St. Paul, MN - The Moorhead Blues prevailed in riveting 12-inning affair with the Mankato Nationals to live another day in the Minnesota American Legion State Tournament at CHS Field in St. Paul, MN. Their persistence resulted in a 5-3 win that was a well played game peppered with plenty of quality pitching and defense to go along with timely and well executed situational hitting.
Even though Mankato National and Moorhead both had their opportunities it was Moorhead, who boasts 8 college players in its lineup that outlasted a Mankato team that dressed 7 committed college players themselves. With the game tied at three and the Blues hitting in the top half of the twelfth inning Brett Erickson singled off reliever Michael Middelkamp driving in the go-ahead run.
Carter Howell doubled on a 1-0 pitch in the first inning knocking in the game’s first run. It wasn’t until the bottom half of the fourth inning that Mankato National put up a crooked number. Rob Meidl deposited a shot on the mezzanine just below the Spire Homerun Porch at CHS field electrifying the crowd and giving his team the 2-1 lead on the mammoth shot.
The Blues (37-12) continued plodding ahead and scored a run in the 6th and 8th innings to take the 3-2 lead. However, the see-saw battle continued as the Nationals (28-6) tied the game in the bottom half of the 9th inning after Chris Pipes hit into a fielder’s choice to the right side of the infield with it drawn in to score James Dahlvang from third base.
Terrific starting pitching was on display as Moorhead’s Ty Syverson worked 8 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits with 6 strikeouts to his ledger. On the other side of the field, the Nationals Evan Furst would not be outdone as he worked 9 ⅓ inning of 7-hit baseball with 4 strikeouts and allowed just two earned runs himself.
Tanner McBain came in on relief and worked four innings after surrendering the game tying run in the bottom half of the 9th inning. He went on to work 4 shut down inning in relief to earn the victory.
Mankato National picked up 9 hits for the game and were led by Pipes and Ben Scott who each collected multiple hits for their team. Brett Erickson and Eli Johnson each had multiple hits for the Blues with Erickson going 4-6 with 3 runs and RBI. The four hits
by Erickson constituted half of his team’s output or the game. Between Erickson and Johnson, the one and two hitters for Moorhead, they combined to go 6-11 with 4 runs scored and 1 RBI.
The win for Moorhead advanced them to the 7pm game against Stillwater at Siebert field Saturday night with the winner advancing to play on Sunday and the loser going home.