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Faribault legion baseball ends Fairmont’s season at sub-state

SIDE-STEPPING — Fairmont American Legion Post 36 second baseman Preston Vaughn (right) side-steps Faribault Post 43 runner Henry Schoolmeesters after forcing him out at second base during an elimination game in the Division I, Sub-State 2 baseball tournament Thursday in Essig. (Photo by Kyle McAreavy)

ESSIG — One big inning sank Post 36.

Faribault American Legion Post 43 beat Fairmont, 6-4, during elimination-bracket action in the Division I, Sub-State 2 baseball tournament Thursday in Essig.

With the win, Faribault moved on to play Mankato National, which lost the first game of the day against Worthington to move into the elimination bracket.

Fairmont ends its season with a record of 6-4.

“It wasn’t a very long season, but when we showed up we tried to make it count,” Fairmont head coach Levi Becker said. “That was our goal, to try to get better in certain areas and to let guys play some different positions so they can find a new role in school ball next year and I think we did that.”

Faribault took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, then extended its advantage in the fifth.

Aidan Tobin led off the frame with a double into the right-center field gap, then Zander Fitzsimmons advanced Tobin to third with a sacrifice bunt.

Carter McQuery then drilled a ground ball down the third base line for an RBI before Fairmont got the second out of the inning with a ground ball.

With two outs, Zack Slinger doubled to the wall in left-center field for an RBI, then Jax Bokman hit a hard single back up the middle to bring in Post 43’s third run of the inning.

Bokman moved to second on an error, then took third on a Henry Schoolmeesters single before scoring on a passed ball to put Faribault ahead 5-1.

Faribault added another run in the seventh when Slinger was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a Schoolmeesters single into short left field.

“We talked about it last night, we needed to come out and get on them early,” Becker said. “We struggled through the first six innings before we could get the offense going and that killed us today.”

Fairmont tied the matchup in the third, then attempted to make a comeback in the late innings.

Down 1-0, Landen Meyerdirk was hit by a pitch, then moved to second on a Cooper Steuber bunt single down the third base line, Fairmont’s first hit of the game.

Meyerdirk took third when Eli Anderson hit into a fielder’s choice, then scored on a Jack Kosbab single hard off the Faribault pitcher’s glove.

Fairmont added another run in the bottom of the sixth.

Entering the inning, Faribault led 5-1, then Kosbab doubled to left-center before Levi Pooley lined a top-spinning ball toward the hole between short and third for a single, but Kosbab had to hold on a line drive and only advanced to third.

Pooley moved to second without a throw, then Nate Soelter hit into an error, allowing a run to score and leaving runners on first and third.

With one out, Preston Vaughn walked to load the bases, but an unfortunate lineout double play ended the frame without Post 36 getting a second run.

The rally continued in the seventh.

Meyerdirk reached base on an error to lead off, taking second on the errant throw before moving to third on a groundout. Meyerdirk scored on a wild pitch, then Anderson walked and advanced to third on Pooley’s single on a perfectly-executed hit-and-run.

Soelter singled to bring Anderson home, but a groundout ended the game.

Anderson started on the mound for Fairmont, pitching five innings and allowing five runs on eight hits and two hit batters, while striking out two.

Soelter pitched the sixth for Fairmont, allowing one hit and striking out two, then Meyerdirk pitched the seventh and allowed a run on a hit, a walk and a hit batter, while setting down one Faribault batter on strikes.

Schoolmeesters neared a complete game for Faribault, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on four hits, three walks and two hit batters, while striking out three. Cade Mccusker garned the final two outs for Faribault in four batters, while allowing two hits.

FBO 100 040 1 — 6 10 2

FMT 001 001 2 — 4 6 2

Henry Schoolmeesters (WP), Cade Mccusker (7, Sv) and Jordan Nawrocki. Eli Anderson (LP), Nate Soelter (6), Landen Meyerdirk (7) and Levi Pooley.

LOB–Faribault 10, Fairmont 7. 2B–Aidan Tobin (FBO), Zack Slinger (FBO), Jack Kosbab (FMT). SAC–Zander Fitzsimmons (FBO), Cooper Steuber (FMT).

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