Spring Grove’s Isaac Griffin was exceptional on the mound in what was a classic pitchers’ duel until it turned out to be a pitchers’ nightmare for visiting Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland. The Lions’ 2-1, “walk-off, walk-in” conference win on April 15 was sandwiched between less satisfying road setbacks – a 12-3 non-conference loss at Wabasha-Kellogg on April 12 and an 11-1, run-rule league loss at Austin against Lyle/Pacelli on April 16. The young Lions ended the week with a 2-2 record (2-1 SEC).
“It was a great day for our home opener,” said Lion coach Chris Strinmoen about the GMLOK nail-biter. “There’s nothing like playing in front of your own fans, especially after almost a two-year hiatus. The fans were treated to one of the best pitching performances I’ve seen in a Lion uniform. Isaac Griffin was on fire. You don’t get 14 strikeouts from your pitcher very often, and to do it against a very good GMLOK team – 2019 conference champs.”
The B-team boys are also 2-2 following last week’s losses versus Wabasha-Kellogg (4-10) and GMLOK (2-4) before a victory at Lyle/Pacelli (14-9).
at Wabasha-Kellogg 12, SG 3
The first four Spring Grove batters reached base (3 singles, walk), and the first three also scored. The Lions left the bases loaded but led 3-0. However, those first three runs were also the last Spring Grove scores. Five of the six Lion hits (all singles) came before the second out in that first frame, and then Falcon pitcher Brady Wodele gained control. After walking the first batter of the game, he never walked another while striking out eight during five innings on the mound.
Lion freshman Elijah Solum (2 for 3) had two of the six hits and two of the three runs batted in, but he would be back on the injured list for the next two games. Eighth grader Brandon Jahnke (1 for 2) drove in the third run.
The Falcons plated four runs in three successive innings and finished with nine hits while benefitting from seven walks and four Lion errors. Four Spring Grove pitchers combined to strike out 10 while walking seven and hitting two batters. Spring Grove sophomore starter Caleb Griffin blanked Wabasha-Kellogg through the first two innings, but he would be relieved in the third inning with the Lions trailing 4-3.
“It was nice to see our lineup jump out to a 3-0 lead,” said Strinmoen. “We batted around and put pressure on them right away. That always boosts your starting pitcher’s confidence, starting with a lead right away. I thought Caleb threw the ball well for his first varsity start.
“We were an out or even a strike away from getting out of trouble in the third inning unharmed. I think we just lost a little focus at times, and when that happens, things can snowball on you quickly. We will regroup and try to improve our next time out.”
Wabasha-Kellogg only out-hit the Lions 8 to 6, but had only half as many errors (2 to 4). Falcon pitchers issued only four free passes (2 walks, 2 hit batters) while W-K batters profited from 9 charity trips to first base.
It was the season opener for the Falcons and the teams’ first meeting since a 2-0 Wabasha-Kellogg pitchers’-duel win over Spring Grove in the 2018 sub-section opener.
W-K 12, SG 3
SG…300 000 0 = 3–6–4
WK…004 440 x =12–8–2
Left on base: SG 8, WK 9
Stolen bases: SG 1 (Braedon Solie), WK 3
SG hits 6 (1 double, 5 singles): Elijah Solum 2-3, dbl, 2 RBI; Brandon Jahnke 1-2, 1 RBI; Nathan Solberg 1-3, 1 run; Logan Brumm 1-3; Caleb Griffin 1-4, 1 run
WK hits 8 (2 doubles, 6 singles): Brady Wodele 2-4, 1 RBI, 3 runs; Klayton Hawkins 1-3, double, 1 RBI, 3 runs; Adam Dunagan 1-2, 3 RBI, 1 run; Terrik Miller 1-2, 2 RBI;’ C. Moore 1-4, double 2 runs; L. Busch 1-4, 1 RBI, 2 runs; P. Springer 1-4.
PITCHING – SG 11K, 7 BB, 2 HB
LP-Caleb Griffin 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 HB, 4 BB, 4 K
Nathan Solberg 0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Jaxon Strinmoen 1.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Ty Cleven 1.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K
PITCHING – WK 10 K, 2 BB, 2 HB
WP- Brady Wodele 5 IP, 8 K, 1 BB, 1 HB
Caleb Moore 2 IP, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HB
RECORDS: SG 1-1 (1-0 SEC), WK 1-0
SG LINEUP: P Caleb Griffin, c Logan Brumm, 1b Ty Cleven, 2b Jonah Udstuen, ss Nathan Solberg, 3b Brandon Jahnke, lf Jaxon Strinmoen, cf Isaac Griffin, rf Elijah Solum, pinch runner Braedon Solie, p; pinch hitters Caleb Ranzenberger & Matthew Doering
at SG 2, GMLOK 1
After issuing only one walk during the first six innings, two Bulldog relievers combined to walk three and hit two batters in the final seventh inning. With two out and the bases loaded, both the tying and winning runs for Spring Grove were scored with RBI walks. What had been a classic pitching duel from the outset was ultimately decided by more walks than strikeouts or base hits. Each team had three hits.
