Legion baseball: St. James routs Luverne
REDWOOD FALLS — The storm came early, and before the Luverne American Legion baseball players knew what was hitting them, they were gone Friday from the Division II, District II tournament.
St. James demolished Luverne 18-8 in seven innings in the semifinals of the district tilt, then defeated Blue Earth 7-3 later Friday. The twin killings assured St. James a game against Blue Earth today (1 p.m.) for the district championship.
Luverne will play again despite Friday’s setback. Coach Barry Shelton’s team has an automatic berth in the state tournament (which begins Friday) because Luverne is hosting the event.
In Redwood Falls, St. James scored seven first inning runs on Luverne, then added four in the second and took an 11-2 lead into the third inning, coasting the rest of the way.
An outfield error hurt Luverne in the first frame. Four of St. James’ first-inning runs were unearned.
Jake Zeimer started and was the winning pitcher for St. James. Connor Hoffman, the first of four Luverne pitchers, took the loss.
Logan Norman had three hits for Luverne, as teammates Skyler Wenninger, Josh Slieter and Andrew Verhey each had two. Norman, Slieter and Gunner Olson hit doubles.
Shelton said he will start Slieter on the mound in the state tourney opener. “I think he can beat any other pitcher in the state,” he said.
Asked if he’ll need to give the team a good pep talk before Friday’s first game, Shelton responded, “I hope what I said after (today’s) game was enough.”
R H E
St.James 742 020 3 — 18 18 2
Luverne 113 300 0 — 8 12 2