The Grand Rapids Post No. 60 American Legion baseball team, trailing by a run entering the fifth inning, tallied seven runs in the final three innings on Monday to catch and then defeat Cloquet 9-3 in action in Cloquet.
Trailing 3-2 entering the fifth inning, Rapids took the lead for good with a pair of runs and then it added four more runs in the sixth inning to pull away for an 8-3 lead. Post No. 60 added one final run in the seventh inning.
“We had the weekend off so we were a little rusty to start with but we got better as the game went on,” said Grand Rapids manager Bill Kinnunen. “I would say our defensive effort was average and it could have been better as Cloquet had no earned runs.”
The game started out well for Post No. 60 as Gideon Beck and Grant Anderson led off the game with back-to-back doubles off Cloquet starting pitcher Kayden Crane. Grand Rapids would hold the 1-0 lead until Cloquet tied the game with a run off Post No. 60 pitcher Anderson in the third inning.
Grand Rapids regained the lead with a run in the top of the fourth inning but Cloquet retaliated with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-2 advantage.
That’s when the Grand Rapids offense picked it up as it tallied two runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead, and then it broke the game open with the four runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Anderson pitched the distance to pick up the victory on the mound for Grand Rapids. In his seven innings of work he allowed three runs – none of which were earned – while allowing five hits, striking out two, walking one hitter and hitting two more.
“Grant threw a good game,” Kinnunen said. “The complete game saves innings for other guys because you have to have a lot of pitching when you play our schedule. All we are doing is preparing for the playoffs in getting our arms ready because in that double-elimination format you have to play a lot of games.
“It also took a while for the bats to wake up in the game.”
Ty Karnes was 3-for-3 with a walk for Post No. 60 while Anderson had two hits with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Wyatt Zuehlke had two hits with a run scored and a RBI.
Grand Rapids played Hibbing on the road Tuesday night and then will face Superior in a doubleheader at Bob Streetar Field in Grand Rapids with the first game set to begin at 5 p.m. The team will then be off until Tuesday, July 9, when it faces a good West Duluth team at Wade Stadium in Duluth starting at 5:30 p.m. Post No. 60 will then play in the Gopher Classic which starts Friday, July 12.
“West Duluth is a combination of Duluth Denfeld and Duluth Marshall, the two schools that won the Section 7 championships from Class AA and Class AAA,” said Kinnunen. “It’s a league game and they are loaded. It would be a big win if we could win on Tuesday with those two teams coming off state tournaments and Marshall winning it.
“They’ve got some real talent, that’s for sure, and we will find out where we stand.”
Grand Rapids 100 124 1—9 9 2
Cloquet 001 200 0—3 5 4
Grand Rapids: Grant Anderson (W) and Owen Linder; Cloquet: Kayden Crane (L) and Jack Huhta; 2B-Gideon Beck, Grant Anderson, Collin Dibb.