Lion starter Isaac Griffin was superb, striking out 14 while walking only two and hitting one batter. Ironically, that last free pass produced the go-ahead run for GMLOK in the top of the sixth inning. Dustin Copley broke the scoreless duel with an RBI single. After stealing two bases, he was stranded on third base as Griffin posted his 14th strikeout. GMLOK led, 1-0.
The Spring Grove senior hurler would exit the mound due to the pitch limit just one out shy of pitching a complete game. Freshman Jaxon Strinmoen came in to face only two batters and be credited with the pitching win.
Scoring the go-ahead run for the Bulldogs was starting pitcher Lucas Heusinkveld, who pitched four scoreless innings with four strikeouts and only one walk. Nick Fetterly came on to pitch another two scoreless innings (two strikeouts, no walks) before suffering severe control problems in the seventh. Hitting Logan Brumm and walking Ty Cleven put the eventual tying and winning runs on base. But after two outs (strikeout, ground out), Fetterly was one out away from an extra inning. Eighth grader Zach Brumm entered the fray for his first-ever varsity batting assignment as a pinch hitter and with a full count, was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
GMLOK then turned to their best pitcher to save the day. But Dustin Copley walked Isaac Griffin to bring home Logan Brumm to tie the game, 1-1. He then walked Nathan Solberg to send pinch runner Braedon Solie across home plate with the winning run.
No batter had more than one hit; Lion sophomore Caleb Griffin’s lead-off double in the fourth inning was the only extra-base hit. He was the lone Lion to reach third base before the walk-fest finale. Caleb Griffin, Isaac Griffin and Solberg each went 1 for 3 at the plate for Spring Grove as did H
This was the Lions’ first-ever win against the three-school GMLOK program and only the third meeting with the Bulldogs all-time. GMLOK swept both conference games against Spring Grove during its SEC championship run of 2019.
The Lions last faced the two-school-shared program GM/LO in 2005. Now that Kingsland has joined the Southeast Conference, GMLOK plays in the SEC instead of their former affiliation with the Three Rivers Conference. Both head coaches are former Spring Grove Male Athletes of the Year – the Lions’ Chris Strinmoen (1996) and the Bulldogs’ Dakotah Rostad (2010).
The day after falling at Spring Grove, GMLOK (1-2, 0-2 SEC) lost an SEC showdown with undefeated Southland (3-0, 2-0 SEC).
SG 2, GMLOK 1
GMLOK 000 001 0 =1–3–1
SG………000 000 2 =2–3–0
Left on base: SG 4, GMLOK 6
Stolen bases: SG 0, GMLOK 8
SG hits 3 (double , 2 singles) Caleb Griffin 1-3, dbl; Isaac Griffin 1-3, RBI.
GMLOK hits 3 (3 singles) Dustin Copley 1-3, RBI, 2sb; Nick Fetterly 1-3; Lucas Heusinkveld 1-3, run, 2 sb.
PITCHING – SG (14 K, 3 BB, 1 HB)
Isaac Griffin 6.2 IP, 3H, 1 R, 0 ER, 14 K, 2 BB, 1 HB
Jaxon Strinmoen 0.3 IP, 0H, 0R, 0 K, 1 BB
PITCHING – GMLOK (7 K, 5 BB, 1 HB)
Lucas Heusinkveld 4 IP, 3 H
Records: SG 2-1 (2-0 SEC); GM 1-1 (0-1 SEC)
SG LINEUP: p Isaac Griffin, c Logan Brumm, 1b Ty Cleven, 2b Jonah Udstuen, ss Nathan Solberg, 3b Brandon Janke, lf Jaxon Strinmoen, cf Caleb Griffin, rf Caleb Ranzenberger, runner Braedon Solie, pinch hitter Zach Brumm
at Lyle/Pacelli 11, SG 1 (5 innings)
Lyle/Pacelli, in its season opener, used two all-conference senior pitchers to subdue Spring Grove. Younger Lion hurlers gave up only seven hits, but there were three doubles that sparked a pair of four-run innings that led to the 10-run-rule decision in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“We knew we were going to be up against a buzzsaw today,” said Coach Strinmoen. “I’ve been watching Cole Walter, Jed Nelson and Zach Bollingberg for many years now. Cole and Zach threw the ball very well and just overmatched our hitters. We did find ways to put some pressure on them but just couldn’t come up with the clutch hit. I think we left about eight runners on base in a shortened five-inning game.
