LEGION BASEBALL: Slayton advances in playoffsSLAYTON — Trent Carlson cracked a run-scoring base hit in all four of his at-bats Friday night, finishing with seven RBIs to spark Slayton to a 12-7 home victory over Okabena in the opening round of the Sub-District A American Legion baseball tournament.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
SLAYTON — Trent Carlson cracked a run-scoring base hit in all four of his at-bats Friday night, finishing with seven RBIs to spark Slayton to a 12-7 home victory over Okabena in the opening round of the Sub-District A American Legion baseball tournament.
Slayton advances to a winners’ bracket game against Pipestone today at Island Park in Windom. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Okabena drops to the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will play an opponent yet to be determined (Luverne or Windom) Sunday at Windom’s Island Park. First pitch of that game is set for 12 p.m.
Today’s four-game schedule at Island Park features Luverne and Windom at 11:30 a.m., Pipestone and Slayton at 2 p.m., the winners of those two games at 4:30 p.m., and Edgerton versus the loser of the Pipestone/Slayton game at 7 p.m.
Three games will follow on Sunday, and the top two teams remaining at the end of the tournament will advance to the Division II, Second District tournament, which will be held next weekend in Redwood Falls.
Windom defeated Edgerton by a score of 16-10 in Friday’s other opening-round game.
Okabena takes early 3-0 lead, Slayton counters with five first-inning runs
Okabena (4-12) started the game with a trio of runs in the top of the first inning, loading the bases with one out after Erik Jass smacked a double, and both Luke Henkels and Alex Olsem reached on errors.
Kyle Elder and Justin Jass coaxed back-to-back walks to plate Henkels and Erik Jass before Austin Droll reached on an infield single, driving in Olsem to stake Okabena — which sent all nine batters to the plate in the frame — to a quick three-run cushion.
“That was a good way to start the game for us,” Okabena manager Kirk McBreen said. “We had some good at-bats and got guys on base, but Slayton came right back and scored five runs to take the lead.”
Slayton also batted around and pushed across five runs, claiming a 5-3 advantage after just six outs had been recorded in the game. Nate Wieneke drew a lead-off walk against Okabena starter Jacob Post and proceeded to steal second base to get Slayton’s offense in motion.
Post faced just three more batters, as Austin Kluis (single), Chris Halbur (two-run double) and Carlson (RBI single) laced consecutive base hits to even the score at three runs apiece.
Alex Meyer (five innings, four strikeouts, one walk) came on in relief for Okabena and retired three of the next five batters to limit the damage, but an RBI single by Frankie Spartz and a well-executed double steal — with Spartz taking second and Austin Christensen (walk) streaking home from third — lifted Slayton to a two-run lead.
Okabena came right back with a run in the top of the second. Henkels walked, stole second and scored on Meyer’s RBI single to center field, trimming the gap to 5-4.
Slayton, though, answered with two more runs in the bottom half — keeping the offensive fireworks going and extended its lead to 7-4. Wieneke and Kluis both reached on errors to begin the frame.
After an infield pop-up for the first out, Carlson (4-for-4) hammered a two-run double to left field. Wieneke and Kluis cruised home, giving Slayton its largest lead up to that point.
Both pitchers — Meyer and Christensen (4 2/3 innings, six strikeouts, seven walks) — faced just three batters apiece in the third inning, cooling the batters for a bit.
Eight more runs score in fourth and fifth innings
But the offenses soon picked up again, starting with two more Slayton runs in the bottom of the fourth. Halbur reached on a two-out error and scored on Carlson’s RBI single to make it 8-4.
Ryan Erickson (2-for-4, single in the second) and Christensen (RBI) followed with singles, allowing courtesy runner Sam Erickson — in for Carlson, the catcher — to score and give Slayton a 9-4 bulge.
Okabena, however, wasn’t done yet. Elder walked, Justin Jass reached on an error, and Lukas DeWall walked to load the bases with one out in the fifth inning for the visiting team.
Christensen fanned the next batter for the second out, but Henkels (2-for-3, single in the fourth) blasted a three-run double into the left-field corner — clearing the bases to cut the score to 9-7.
“That was big to fight back like that,” McBreen said. “We played much better tonight than we have in some of our most recent games to finish the regular season, so it was great to see us put some runs on the board and compete with a good team like Slayton.”
Sam Erickson entered out of the bullpen and struck out the next batter to end the threat. He then worked a 1-2-3 frame in the sixth before Ryan Erickson retired all three batters he faced in the seventh, securing the win for Slayton.
Carlson gave Slayton three big insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth, answering the three-run double by Henkels with a bases-clearing, two-bagger of his own. Seth Bass (hit by pitch), Wieneke (double) and Halbur (intentional walk) reached in front of Carlson, who tagged an 0-1 pitch into the gap in left-center to increase Slayton’s lead to 12-7.
Elder pitched a scoreless sixth inning for Okabena, recording a pair of strikeouts.
“We have at least one more chance to play this year, so hopefully we can build on this and get a win on Sunday,” McBreen said.
R H E
Okabena 310 030 0 — 7 5 3
Slay. 520 230 X — 12 13 3