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Legion baseball: Luverne, Jackson advance to districts

LUVERNE — The Luverne and Jackson American Legion baaseball teams kept their seasons going Saturday at the 2nd District West Tournament.

Luverne won a pair of nailbiters to win the tournament championship while Jackson went 1-1, losing to Springfield and defeating Windom, to finish third. Windom took fourth in the tournament, but because Redwood Falls has an automatic bid to districts as the tourney host, Windom was knocked out of contention.

Luverne 5, Windom 4

Luverne scored its decisive fifth run in the bottom of the sixth inning in its semifinal game against Windom to earn a trip to the title bout with a 5-4 win.

A two-run double by Josh Slieter in the bottom of the first helped Post 123 overcome an early deficit after Windom had scored a pair in the top of the inning. Slieter eventually scored himself to put his team on top 3-2.

Windom regained the lead with a two-run third, but Luverne tied it up at 4-all in the home half. One more in the bottom of the sixth gave it a 5-4 victory and sent Windom to the third-place game.

Along with his big hit in the first, Slieter went all seven innings on the hill for Post 123. He allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out nine. Taylor Quiring was stuck with the loss for Windom.

Slieter had two RBIs and a run scored for Luverne with Skyler Wenninger contributing a double and two runs scored. Devon Nielson and Sam Huska had two hits each for Windom.


Windom 202 000 0 — 4 7 1

Luverne 301 001 x — 5 4 0

Luverne 3, Springfield 2 (8 inn.)

Tommy Vajgrt came through in the clutch for Post 123 in the title game.

In the bottom of the eighth, he ripped a bases-loaded single to score Gunnar Olson to give Luverne the sub-district championship in dramatic fashion, 3-2.

Post 123 took the lead when Slieter ripped a two-RBI hit in the bottom of the third. But Springfield got one back in the fifth and knotted it up with an unearned run in the top of the seventh to set up the thrilling finish.

Connor Crabtree gave Luverne a gutsy performance on the mound. He went all eight innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out two. Slieter, Vajgrt and Wenninger had two hits each for Luverne.

Post 123 coach Barry Shelton said his team will likely open the district tournament at 10 a.m. Friday in Redwood Falls.


Springfield 000 010 10 — 2 5 1

Luverne 002 000 01 — 3 8 3

Springfield 4, Jackson 0

Jackson had a pair of golden opportunities to score in its semifinal game against Springfield, but came up empty each time.

Post 130 loaded the bases with nobody out in both the second and sixth innings. Springfield got two strikeouts and a flyout to get out of the unscathed both times.

Three early runs for Springfield gave it the cushion it needed as Jackson fell to the third-place game with a 4-0 loss.

The loss came despite a solid pitching performance from Jackson’s Scott Christopher. He allowed just two earned runs on six hits while striking out three over seven innings of work.

Chris Gumto, Ryan Christopher and Mitchell Macek all went 2-for-3 to lead Post 130’s offense.


Jack. 000 000 0 — 0 7 2

Spring. 301 000 x — 4 6 1

Jackson 8, Windom 3

Jackson put up three runs in the first and never looked back in an elimination game against Windom with third place on the line.

Andrew Hesse, Easton Bahr and Jared Bakalyar all scored in the first inning and Post 130 went on to take an 8-3 victory to keep their season alive.

An unearned run in the bottom of the second pushed the lead to 4-0 before Windom finally got some offense going in the top of the third. That happened when Jack Mellstrom drove in a run with a sacrific fly.

One more for Windom in the fourth made it a 4-2 ballgame, but Jackson came back with four in the bottom of the fifth to put it out of reach.

Ryan Christopher picked up the win for Post 130 when he went six innings in the start. He allowed two earned runs on two hits and struck out one. Nick Arp pitched the seventh.

Bakaylar had a solid game at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Gumto was 2-for-4 with a run with Hesse finishing 1-for-3 with two runs and a double.

Jackson will begin district play at 1 p.m. Friday in Redwood Falls.


Win. 001 100 1 — 3 8 3

Jack. 310 040 x — 8 10 1

Zach Hacker

Zach is the Daily Globe sports reporter. He has previously been a sports editor at both the Waseca County News in Waseca, Minn., and The Emporia Gazette in Emporia, Kansas. He is originally from New Richland, Minn., and now lives in Worthington with his dog; a beagle-corgi mix named Homer. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, pontooning on St. Olaf Lake and watching professional and collegiate sports.

(507) 376-7335