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Mankato American ends Fairmont Post 36’s baseball season

TURNING TWO — Fairmont American Legion Post 36 catcher Joseph Hackett (left) fires the baseball to first base to complete a double play after forcing out Mankato American runner Brayden Borgmeier at home during a Division 1, Sub-State 2 elimination-bracket game Wednesday afternoon at Wolverton Field on the Mankato East High School campus. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

MANKATO — Starting pitcher Logan Swalve and reliever Riston Wojcik combined on the mound to toss a three-hit shutout to engineer No. 5-seeded Mankato American’s 7-0 elimination-bracket baseball victory over Fairmont American Legion Post 36 on Wednesday at Wolverton Field.

Mankato American then eliminated No. 2-seeded Jordan via a 6-2 decision later Wednesday afternoon back at Wolverton Field to remain alive in the double-elimination Division 1, Sub-State 2 tournament. American faces the loser between Mankato National and Worthington at 4 p.m. today at the Mankato East High School-based diamond.

Fairmont Post 36 ended its limited legion season with an 0-8 overall record.

Swalve allowed only Nolan Anderson’s second-inning single in three scoreless innings of work to net the pitching victory for Mankato American. The right-hander recorded one strikeout and issued one walk before giving way to Wojcik to open the fourth frame.

Wojcik gave up fourth-inning singles to Fairmont’s Nate Soelter and Brendan Schmidtke during his four shutout innings of relief. Wojcik demonstrated stellar command of his pitches by notching three strikeouts without issuing a walk for Mankato.

Cael Willaert, who topped all batters with a 3-for-4 performance in Wednesday’s postseason diamond clash, singled off of Fairmont starting pitcher Nate Soelter in the top of the second inning before being replaced on the base paths via Kyle Bridger’s fielder’s choice groundout.

Bridger reached third base as Soelter issued back-to-back walks to Brayden Borgmeier and Easton Stangl before scoring the sub-state game’s initial run on the first of Fairmont’s game-leading six errors.

Post 36 third baseman Jack Kosbab helped Soelter prevent further damage by gloving a hard-hit grounder off Nicholas Werk’s bat and throwing to catcher Joseph Hackett, who fired to first base after getting the forceout at home for an inning-ending double play.

Mankato combined singles by Matthew Werk and Willaert with two walks, one hit batter, one Fairmont error and two wild pitches to manufacture four runs in the top of the third to build a 5-0 lead.

Willaert collected one RBI with his single to left field, while Borgmeier converted a hit-by-pitch at-bat into a bases-loaded RBI for Mankato.

Wojcik drilled an RBI double into the left-field corner to account for Mankato’s solo run in the top of the fourth, while Willaert crossed the plate for the second time on the game in the sixth inning when Bridger’s grounder was misplayed at first base.

After Schmidtke’s single to center field during Fairmont’s fourth at-bat, Wojcik retired 10 consecutive Post 36 batters to preserve Mankato’s shutout pitching performance.

MA 014 101 0 — 7 6 2

FM 000 000 0 — 0 3 6

Logan Swalve (WP), Riston Wojcik (4) and Cael Willaert. Nate Soelter (LP), Ben Moeller (3), Landen Meyerdirk (5), Brendan Schmidtke (6), Eli Anderson (7) and Joseph Hackett, Eli Anderson (5), Jack Kosbab (7).

LOB–Mankato American 11, Fairmont 3. 2B–Riston Wojcik (Mankato).

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