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Sibley East rallies late, beats Jackson 5-4 at state Legion

Jackson led Sibley East 4-0 in the second inning of its Division II American Legion state tournament opener on Friday, but couldn't hold it

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LUVERNE -- Left-handed hitting Jake Schmidt pulled a two-run home run over the right-field fence with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday, drawing Sibley East to a 4-4 tie with Jackson in the first round of the Division II American Legion baseball tournament. Then in the bottom of the eighth, East scored on a short left-field sacrifice fly to win the game.

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Sibley East’s 5-4 win over Jackson was accomplished after Jackson scored four second-inning runs to take a 4-0 lead. Unfortunately for Post 130, it could not add to the lead and Sibley East chipped away late at Redbird Field in Luverne.

“They got a big hit when they needed it. After we got those four, our bats kind of went silent,” said Jackson head coach Blaise Jacobsen. “It ended up being pretty costly.”

Jackson’s tournament, however, is far from finished. The team moves into the consolation bracket Saturday morning (July 30) at 9 a.m. with a game against Chatfield, which lost its opener on Friday, 8-2, to Morris.

Jackson melded an aggressive base-running style with timely hits in its four-run second. An infield single by Ben Spaeth and a check-swing single by Gabe Wolff put runners on first and third base with no outs. Sibley East caught a break when Brenan Runge bunted and it was caught by pitcher Schmidt, who threw to first to double off Wolff. But Dylan Withers walked, then caught East flat-footed by stealing second base after jogging to first. A wild pitch scored the first run. Next, a ground ball to third base resulted in an errant throw and another run scored. Two more stolen bases, then a walk to Logan Butzon, who promptly stole second, put two runners in scoring position for Payton Handevidt, who doubled.

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Sibley East scored one run in the bottom of the third off Jackson starter Cam Scholten and added another in the sixth. Schmidt’s clutch homer gave East the momentum it needed.

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In the bottom of the eighth, Riley Drexler hit a lead-off double off Butzon, who relieved Scholten with two out in the sixth. Zach Kettner was intentionally walked, then Nate Colling bunted to put runners on second and third. The game-winner was scored when Caleb Pautsch stroked a fly ball to short left field. The ball was routinely caught and the throw home to get the runner tagging up at third was perfect and in time. But it was dropped by the catcher.

The Luverne-based tournament continues Saturday and Sunday. Other Friday night games had Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton playing Tri-Town/Atwater at 4 p.m. and Wadena playing host Luverne at 7:30. Those results were not available at presstime.

Jackson 040 000 00 -- 4-5-2

Sibley East 001 001 21 -- 5-7-2

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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