By Matthew Davis
In lieu of the annual Gopher Class tournament, Totino-Grace Legion baseball headed north to Ely for a tournament July 8-9 and came a run shy of going unbeaten.
The Eagles’ lone loss came in a walk-off score by Duluth Lake July 9 in a 5-4 defeat. Jack Kroehler drove in two runs for the Eagles (22-8) on two hits, and Peyton Schuler added a RBI. Danny Clauseen threw 6.1 innings for the Eagles and struck out three batters.
Totino-Grace, sponsored by Fridley Legion Post 303, bounced back from a 3-0 hole to tie things up with a three-run fifth inning. The Eagles tied things again, 4-4, in the top of the seventh but fell in bottom half of the inning.
A pair of Totino-Grace pitchers, Kroehler and Bear Bowman, opened things strong for the Eagles in an 11-0 win over Kenyon-Wanamingo July 8. Kroehler went four innings followed by an inning with Bowman as they combined for 19 first-pitch strikes.
Ben Iannazzo, Eric Rataczak and Joseph Linders drove in two runs apiece. The Eagles jumped ahead 5-0 in the second inning and piled on another six in the fifth.
It made for a two-game shutout sweep Kenyon-Wanamingo since the Eagles routed the out-state squad 12-0 July 6 before the tourney. Iannazzo, Rataczak and Schuler each had two RBI on two hits. Chad Fox pitched two innings with seven first-pitch strikes and a strikeout. Bowman, Daniel Woessner and Sam Hill also saw time on the mound.
Totino-Grace made it three-straight shutouts July 8 with a 19-0 romp over Virginia in the team’s second game of the day. The Eagles pounded the ball with 20 hits led by Schuler’s four RBI on four hits. Linders also had four hits. Ryan Suggs drove in four runs, and Alex Bergmann had three RBI on three hits.
The Eagles soared to a 9-0 first inning and made it 13-0 after two. They tacked on another four in the fifth after a pair of one-run innings.
Fox three five innings and struck out five batters while allowing two hits. He also had 17 first-pitch strikes.
Totino-Grace had a tighter contest the next day with Cloquet July 9 in a 7-2 victory. The Eagles went ahead 2-0 after an inning, but Cloquet stuck around with runs in the third and seventh innings on 10 hits.
Linders pitched six innings and fanned five batters in addition to 25 first-pitch strikes. He also drove in two runs offensively. Claussen also had two RBI, and Rataczak had one.
Totino-Grace kept its winning ways back in the metro Monday with a 10-1 win over Tri-City Blue. Kroehler drove in three runs, and Jack Kocon and Linders each had two on three hits.
The Eagles built a 7-0 lead through two innings, and Tri-City Blue didn’t get on the board until the seventh.
Zach Jezierski threw seven strikeouts in six innings of work. Bowman also pitched an inning and had three first-pitch strikes.
The Eagles play their first home games of the month Friday and Saturday. They host Mahtomedi at 6 p.m. Friday and then Hamline Purple at 11 a.m. Saturday followed by White Bear Lake at 1:30 p.m.
Fridley beats Armstrong
Fridley Post 303 returned to action strong from the July 4 break with a 6-4 win over Westphal-Armstrong July 5.
Post 303 jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held on against Westphal-Armstrong’s rally in the seventh inning.