FAIRMONT - The Fairmont American Legion Post 36 baseball team cruised by Sleepy Eye Post 7, 5-3, on Thursday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.
Christian Petschke went 2-for-3, including a solo home run, to lead Fairmont's scoring efforts in the two-run victory.
After Post 7 jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Fairmont rebounded to even the game at 1-1 in the third.
CLOSE CALL — Sleepy Eye American Legion Post 7 batter Jordan Anderson (left) barely beats Fairmont Post 36 pitcher Bryce Holm’s throw to first baseman Christian Petschke (18) for a hit during baseball action Thursday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Fairmont third baseman Jordan Voss (far right) watches the action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
A three-run fourth inning gave Post 36 a 4-1 lead before Petschke's homer solidified the victory in the fifth.
With the game tied in the fourth and two outs, Rodney Engstrom slapped a hit to right before gaining second base when Ben Gratz, who went 1-for-2 with a pair of runs scored, was hit by a John Mangen delivery.
Both runners were able to then score as Fairmont leadoff batter Spencer Chirpich flipped a two-run double into the gap in right-center.
"We were able to get some timely hits with runners in scoring position tonight," said Fairmont American Legion Post 36 head coach Scott Chirpich. "That isn't always the case, but tonight we did a good job of getting runners in."
Bryce Holm followed suit, scorching a double to right to trade places with Chirpich, who finished 1-for-4 with a run scored and pair of RBIs, to give the home team the 4-1 lead.
Petschke then led off the fifth with a solo shot over the fence in right to cap Post 36's scoring.
Post 7 rallied in the sixth inning for a pair of runs to keep the game close, however, Holm finished his start to hold Sleepy Eye off.
Mangen led off with a walk before advancing to second base on Mitch Neid's bloop single.
David Surprenant grounded into a fielder's choice, advancing Mangen to third, and forcing Neid out at second to get on base.
Mangen and Surprenant advanced on a passed ball to make it 5-2, before Supernant scored on a Mike Hirsch single to left.
Holm pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on six hits, striking out three and walking two to earn the victory.
"Bryce did an excellent job coming off of a long three-week rest and pitching a complete game for us tonight when we were short-staffed," said Scott Chirpich.
The defense also did its job, backing up Holm on the mound and helping him to face the minimum three separate innings in the win.
"Defensively, we made the plays that we need to in order to win this game," said Scott Chirpich. "We didn't have many errors and got ourselves out of a jam a couple times."
Mangen pitched four innings for Post 7, giving up four runs on six hits, striking out one and walking three to absorb the loss.
Mitch Neid came in and pitched the final two innings for Sleepy Eye, giving up one run on three hits and walking one during his relief appearance.
Sleepy Eye took the lead in the second after Brady Hansen walked to start the inning.
A fielder's choice to the pitcher off the bat of Surprenant moved Hansen to second before he wheeled home on a Matt Schroepfer hit and one of Fairmont's two errors.
Fairmont American Legion Post 36 (8-4) travels to Albert Lea for a doubleheader at 6 p.m. Monday night.
SE 010 002 0 - 3 6 1
FMT 001 310 x - 5 9 2
John Mangen (LP), Mitch Neid (5) and Mike Hirsch. Bryce Holm (WP) and Ryan Noll, Andy Reiter (4).
LOB-Sleepy Eye 5, Fairmont 10. 2B-Brady Hansen (SE), Spencer Chirpich (F), Bryce Holm (F) and Andy Reiter (F). HR-Christian Petschke (F).