A first - Paynesville Legion going to state!

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 08/05/97.

The Paynesville American Legion baseball team advances to state competition after winning the District 6 finals in Brainerd Sunday. Paynesville defeated Becker 10-3 in their first game on Saturday and on Sunday in the finals outlasted Tri-City Blackduck 6-5. Winning the district title and advancign to state is believed to be a first for the Paynesville American Legion team.

ďThe championship game against Tri-City Blackduck was thrilling and exciting,Ē Coach Brad Skoglund said. The two teams had played against each other earlier in the season, splitting the results.

ďIím proud of the team,Ē Coach Skoglund said. ďThey played super baseball, ran the bases well. It is nice the players did a great job as they were pumped up and ready to play. We had a lot of fans and parents at the games. We are grateful for the supportive program the American Legion provides the players.Ē

ďThe championship game was just how the finals should be, exciting. I thought we were in trouble at one point, but Josh Williams made a great diving catch in the sixth inning by the Paynesville dugout,Ē Skoglund said.

Blackduck took a one-run lead in the top of the third inning scoring on four walks. Paynesville then came back with two runs in the bottom of the third.

Paynesville scored four more runs in the fourth inning, giving Paynesville a 6-1 lead.

Stalboerger gave up four runs on four hits and received relief from Brent Heinen in the top of the sixth inning.

In the seventh inning, the first Blackduck batter reached base on an error, the second doubled to right field. With Blackduck runners on second and third, Paynesville still held a one-run lead. Heinen then struck out the next batter. In a squeeze bunt attempt, Heinen fielded the ball and tagged the Blackduck runner out at home for the second out. With Blackduck runners on first and third and two outs in the seventh, Heinen struck out the pinch hitter to end the game.

Paynesville: 002 400 x 6 5 2
Blackduck: 001 004 0 5 7 2

Paynesville 10
Becker 3

In Paynesvilleís first semi-final game they defeated Becker 10-3.

Becker jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, Paynesville took the lead on Josh Ericksonís sacrifice fly ball scoring Mike Stalboerger. Paynesville then erupted for six runs in the sixth inning.

David Hemmesch pitched the complete game for Paynesville allowing only six hits and two earned runs while striking out seven.

ďThe team played well and displayed good defense. We had some timely hitting in our win over Becker,Ē Coach Skoglund said.

Paynesville: 001 036 x 10 11 1
Becker: 020 100 0 3 6 2

State tournament
The Paynesville American Legion team will be competing Saturday morning in their first game at the state tournament in Hibbing. Paynesville will face the District 7 champion at 10 a.m.
Paynesville enters the state tournament with a 14-9-1 record.

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