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Legion baseball: Luverne overcomes 4-0 deficit to win title game


LUVERNE — Finding themselves down 4-0 midway through their Luverne/Pipestone American Legion Baseball Tournament championship game Sunday, Luverne’s players didn’t panic.

“They were calm. “I was shocked,” said head coach Barry Shelton.

Maybe he shouldn’t have been. Many of the same players that helped Luverne run roughshod over most area teams during the last couple of high school baseball seasons are part of the 2014 Legion team. They’re used to winning.

So in the bottom of the fourth inning the Legionnaires scored three runs to cut the Wahpeton, N.D., lead to 4-3. They scored four more times in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead. They finally won, 8-4.

“We were relaxed. That always helps when you’re playing relaxed baseball. Things finally clicked in the fourth inning, and we went to work after that,” Shelton said.

Luverne won the tournament championship despite never having more than 10 players to use in their two Sunday games. The team defeated BOLD 3-1 earlier on Sunday to get to the title game.

In the other semifinal contest, Wahpeton beat St. James 2-1 in 10 innings.

In Saturday games at Luverne, Excelsior II topped West Central, S.D., 9-1 while Lewiston beat Groton, S.D., 5-4, Luverne took care of Waterloo Valley, Neb., 2-0, BOLD shut out Tracy 10-0, Lewiston beat Waterloo Valley 2-1, Excelsior II routed Tracy 17-1, BOLD edged West Central 2-0 and Groton topped Luverne 2-0.

In Saturday games at Pipestone, Wahpeton clipped Worthington 15-5, St. James beat Pipestone 7-4, Worthington outscored New Ulm Blue 19-14, Wahpeton beat Garretson 11-1 and St. James dumped Lincoln, Neb., 6-2.

Luverne advanced to 9-2 for the summer with its title win over Wahpeton. Gunnar Olson led Luverne at the plate with two hits, two runs and two RBIs, with his big clout coming in the fifth when he slammed a two-run home run. Teammates Logan Norman and Josh Slieter also had two hits. Zane Hiller drove in a pair of runs and Skyler Wenninger scored twice.

Wenninger was the winning pitcher, going the full seven innings while scattering 10 hits, walking one and striking out five.

Luverne will try to get its tenth victory on Tuesday when it travels to play Worthington.

Worthington finished third in its pool after its Saturday loss to Wahpeton and its victory over New Ulm Blue. The game against Wahpeton was tied 5-5 going into the fifth inning, but that’s where Wahpeton put 10 runs up against Post 5 to end the game in five innings.

Roque Soto started and pitched three and two-thirds innings for Worthington. Ryan Lee finished up.

Lee singled three times at the plate and Joe Pavelko doubled.

In the second game Jordan Bertrand was the winning pitcher. He went five and one-third innings.

New Ulm Blue pitchers hurt themselves by combining for 16 walks or hit batters.

Lee continued his hot bat, singling twice. Blake Fauskee had three singles of his own.

“We had a rough weekend pitching. We were short-handed,” Worthington coach Jeff Nelson commented about Post 5’s tournament. “We battled, though. We were in that Wahpeton game until the fifth inning. We knew they had a strong hitting team.”

Championship game


Wah 012 100 0 — 4 10 0

Luv 000 341 x — 8 10 3