“Nathan Solberg had a nice day at the plate with a couple hits. And Caleb Griffin showed us again how he is our best RBI generator in our lineup currently.” With Spring Grove trailing 9-0, back-to-back singles by those two sophomores brought home Isaac Griffin (walk) with the lone Lion run in the final fifth frame. Solberg (2 for 3) had half of the Lion hits. Jonah Udstuen (1 for 2) had the other base hit.
Solberg, at shortstop, also turned in the defensive gem of the game, making a diving stop of a ground ball in front of second base and then getting up to throw to first base for the out. It was a bizarre double play; the L/P runner at first base and going to second evidently thought Solberg had also touched second base to force him out. Touching second was not an option for Solberg, who made a spectacular play just to throw to first. But the L/P runner put himself out by leaving the field for the dugout.
Caleb Griffin absorbed the pitching loss while striking out six and walking four in two and-two-thirds innings on the mound. Six different Athletics had base hits, including Sam Nelson (2 for 3) who was also credited with three of L/P’s 14 stolen bases.
“Even though we gave up 11 runs, I like the progress our young pitchers are making,” added Coach Strinmoen. “I think we will get better as the year goes on. We just need to shore up some defensive things yet, and we will be okay.”
The Athletics (1-0, 1-0 SEC) ended a five-game losing streak against Spring Grove. And with three pitching aces, L/P appears poised to challenge for the league championship, which they either won or shared five straight times from 2012 through 2016. The As’ have claimed nine SEC baseball crowns, more than any other program.
L/P 11, SG 1
SG 000 01x x = 1–4–4
L/P 410 42x x =11–7–0
Left on base: SG 8, L/P 4
Stolen bases: SG 1, L/P 14
SG hits 4 (4 singles): Nathan Solberg 2-3; Caleb Griffin 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 sb; Jonah Udstuen 1-2.
L/P hits 7 (3 doubles, 4 singles): Sam Nelson 2-3, 1 RBI, 2 runs, 3 sb; Jed nelson 1-2, 1 RBI, 1 run, 2 sb; Hunter VaDeer 1-2, double, 1 RBI, 1 sb; Jake Truckenmiller 1-3, double, 2 RBI, 1 run; Zach Bollingberg 1-3, 1 RBI, 2 runs, 2 sb; Cole Walter 1-3, 1 RBI, 2 runs, 2 sb
PITCHING – SG (6 K, 7 BB)
LP- Caleb Griffin 2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 6 K, 4 BB
Ty Cleven 1.2 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 BB
PITCHING – L/P (12 K, 5 BB)
WP- Cole Walter 3.0 IP, 12 H, 7 K, 4 BB
Zach Bollingberg 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 K, 1 BB
Records: SG 2-2 (2-1 SEC), L/P 1-0 (1-0 SEC)
SG LINEUP: p Caleb Griffin, c Logan Brumm, 1b Ty Cleven, 2b Jonah Udstuen, ss Nathan Solberg, 3b Brandon Jahnke, lf Jaxon Strinmoen, cf Isaac Griffin, rf Caleb Ranzenberger & Matthew Doering.
2021 conf. season
BASEBALL W L W L
Randolph 2 – 0 4 – 0
Southland 2 – 0 3 – 0
Lyle/Pacelli 1 – 0 1 – 0
Spring Grove 2 – 1 2 – 2
A-C/G-E 2 – 1 2 – 2
Mabel-Canton 0 – 0 0 – 0
GMLOK* 0 – 2 1 – 2
Schaeffer Academy 0 – 2 0 – 3
Houston 0 – 3 0 – 3
* defending champion
Spring Grove Baseball 2021
2 wins, 2 losses (2-1 SEC)
W at Houston
L at Wabasha-Kellogg 3-12
W vs. Grand Meadow/-Ostrander/Kingsland 2-1
L at Lyle/Pacelli 1-11
Mon. 04/19 Schaeffer Academy, ppd to April 22
Tues. 04/20 Mabel-Canton, ppd to April 26
Thur. 04/22 Schaeffer Academy
Fri. 04/23 at Randolph
Mon. 04/26 Mabel-Canton
Fri. 04/30 Southland
Mon. 05/03 at Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons (Glenville)
Tues. 05/04 Houston
Fri. 05/07 at GMLOK (Spring Valley)
Sat. 05/08 vs. Hayfield (at Rushford-Peterson) 10 a.m.
Sat. 05/08 vs. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (at Rushford-Peterson) 2 p.m.
Mon. 05/10 vs. Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons
Tues. 05/11 Lyle/Pacelli
Fri. 05/14 at Schaeffer Academy (Rochester)
Mon. 05/17 at Mabel-Canton
Thur. 05/20 Randolph
Tues. 05/25 Fillmore Central/Lanesboro
Thur. 05/27 at Southland (Adams)
2 wins, 2 losses
W at Houston 10-1
L at Wabasha-Kellogg 4-10
W vs. Grand Meadow/-Ostrander/Kingsland 2-4
W at Lyle/Pacelli 14-9