Albion’s American Legion Senior baseball team concluded its 2008 season hosting the Class B Area 5 district tournament at the local sports complex July 22-29.
Albion opened the tourney with a victory over Pierce in a match-up of the #8 & #9 seeds, then lost consecutive contests to Central City and St. Paul to finish the summer campaign 9-14 overall.
Albion 10, Pierce 5
With an uncharacteristic display of power, the Albion Seniors rode season-highs of three home runs and six extra-base hits to a 10-5 victory over Pierce Tuesday, July 22, in the opening game of the 2008 Area 5 tournament.
The locals got off to a lightning-fast start against Pierce pitcher Sam Kaschke, taking a 7-0 lead in the first two innings.
Kraig Flanagan, batting third, got Albion’s bat fireworks started with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. Clean-up hitter Greg Young followed with another home run for a 3-0 advantage.
Brent Dawson led off the second by reaching on a Pierce error and, with one out, Ethan Salber blasted his first home run for a 5-0 lead. Harner followed with a walk, Kalvin Zoucha doubled and both scored on RBI singles by Flanagan and Young.
Nate Beltz relieved Kaschke at that point and held Albion to a single run over the next three innings – Young driving home Zoucha in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Flanagan cruised through five innings, ringing up 11 strikeouts. Momentarily misplacing his control, he allowed one run in the third with a pair of walks and two hit batsmen, but fanned the side in both the second and fourth frames. Pierce used a walk and two singles to add two runs in the fifth before Flanagan halted the threat with two more Ks.
Zoucha took over mound duties in the sixth and allowed a pair of two-out runs before Young got the final out of the inning. Young also pitched the seventh and struck out all four batters he faced.
Flanagan earned the victory with a one-hitter and Young picked up the save. Flanagan drove in four runs with three hits and Young plated three, also with three hits.
Cen. City 5, Albion 1
Night and day.
As hot as Albion’s bats were against Pierce, they were equally as cold Wednesday in a 5-1 loss to tournament top-seed Central City.
Central City pitcher Kyle Nelson was dominant, firing a complete-game one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and just two walks. Albion had just four total baserunners in the contest.
Central City scored the only runs it would need in the bottom of the first as Nelson singled, Ben Clausen doubled and Matt Clausen drove home both with a sharp single to right field.
Albion starter Young settled down from there and did not allow further damage until the fifth when Central City sandwiched two base hits around two Albion errors for a pair of runs.
Overall, Young pitched well enough to have the locals in the game, allowing four earned runs while scattering eight hits and striking out eight. Dawson had Albion’s only hit and Flanagan scored the lone run after walking in the seventh.
St. Paul 11, Albion 4
Walks, errors, St. Paul bats and a solid relief effort by Mike Knapp ended Albion’s season in an 11-4 loss to St. Paul Thursday.
Flanagan and Greg Young scored runs on a St. Paul miscue and Brent Dawson’s RBI single to forge a 3-3 tie in the third inning, but the wheels came off for the locals in the fourth.
In that fourth frame, St. Paul parlayed three walks, two Albion misplays and four hits into seven runs. The big blow of the inning was a three-run homer by Matt Cooper that boosted the lead to 10-3.
Young and Flanagan held St. Paul in check over the final three innings, but Albion could scratch out just one more run after Knapp took the mound in the fourth, Young singling home Zoucha in the sixth.
Zoucha, the first of four Albion pitchers, took the loss. Young had another big night at the plate with three hits, a run scored and one driven in. Zoucha, Ryan Shotkoski, Brett Nelson and Dawson each had one hit in the contest.