St. Cloud tops Fargo Post 2 at Central Plains Regional
The St. Cloud (Minn.) Chutes did plenty of damage Friday night at Jack Williams Stadium with two outs, and the result was a 4-3 win over Fargo Post 2 during the American Legion Division I Central Plains Regional baseball tournament.
“They were able to scratch a couple runs across late,” Fargo Post 2 head coach Luke Rustad said. “In a tight game late, you have to be able scratch a run in. They found a way, and we didn’t.”
Post 2 (33-19) led 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Post 2 starter Lincoln Voss retired the first two Chutes batters in the seventh, but St. Cloud’s Brian Minks got a single up the middle to start a rally. After the first two outs were recorded, St. Cloud sent six more batters to the plate in the seventh.
The extended rally netted two runs off three hits and two walks.
“We have been a good two-out hitting team all year, and we have a bunch of guys that can step up with a clutch hit when we need it,” said St. Cloud Chutes first baseman Steven Neutzling, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Two of Neutzling’s hits came with two outs – the second one being a single in the seventh inning that drove in Minks to tie the game 3-3.
St. Cloud (26-4) eventually took the lead when Jack Schramel walked with the bases loaded.
“With the top of the order we have, we feel like we can score runs even with two outs,” St. Cloud designated hitter Jeff Fasching said. “All it takes is two at bats.”
St. Cloud advances to play Bismarck in a winner’s bracket game at 7 p.m. today. Post 2 plays Omaha (Neb.) Westside at 4 p.m. today in an elimination game. It is a double-elimination tournament.
St. Cloud starter Dominic Austing struck out four batters and walked just one in a complete-game effort.
“We should have done better against their starter,” Rustad said. “He wasn’t very dominant and it would have been nice to get a few more hard hit balls off of him. Against (Omaha Westside) we’ll have to be focused, look for opportunities and take advantage of them.”
Andrew Penney gave Post 2 an early 1-0 lead by leading off the second inning with a solo home run.
The Chutes answered in the third inning when Fasching connected for a two-out, RBI double that scored Minks.
Post 2’s Carter Thompson was 2-for-4 in the game, and Mike Boutain and Andrew Lein also provided RBIs for Fargo.
Austing pitched one run behind at three different points of the game.
“I wasn’t super worried being down a run with how our team can hit,” Austing said. “We feel that we can battle with any team at this tournament.”
F 010 011 000–3 6 0
SC 001 010 20x–4 10 2
Voss and Penney. Austing and Imholte. W–Austing. L–Voss. HR–F, Penney.