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Junior legion: Fifth inning gets away from Alex Reds in weekend opener

Alexandria's Tyler Petron tags out Elk River's Nate Loretz during a rundown between second and third at Knute Nelson Ballpark on Friday morning. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)1 / 4
Alexandria's Peyton Doty pitches in the first inning of the Reds junior legion baseball game against Elk River on Friday. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)2 / 4
Alexandria left fielder Cole Walters throw back to the infield as an Elk River runner races home during Friday's morning game at Knute Nelson Ballpark in the junior legion tournament. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)3 / 4
Alexandria's Shay Endres throws out a runner at first during Friday's game against Elk River. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)4 / 4

The Alexandria Reds junior legion baseball team kicked off a three-day weekend tournament at Knute Nelson Ballpark on Friday morning, but not how the local team was hoping to.

Alexandria played Elk River a week after seeing the same team in Marshall. Elk River won that game 10-0, and added five more to that total on Friday in a 15-0, five-inning victory.

The Reds were still in the game through four innings, trailing 4-0. Then the wheels came off in the fifth as Elk River scored 11 runs. The inning started with two Alexandria errors and a run-scoring double from Sam Erickson. By the end of the frame, Alexandria had committed five errors as the runs kept coming for Elk River.

"I've had teams before where we haven't had this issue, but for us this year that seems to be a big pattern," Reds coach Steve Radtke said of things snowballing on them in the fifth. "I thought we played OK the first four innings. We had a couple of errors and gave them some runs to get four on the board. I felt Peyton (Doty) did a good job pitching, but when we have an inning like that where we just come off the rails, we still have to learn that if we make a mistake we have to overcome that and continue to play."

Radtke said it's hard to know if the errors are more physical than mental. A couple of balls in left field were lost in the bright sun that was rising behind the grandstands.

"We talked about things like getting the glove up and blocking the sun," Radtke said. "Some of these things are physical and things we're still learning, but sometimes I think it becomes mental and we start hanging our heads. When you hang your head, other bad things are going to happen."

Alexandria had a few chances to get on the board in the early innings. The Reds put runners on base in each of the first four frames, including two on in the first and second before Elk River starting pitcher Mitch Bakken got out of things unscathed. Doty, Elijah Holthaus, Riley Carlsen and Shay Endres all singled in the game for Alexandria's four hits.

"There's a lot of things we talked about up in the locker room after the game," Radtke said. "We got to get some big hits. The other thing we talked about is we had a few guys go down looking today with runners on. We need to take some hacks at the ball there."

The Reds have plenty of opportunities the rest of the weekend to bounce back. They take on Worthington at 8:30 Friday night before a game against New Ulm on Saturday at 6 to wrap up their pool-play schedule to determine when they play on Sunday.

"We played Elk River and Worthington last week in Marshall, and the Worthington game is one I think we should have won but we didn't," Radtke said. "I'm looking to come back tonight and get after it and get a ballgame."

ALEXANDRIA JUNIOR LEGION TOURNAMENT AT KNUTE NELSON BALLPARK

FRIDAY - 9 a.m. - Alexandria Red vs. Elk River; 11 - Elk River vs. New Ulm; 1:30 p.m. - Blaine vs. Marshall; 3:30 - Blaine vs. Sleepy Eye; 6 - Alexandria Black vs. Sleepy Eye; 8:30 - Alexandria Red vs. Worthington

SATURDAY - 9 a.m. - Alexandria Black vs. Marshall; 11 - Sleepy Eye vs. Marshall; 1:30 p.m. - Worthington vs. Elk River; 3:30 - Worthington vs. New Ulm; 6 - New Ulm vs. Alexandria Red; 8 - Alexandria Black vs. Blaine

SUNDAY - 9 a.m. - Pool A fourth vs. Pool B fourth; 11 - Pool A third vs. Pool B third; 1:30 p.m. - Pool A second vs. Pool B second; 3:30 - Pool A first vs. Pool B first

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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