For the visiting Spring Grove boys, three runs were not quite enough in the first-place showdown versus undefeated, state-ranked Southland but two days later, three runs were just enough to edge one-win Mabel-Canton. Both games were tied going into the final seventh inning. The Rebels prevailed, 4-3, with a walk-off single at Adams on Monday, May 2, whereas the Lions edged the Cougars, 3-2, on May 4. In both games, the team with the most base hits – lost.
Spring Grove (5-1, 5-1 SEC) dropped out of a first-place tie with the heartbreaker at Adams, but was very much back in the race with the win on Wednesday, the same day Southland (7-1, 6-1 SEC) dropped its first game of the season at GMLOK. That left three teams with one conference loss, including Lyle/Pacelli (6-2, 6-1 SEC).
Southland 4, SG 3
It was one out from an extra inning when Harrison Hanna doubled and scored with a game-clinching single from Travis Kirtz. Hanna’s two-bagger was the Rebels’ only extra-base hit of the game. “We were right there with them at the end in a tie game,’ said coach Chriss Strinmoen, “but they were able to get two back-to-back clutch two-out hits to push one across.
“Tough loss tonight. We faced one of the best pitchers in our conference (Harrison Hanna). We had difficulties last year putting good swings on him, and this year wasn’t much different. We struck out 14 times, but the most frustrating part was that seven of them were looking. We knew he was going to be around the plate, because he doesn’t walk anyone. But we were still fooled and couldn’t pull the trigger. Jaxon (Strinmoen) seemed to have him figured out as he was rock solid at the plate for us (3 for 3).”
Going into that final seventh frame, both starting pitchers had to be replaced due to the pitch-count rule. In the top of the inning, Lion sophomore Elijah Solum singled and stole second base, in scoring position with only one out. But Rebel reliever Riley Jax retired the next two (last two) batters, getting two of the three outs with strikeouts. Then the first two Southland batters went down in order before Hanna and Kirtz provided the game-winners.
Spring Grove out-hit the home team, 8 to 5, but the Lions received little charity. Hanna struck out 14 and walked only one and was backed up by a one-error defense. There were no miscues in the field for the Lions, but the Rebel attack benefited from five walks and a hit batter. Three of the four Rebels who scored had reached base with a walk. It was still a solid performance for Lion starter Caleb Griffin, who struck out nine and gave up only three hits in six innings on the mound.
The first Rebel batter of the game scored and then the Lions went ahead 2-1 in the second inning with singles on three hits (Ezra Griffin, Strinmoen, Jonah Udstuen) plus a Southland error that rendered both tallies unearned. The Rebels tied it up in the bottom of the inning with no hits (three walks, a hit batter) and then regained the lead, 3-2, in the fourth.
Strinmoen led the Lion offense, going 3 for 3, including an RBI double that sent Ezra Griffin (2 for 4) home to tie the score in the sixth, 3-3. Spring Grove was then poised to take the lead with two on base and no outs, but two Hanna strikeouts and a fly ball to left field quelled the uprising with the score still knotted heading into the final seventh inning.
“Scary moment in the JV game with Nathan (Solberg) going down,” added the coach. “We are glad he is ok, but we’ll miss having him in the lineup while he recovers.”
Since the Lions brought back baseball in 2016, the Rebels have now won four of the six games versus Spring Grove.
SG 3, Mabel-Canton 2
The visiting Lions scored the winning run in the top of the final seventh inning with a lead-off single by Strinmoen, who after two Cougar errors, scored on a sacrifice fly from Brandon Jahnke. Then two more Mabel-Canton miscues, a walk and two stolen bases put Lions on second and third before the threat ended when relief pitcher Owen Underbakke struck out the only batter he faced.
“The two best parts of today were the weather and Jaxon’s (Strinmoen) pitching performance,” said Coach Strinmoen. “It finally felt like a nice spring day and the sun even came out. We got a great pitching performance from Jaxon, who was looking to improve on his last outing. His control was much better, and he was able to keep the Cougars off balance for the most part. The game moved along quickly because (M-C pitcher) Cayden Tollefsrud was just as good. That was as good as I’ve seen Cayden. He was in control, throwing hard, and gave our guys a hard time at the plate. We were lucky to just do enough to get the job done today.”
The Lions never trailed but did not take the lead until a walk to Elijah Solum, an RBI single from Ezra Griffin and a sacrifice fly from Strinmoen broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the top of the fourth. Those were the only earned runs of the game.
