"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Morris Legion wins 3-2, makes state!

Bring on state! Those are the words putting smiles on the faces of Morris American Legion baseball fans.
The lofty level of state is set for next weekend in Bird Island. BOLD is the host team. BOLD is the opponent for Motown in today's (7/27) District 7 championship game in Montevideo.
Morris assured itself of a state berth with its Friday success vs. Madison. Morris last played in state in 2001. Madison wasn't going to go down easily. Yes, Morris beat Madison 7-0 a few days previous. But Madison has credentials that demand respect, such as a spring high school record that included 18 wins.
High school and Legion teams have strong connections. Madison, part of the Lac qui Parle Valley combo in preps, took second in the 2012 Class A state tournament.
Post #29 of Morris beat Madison 3-2 on Friday. The score stood 2-2 going into the seventh. What made the difference in the end was a walk.
A "walk-off" walk? Not really, although that's a cute term. The final winning run was pushed home in the bottom of the seventh on a walk issued to Mac Beyer.
Fans watched on edge of seats as Morris methodically and patiently mounted that last rally. It was a walk that started the rally too. Logan Manska tossed his bat aside and trotted down to first base.
Was Madison pitcher Ben Morken showing signs of fatigue? Morken pitched the whole way and found the strike zone elusive at the end.
Jacob Torgerson sacrificed Manska to second. Tanner Picht came up to bat and worked Morken for a walk. Tyler Henrichs followed with a bloop single inside the left field line. The sacks are now full for Beyer, a dangerous hitter.
Can Morris end this one and prevent extra innings? It's likely Torgerson was hoping for this more than anyone, because he like Morken had pitched the whole way. Everyone associated with Morris wanted this one done.
Morken was delivering pitches low. A patient Beyer was awarded the walk and this brought Manska in to score the game-winner.
Morken's control lapses were the exception to the rule for him on this day. He gave up just one earned run among the three total in his route-going effort. He struck out four batters.
Torgerson too was solid with his work on the mound, as he set down four batters on strikes and walked none while overcoming eight hits. Morris played errorless ball in contrast to Madison's four errors. Madison outhit Morris 8-6.
The six Morris hits were by six different players: Torgerson, Picht, Henrichs, Beyer, Bryce Jergenson and Lincoln Berget. Beyer's hit was a double and he drove in a run.
Morris gained a 2-0 lead in the first, helped by two Madison errors, and had to wait until the seventh to score again.
Madison made the game interesting with a two-run sixth. Those two runs were driven in by Nick Burkleo and Jalen Baldwin. Madison threatened to strike again in the top of the seventh. They got runners at second and third, but Torgerson bore down to fan a batter for out No. 3.
Fans were pleased to see Torgerson's arm so resilient, because he had logged four innings in the previous day's game (the 6-5 loss to BOLD).
Making state helps erase some of the disappointment of the spring prep season, a season with a healthy harvest of 17 wins but no state tournament. The Tigers in fact won four post-season games. But state remained elusive.
The previous season had a similar pattern of regular season excelling (15 straight wins in fact) but no climactic state experience. The squad seemed a bit snakebit.
The Post #29 athletes are striving to seize the moment now! It's "destination Bird Island" for the coming exciting weekend.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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