Junior legion: Alex Reds squander chances to top Sleepy Eye in 4-2 loss
The Alexandria Red junior legion baseball team was one hit away from tying Sleepy Eye in its home tournament on Sunday.
But even though Alex left the bases loaded in the seventh and fell victim to a 4-2 loss in the meeting of fourth-place pool play teams, the game wasn’t lost in the final frame.
“We gave up runs on errors. We can’t do that. We’re giving too many gifts away,” Alex Red head coach Steve Radtke said. “If we don’t give away the outs, we win the game.”
Sleepy Eye took advantage of its extra chances early and often, first grabbing a 3-0 lead in the second inning behind three walks, two errors, and another baserunner who reached on a strikeout with a wild pitch.
The first run came on a wild pitch, the second on an error and the third on a single for the 3-0 difference.
Alexandria finally came to life in the fifth inning, as Devan Swerman tripled in Brady McCoy, and he then came in to score on Sam Boettner’s RBI groundout for a 3-2 game.
“It’s similar to (Saturday) when we gave up the five runs,” said Radtke. “Our kids came back and battled back.”
Sleepy Eye added an insurance run in the sixth, picking up a run through a one-out walk and then two passed balls and a wild pitch.
It made for a 4-2 game, but Alex did not go down quietly.
In the seventh, McCoy and Riley Carlsen picked up one-out hits in between a Swerman walk to load the bases. But one hit from tying the game, a strikeout and a popup ended the drama and Alexandria’s chances with the 4-2 final.
“We’re down two, and you want to put yourself in position to win,” Radtke said. “If we get one hit there, we’re tied up. That feels good because those were things that weren’t happening even a week ago. Now we’re getting runners in opportune situations. Now we’ve got to get them in.”
Despite the loss, which put Alex Red at 0-4 in the tournament, Radtke said he’s happy with the development that’s taken place inside the dugout.
“We’re taking some hits this year, but the kids are staying positive, which is really good to see,” he said. “They continue to get a little louder, and they’re talking more now than they were at the beginning of the year. They haven’t quit.”
Alexandria will return to Knute Nelson for a 6 p.m. doubleheader with Fergus Falls on Tuesday, July 10.
SLEEPY EYE 030 001 0 - 4 5 1
ALEXANDRIA 000 020 0 - 2 6 4