The Cougars tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back singles from Hayden Erickson, a sacrifice bunt by Jaymeson Tollefsrud and back-to-back Lion errors. Mabel-Canton was poised to take the lead with runners on second and third before second baseman Jonah Udstuen saved Spring Grove by converting a line drive into an unassisted double play. That came after another outstanding play by the senior infielder in the second inning.
No batter had more than one hit during a pitchers’ duel. Tollefsrud absorbed the loss despite striking out 10 and walking only two while giving up only three hits (all singles in different innings). Strinmoen went the distance for Spring Grove, allowing no earned runs while striking out seven and walking three.
It was the Lions’ 11th win in the last 12 games against Mabel-Canton, The teams split their two-games series a year ago. The Lion B-team (1-5) enjoyed its first win of the season, 5-2.
Southland 4, SG 3
SG 020 001 0 = 3 8 0
SHS 101 100 1 = 4 5 1`
LOB: SG 7, SHS 5
Stolen bases: SG 3, SHS 0
SG 8 hits: 1 double, 7 singles) Jaxon Strinmoen 3 for 3, double, RBI, run, steal; Ezra Griffin 2 for 4; Jonah Udstuen 1for 3, RBI; Elijah Solum 1 for 3, 2 steals; Logan Brumm 1 for 3; Braedon Solie 2 runs
SHS 5 hits: (1 double, 4 singles) Travis Kirtz 2 for 3, 2 RBI
Pitching SG: Caleb Griffin 6 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 5 walks, 1 hit batter, 9 strikeouts; Ben Udstuen (LP) 2/3 inning, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts
SHS Pitching: Harrison Hanna 6 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts; Riley Jax (WP) 1 inning, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts
Records: SG 4-1, 4-1 SEC; SHS 6-0, 5-0 SEC
SG LINEUP: p Caleb Griffin & Ben Udstuen, c Ezra Griffin, 1b Jaxon Strinmoen, 2b Jonah Udstuen, ss Nathan Solberg, 3b Brandon Jahnke, lf Zach Brumm, cf. Elijah Solum, rf Matthew Doering, (dh Logan Brumm, runner Braedon Solie)
SG 3, Mabel-Canton 2
SG 000 200 1 = 3–3–3
MC 000 020 0 = 2—4–5
LOB: SG 2, MC 4
Stolen bases: SG 4, MC 2
SG 3 hits: (3 singles) Jaxon Strinmoen 1 for 2, RBI, run sacrifice: Zach Brumm 1 for 2, steal; Ezra Griffin 1 for 3, RBI, run, steal
MC 4 hits: (4 singles) Hayden Erickson 1 for 2, run; Alex Arneson 1 for 2; Fred Williams 1 for 3, run; Cayden Tollefsrud 1 for 3, RBI
Pitching SG: Jaxon Strinmoen (win) 7 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 0 earned runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Pitching MC: Cayden Tollefsrud (loss), 6 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts; Owen Underbakke 1/3 inning, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout
SG LINEUP: p Jaxon Strinmoen, c Ezra Griffin, 1b Ben Udstuen, 2b Jonah Udstuen, ss Caleb Griffin, lf Zach Brumm, cf Elijah Solum, rf Matthew Doering, dh Logan Brumm,
Southland 5-0 SEC, 6-0 season
Lyle/Pacelli 6-1 SEC, 6-2 season
Spring Grove 4-1 SEC, 4-1 season
AC/GE 3-3 SEC, 4-4 season
Houston 3-4 SEC, 3-6 season
GMLOK 1-2 SEC, 1-4 season
Mabel-Canton 0-5 SEC, 1-7 season
Schaeffer Aca. 0-6 SEC, 0-8 season
Spring Grove Varsity Baseball 2022
5 wins, 1 loss (5-1 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.)
Fri. 04-22 Schaeffer Academy* postponed to 05-17
Mon. 04-25 Wabasha-Kellogg 5 p.m. postponed
W at Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons* 21-10
Fri. 04-29 at GMLOK* postponed to 05-05
Sat. 04-30 Mabel-Canton, postponed to 05-11
L at Southland* 3-4
W at Mabel-Canton* 3-2
Thur. 05-05 at GMLOK*(at Spring Valley)
Fri. 05-06 at Lyle/Pacelli* (at Austin)
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
1 win, 5 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
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