GRAND RAPIDS — After falling behind 5-0 to a good Brainerd team, the Post 60 Grand Rapids American Legion baseball team could have packed it in and played for the next game in the double-elimination District 8 Sub-State American Legion Baseball Tournament Wednesday at Bob Streetar Field.
Instead, Post 60 clawed its way back into the game, tying the game. Then in dramatic walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kodi Miller ripped a home run to give Grand Rapids a 7-6 victory and keep the team unbeaten in the tournament.
Grand Rapids opened the tournament on Wednesday with a 12-3 win over Cloquet
Grand Rapids played Lakeview (Duluth East) at 6 p.m. Friday, with results of this game and the remainder of the tournament being included in the Wednesday edition of the Herald-Review due to deadline constraints. Hermantown and Brainerd are the other two teams still alive in the tournament.
If Grand Rapids won Friday, the championship game will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bob Streetar Field. Grand Rapids’ opponent must beat Post 60 twice on Saturday in order to earn a state berth while Post 60 needs to win just once.
If Post 60 lost on Friday, it would play in the championship game at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Following are results for Grand Rapids in the tournament:
Grand Rapids opened the tournament with a 12-3 victory over Cloquet.
Andrew Sundberg picked up the win on the mound for Post 60 as he pitched the first four innings and yielded three runs on five hits. He struck out four but issued seven walks.
Dan Wohlers pitched the final three innings, allowing no runs on one hit while walking three and fanning two.
“We had 10 walks in the game which is terrible and we are lucky they didn’t come back to hurt us,” said Kinnunen. “They had the bases loaded and we only led by 7-3 so a grand slam would have tied it.”
Kodi Miller had three hits with a double and a home run, scored three runs and drove in four for Grand Rapids while Sundberg had two hits with a double and scored two runs. Tyler Norgard had two doubles, scored a run and added four RBIs.
“We played well enough to win,” Kinnunen said. “We got hits with runners on base and we didn’t leave too many on base. So, key hits with runners in scoring position is what won it for us.”
C 010 200 0— 3 6 2
GR 331 041 x — 12 12 1
Grand Rapids: Andrew Sundberg (W), Dan Wohlers (5th) (S); 2B-Kodi Miller; HR-Kodi Miller.
Kodi Miller’s home run in the bottom of the seventh gave the Post 60 team a walkoff 7-6 victory over Brainerd on Wednesday evening.
Myles Gunderson took the win on the mound for Grand Rapids, pitching the final 2 1/3 innings and giving up one run on three hits while striking out two and hitting one batter. Gideon Beck started the game on the mound for Post 60 and pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up five runs – only one of which was earned – on six hits. He struck out three, walked three and hit one batter.
Miller had the home run and scored two runs and drove in two more while Gunderson had a two-run single. Kyle Henke added a RBI single.
“We showed some grit and perseverance and didn’t quit,” said Kinnunen. “We came back and got a big win to get to Friday’s game. We need the older kids to carry us in these playoff situations and Kodi came up big. He is seeing the ball really well right now and he had two home runs on the day. I hope he can keep it up for the duration of the tournament and hopefully into the state tournament.”
B 003 201 0— 6 9 0
GR 000 321 1 — 7 5 3
Grand Rapids: Myles Gunderson (W); 2B-Andrew Sundberg; HR-Kodi Miller.
Post 60 remained unbeaten in the tournament with a 12-3 win over Hermantown in play Thursday.
The game actually was closer than the final score indicates as Hermantown carried a 3-1 lead into the fourth inning. But Grand Rapids broke the game open with an 11-run inning to take a huge lead, one it never let go of.
“We finally got some hits off their guy. He was a tough left-hander for the first four innings and he shut us down,” said Kinnunen. “They showed a lot of grit sticking with it after being down for that long. We were pretty confident; while we hadn’t scored any runs but we had hit a lot of balls hard right at people and we knew if we just kept plugging away and swinging at good pitches that they would start falling in.”
Ren Morque pitched all seven innings for Post 60 to pick up the win on the mound. Just as important was the fact he was able to hurl a complete game which saved innings for the Grand Rapids pitching staff later in the tournament. Morque allowed three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out two.
“It is always big to get complete games when you are in a tournament situation so you don’t dip into the innings of the other guys,” Kinnunen explained. “Ren did a good job; he started out hot and threw six outstanding innings and he had one bad inning where he gave up three when he got the ball up a little bit. Then he brought it back down and he was fine.”
Morque also helped himself at the plate as he ripped out three hits, scored two runs and drove in three. Ben Keske had two hits, scored three runs and drove in another while Kyle Henke had two hits, scored a run and had two RBIs. David Wohlers had a big grand slam home run for Post 60, finishing with the four RBIs and scoring a pair of runs. Kodi Miller added a double.
H 000 300 0— 3 7 2
GR 100 0110 x — 12 11 1
Grand Rapids: Ren Morque (W); 2B-Kodi Miller; HR-David Wohlers.