturday’s sub-district semifinal.

WBE (13-1) and USC both advance to the District 2 tournament that runs Thursday through Saturday in Wabasso, with the pairings and times to be determined today.

“I don’t think we could’ve played a better sub-district tournament than we did,” said WBE coach Paul Nienaber, whose team opened the district qualifier with a 6-0 victory over Welcome/Sherburn on Friday. “Logan always seemed up to bat in every key spot, and of course, he came through with clutch hits to win our last two games.

“Now we need to make sure Logan doesn’t get out of the ‘zone’ he’s in now,” Nienaber joked.

O’Hara blistered opposing pitchers’ deliveries at an unbelievable .909 clip (10 of 11), including three HRs — one in each game, and five doubles en route to 11 RBIs during the three-game span. For good measure, he also pitched a three-hit complete-game shutout at Welcome/Sherburn in Friday’s opener.

“How incredible was our pitching?” said Nienaber. “We received consecutive complete-game performances from Logan on Friday, Jimmy Allis on Saturday and Anthony Carr today (Sunday).”

Carr scattered three hits and allowed one unearned run, struck out four and issued three walks in six innings to earn the complete-game win in Sunday’s finale.

Holding a 6-1 lead, Carr retired the last six USC batters he faced in the top of the fifth and sixth before WBE erupted for five runs in the home half of the sixth to exit the ballpark early.

Luke Mertens drew a leadoff walk to set the table for WBE’s offensive avalanche in the sixth before Allis lined his second single of the championship game. Luke Schonborn got plunked to load the bases before Nick Barke drove home Mertens and Allis with a two-run single to left. Barke went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the finale.

Adam Schavey then drilled his second hit of the finals to plate Schonborn for a 9-1 WBE margin. After a strikeout, O’Hara stepped to the batter’s box and smacked the game-winning two-run single to center for the 11-1 decision.

O’Hara also doubled off the left-field fence to drive in WBE’s initial run in the first inning before he cranked a towering solo HR in the third for half of his game-best four RBIs.

Mertens doubled, Allis singled and Barke singled home a run before teammate Kean Hicks’ RBI groundout highlighted WBE’s three-run second at-bat. Ryan Madetzke singled on the heels of O’Hara’s HR in the third before courtesy runner Ty Peterson eventually crossed the plate on Allis’ sacrifice fly.

In Saturday’s semifinal, Allis fired a one-hit complete-game gem on the strength of eight strikeouts in six innings on the mound.

Ironically similar to Carr’s pitching performance, Allis allowed one unearned run, and like his eventual successor on the hill, retired the final six USC hitters he faced in the top of the fifth and sixth frames in the semifinal as WBE carried a 6-1 margin into the home half of the sixth.

Allis assisted his own cause by belting a leadoff double to trigger WBE’s five-run offensive outburst to put the game in the win column. Courtesy runner Abram Kokos wheeled to second base on Schonborn’s single before both runners moved into scoring position on Carr’s perfect sacrifice bunt.

Schavey produced an RBI infield hit to the hole at short to plate Kokos, but WBE’s leadoff batter was called out on a stolen base attempt at second base for the second out.

Hicks and O’Brien, however, muscled up to extend the at-bat by hammering RBI doubles to widen WBE’s gap to 9-1.

O’Hara stepped to the plate and cranked a towering two-run HR over the left-field fence to bring home O’Brien and himself to post a 10-run margin of victory.

Once again, O’Hara accounted for two of WBE’s three first-inning runs via a two-run double before smacking his second two-bagger off the left-field fence on the heels of a walk to O’Brien in the fifth. Both O’Brien and O’Hara scored on Madetzke’s two-run single to left.

O’Hara also singled, took second on Madetzke’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Mertens’ RBI single to left to account for WBE’s solo run in the fourth.

(Championship — Sunday)

USC 000 010 — 1 3 3

WBE 132 005 — 11 11 1

Winning run scored with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Zale Bushlack (LP), Colten Quade (6) and Nick Bushlack. Anthony Carr (WP) and Ryan Madetzke.

LOB–United South Central, Wells 6; Winnebago/Blue Earth 2. 2B–Logan O’Hara (WBE), Luke Mertens (WBE). HR–Logan O’Hara (WBE). SF–Jimmy Allis (WBE).

(Semifinal — Saturday)

USC 000 010 — 1 1 1

WBE 300 125 — 11 11 2

Winning run scored with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Ian Crawford (LP) and Konner Harpestad. Jimmy Allis (WP) and Ryan Madetzke.

LOB–USC 5; WBE 3. 2B–Logan O’Hara (WBE) 2, Kean Hicks (WBE), Keegan O’Brien (WBE), Jimmy Allis (WBE). HR–Logan O’Hara (WBE). SAC–Ryan Madetzke (WBE), Anthony Carr (WBE).

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