FAIRMONT - Fairmont American Legion Post 36 scored 10 runs, including three in the bottom of the eighth, to top Mankato Post 11, 10-4, in the second round of the Division I, 2nd District Tournament at Herb Wolf Field on Thursday.
Fairmont (7-4) plays Sleepy Eye at 7 p.m. tonight in the undefeated bracket in Fairmont.
Jon Ellis led off the game for Fairmont with a deep hit to left-center for a triple. Ellis went 5-for-5 with three doubles, two RBIs and four runs scored to pace the offense.
FIRING STRIKES — Fairmont American Legion Post 36 pitcher Bryce Holm delivers a strike during baseball action in the Division I, 2nd District Tournament on Thursday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Photo by Kjestine Steinbring
"Our team picked the right time for our bats to come alive. Jon Ellis was just tearing it up and had a great day for us," said Fairmont coach Scott Chirpich.
With Ellis on third base in the top of the first, Spencer Chirpich reached on an error. Max Waletich hit into a fielder's choice to score Ellis for the first run of the game.
Fairmont added three more in the second inning with the help of Ellis's first double. With runners on first and second, Ellis hit his double, scoring both Mitch Pfingsten and Andy Reiter - who had each singled.
Chirpich hit a bloop single to right to score Ellis to make it a 4-0 in Fairmont's favor.
Fairmont starting pitcher Bryce Holm struggled in the third inning, walking three and giving up two hits to allow Mankato to score a run.
Holm got out of a bases-loaded jam when Adam Geiger hit a sacrifice fly to score Zachary Mullins from third. Brandon Kowalski tried to advance to third on the play, but was thrown out. Holm then struck out Shane Sellner for the final out of the inning with a 4-1 lead.
"I wasn't sure how long I could go with Bryce on the mound, and after the fourth inning, he just kept coming in saying 'one more coach.' He pitched a really good game for us," said Scott Chirpich.
Geiger scored another run for Mankato in the fifth after reaching on an error. A wild pitch and a balk wheeled Geiger around third before he scored on Jack Mages' single, making it 4-2.
Fairmont added to its lead in the fifth when Waletich led off with a walk, followed by Levi Becker's single through the left side of the infield. Ryan Noll's sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third before Pfingsten walked.
Jay Ruen hit a towering shot to the left-field fence to score Waletich. Reiter hit a grounder to second, forcing Ruen, but collected the RBI when Becker scored.
Ellis led off the sixth with his second double of the game and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Waletich collected an RBI on a fielder's choice double play ball, allowing Ellis to score from third to make it 7-2.
In the eighth, Ellis hit his third double of the night and scored his fourth run on a Levi Becker sacrifice fly.
Spencer Chirpich singled just over the pitcher's head to put runners on first and second, and Waletich walked to load the bases.
Ben Gratz's two-out double down the third-base line scored Chirpich and Waletich to extend the lead to 10-2.
Mankato added two runs in the top of the ninth when Mages hit a triple to center field and scored Geiger from first.
Drew Quame hit into a fielder's choice to score Mages to make it 10-4, but Holm was able to get the final out to stop the rally.
Ruen went 3-for-4 for Fairmont with an RBI, while Chirpich went 3-for-5 with a run scored and one RBI.
Holm pitched the complete game, allowing four runs on eight hits, striking out nine and walking five to earn the win.
Mankato starter Collin Risting gave up six runs on nine hits and walked two in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss.
Kato 001 010 002 - 4 8 2
Fmt 130 021 03x - 10 16 2
Collin Risting (LP), Charles Sorenson (5), Andrew Sweere (8) and Shane Sellner. Bryce Holm (WP) and Andy Reiter.
2B-Jon Ellis (3 F), Ben Gratz (F) and Zachary Mullin (M). 3B-Jon Ellis (F) and Jack Mages (M).