Spring Grove slipped down into third place in a three-team championship baseball race while splitting a pair of conference games. On May 5, the Lions overcame a late uprising at Spring Valley to win 16-8, completing a season sweep of Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland (GMLOK). But the next afternoon at Austin, it was a role reversal in the rematch with Lyle/Pacelli. The Lions had rallied from behind with four late runs for a stunning 7-6 home win over L/P a few weeks ago. But last week, it was walk-off retribution for the Athletics who rallied from a two-run deficit in the final half-inning to take the SEC showdown, 5-4.
For the fourth straight SG game, the team with the most base hits – lost the game. The Lions ended the week at 6-2 (6-2 SEC), a half-game behind L/P (7-3, 7-2 SEC), and one game behind league-leading Southland (8-2, 7-1 SEC). GMLOK closed the week at 4-6 (4-4 SEC).
“Busy week ahead of us,” said coach Chris Strinmoen. “We will need lots of guys to step up on the mound, and more contributions at the plate up and down our lineup. The end of the season will come fast and furious now.”
SG 16, GMLOK 8
It was one run short of being a 10-run rule decision when the Lions led 10-1 at the end of the fifth inning. But there would be 13 more runs scored during the final two innings with the Bulldogs suddenly making it a contest with a seven-run rally in the sixth, making it 10-8. But Spring Grove answered with a six-run eruption in the top of the final seventh frame.
Spring Grove freshman pitcher Brandon Jahnke both started the game and then came in late to get the final four outs. He earned the pitching win while allowing no runs and only one hit during a combined four and a third innings on the mound.
“What a strange game today,” concluded Strinmoen. “It appeared that GMLOK may have been nearing the end of their pitching staff. They struggled to throw strikes, and we took advantage of many wild pitches. We built a very nice lead early, and with Brandon cruising, we went to our bullpen in hopes of saving him for the next day. To GMLOK’s credit, they kept clawing at us and broke through in the sixth.
“It got interesting enough that I had to go back to Brandon to finish the game. Luckily, our guys responded with a big seventh inning as well, so that took some of that pressure off again. Was good to score a lot of runs today, but still too many strikeouts (10). We need to fix some of our swings as we head into the final two weeks.”
At the plate, Elijah Solum went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and on the base paths, stole five bases while scoring four times. Jahnke batted 2 for 5 with two runs batted in. The teams combined for 17 hits, but GMLOK lead-off batter Dustin Copley had the only extra-base blast, an RBI double while batting twice during the Bulldogs’ big seven-run explosion, Seven of the nine GMLOK hits came during that half-inning.
The defensive gem was Jaxon Strinmoen retreating at full speed from his position at first base while chasing down a foul ball with a spectacular overhead catch. Tysen Grinde had an excellent grab in right field, and the Bulldogs’ Corbin Ludemann made a diving catch in left field.
The Lions have now won two and lost three versus the shared GMLOK program. The Bulldogs won the B-team game, 10-0. Then on Saturday, the B-teams split a double header with the Lions winning 7-6 before GMLOK prevailed, 6-4.
Lyle/Pacelli 5, SG 4
With L/P trailing 4-2, back-to-back RBI singles from Jake Truckenmiller and Dane Schara allowed the home team to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the walk-off win. The stage had been set by a single sandwiched between two walks.
“Tonight was an even tougher loss to swallow than the Southland game,” lamented the Lion coach. “We knew it was going to be a tough task. We were missing our starting centerfielder and shortstop, and we knew L/P was going to be looking for some revenge after we beat them earlier this year. That being said, we battled at the plate and were able to push across enough runs to head into the seventh with a lead.
“Caleb (Griffin) had thrown a great game with the exception of one rough inning. He hit his pitch-count max after six innings, so we turned to Ben (Udstuen) to try and save the game for us in the seventh. L/P was able to mount a rally that we just couldn’t overcome, and we let one get away. Even though that one hurts, we know we still control our own destiny in our quest for a conference title.”
Strinmoen, the first batter of the game, opened with a single, stole second base, went to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch. But L/P went ahead 2-1, scoring two runs in the second inning without a hit, taking advantage of three walks and a hit batter.
The Lions pulled even at 2-2 in the fifth with a single by Ben Udstuen and an RBI double from Strinmoen. One inning later, Grove edged ahead 3-2 with hits and stolen bases by Caleb Griffin and Zach Brumm. The insurance run came with two outs in the top of the seventh with a Strinmoen single followed quickly by an RBI double from Ezra Griffin. But the hard-earned 4-2 lead would not be enough.
“I have to give Jaxon Strinmoen a shout-out for the incredible week that he had,” said Coach Strinmoen. “He was 8 for 11 with 5 RBIs and 6 runs scored, 2 doubles and 4 stolen bases. He also threw a complete game against Mabel(-Canton), giving up zero earned runs and striking out seven. He’s definitely seeing the ball extremely well at the plate and appears to be finding his groove on the mound.”
Defensively, L/P’s Hunter VaDeer robbed Jahnke of a hit with a sprinting catch in centerfield. Grinde, playing centerfield for Spring Grove, made a stellar, incoming grab. Second baseman Ben Udstuen had an outstanding stop and throw to first base to end the fifth inning.
L/P won the B-team game, 8-1.
SG 16, GMLOK 8
SG 160 120 6 = 16—8–2
GMLOK 000 107 0 = 8—9–3
LOB: SG 5, GMLOK 4
Stolen bases: SG 9, GMLOK 4
SG 8 hits: (8 singles): Elijah Solum 2 for 3, 2 RBI, 4 runs, 5 steals; Brandon Jahnke 2 for 5, 2 RBI, steal; Jonah Udstuen 1 for 2, 2 RBI, 2 runs, sacrifice; Jaxon Strinmoen 1 for 2, 2 RBI, 2 runs, steal, sacrifice; Zach Brumm 1 for 2, 3 runs, steal; Caleb Griffin 1 for 5, 2 RBI, run; Jacob Olerud run, steal; Logan Brumm 3 runs
GMLOK 9 hits: (1 double, 8 singles) Dustin Copley 2 for 4, RBI, 3 steals
Pitching SG: Brandon Jahnke (win) 4 1/3 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout; Ben Udstuen 1 inning, 1 run, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts; Ty Cleven 1 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Pitching GMLOK: Sam Snitker (loss) 1 1/3 innings, 1 hit, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 7 walks, 2 strikeouts; Zac Shorter 5 innings, 4 hits, 8 runs, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, 1 hit batter, 6 strikeouts; Beck Warren 2/3 inning, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts.
SG LINEUP: p Jahnke, Ben Udstuen, Cleven, Jahnke again, c Ezra Griffin, 1b Jaxon Strinmoen, 2b Jonah Udstuen, ss Zach Brumm, 3b Caleb Griffin & Jahnke, lf Tysen Grinde, & Caleb Griffin, cf Elijah Solum, rf Matthew Doering & Grinde, dh Logan Brumm
SG 4. L/P 5
SG 100 011 1 = 4–7–2
L/P 020 000 3 = 5–5–1
LOB: SG 5, L/P 6
Stolen bases: SG 6, L/P 2
SG 7 hits: (2 doubles, 5 singles) Jaxon Strinmoen 3 for 4, double, RBI, 2 runs, 2 steals; Caleb Griffin 1 for 2, run, 2 steals; Ezra Griffin 1 for 4, double RBI; Zach Brumm 1 for 3, RBI steal; Ben Udstuen 1 for 3, run, steal;
L/P 5 hits: (1 double, 4 singles) Jake Truckenmiller 2 for 4, double, 2 RBI
Pitching SG: Caleb Griffin 6 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts; Ben Udstuen (loss) 1/3 inning, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Pitching L/P: Mac Nelson 6 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts; Jack Klingfus (win) 1/3 inning, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts.
SG LINEUP: p Caleb Griffin & Ben Udstuen, c Ezra Griffin, 1b Jaxon Strinmoen, 2b Ben Udstuen, ss Zach Brumm, 3b Brandon Jahnke, lf Jonah Udstuen, cf Tysen Grinde & Jacob Olerud, rf Matthew Doering, dh Logan Brumm, runner Braedon Solie
Southland 7-1 SEC, 8-02season
Lyle/Pacelli 7-2 SEC, 7-3 season
Spring Grove 6-2 SEC, 6-2 season
AC/GE 5-3 SEC, 6-5 season
GMLOK 4-4 SEC, 4-6 season
Houston 3-6 SEC, 3-9 season
Mabel-Canton 1-7 SEC, 2-9 season
Schaeffer Aca. 0-8 SEC, 0-10 season
Spring Grove Varsity Baseball 2022
6 wins, 2 losses (6-2 SEC)
(4:30 p.m. first pitch unless noted) * SEC game
W vs. GMLOK* 5-1
W vs. Lyle/Pacelli*7-6
04-18 Cotter/Hope Lutheran, postponed
W vs. Houston* 12-2 (6 inn.)
Mon. 04-25 Wabasha-Kellogg 5 p.m. postponed
W at Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons* 21-10
L at Southland* 3-4
W at Mabel-Canton* 3-2
W at GMLOK*16-8
L at Lyle/Pacelli*4-5
Mon. 05-09 Martin County West 5 p.m. (at Austin, Riverland College)
Tues. 05-10 at Houston*
Wed. 05-11 Mabel-Canton*
Fri. 05-13 Southland*
Sat. 05-14 at Rushford-Peterson Tourney, 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.
Sat. 05-14 at Rushford-Peterson Tourney, approx. 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.
Tues. 05-17 at Schaeffer Academy (Rochester)*double header
Thur. 05-19 Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons*
Fri. 05-20 at Fillmore Central/Lanesboro (at Preston)
Spring Grove B-Team Baseball 2022
2 wins, 8 losses
L vs. GMLOK 2-5
L vs. Lyle/Pacelli 2-12
L vs. Houston 2-5
L at Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons 0-2
L at Southland 0-5
W at Mabel-Canton 5-2
L at GMLOK 0-10
L at Lyle/Pacelli 1-8
W at GMLOK 7-6
L vs. GMLOK 4-6
Junior high First Game
4 wins, 1 loss
L vs. Mabel-Canton 8-13
W vs. GMLOK 10-0
W vs. Houston 5-3
W vs. GMLOK 9-2
W vs. Lyle/Pacelli 9-3
Junior high Second Game
1 win, 3 losses, 1 tie
W vs. Mabel-Canton 6-1
T vs. GMLOK 9-9
L vs. Houston 1-11
L vs. GMLOK 1-2
L vs. Lyle/Pacelli 5-9