SLEEPY EYE - Sleepy Eye Legion Post 7 used four runs in each of the first two innings to remain 4-0 on the season. They withstood a late rally by Mankato, including a four-run sixth inning, and held on for a 9-6 home victory.
Jordan Anderson started the game with a sharply hit single to right field. It was the first of five singles in the first inning alone. Mitch Neid drove him in three batters later to start off the scoring. Sleepy Eye batted around in the inning with the eighth hitter, Sam Hirschboek, contributing with a two-RBI single.
"We put the ball in play tonight," manager Scott Salfer said. "They made a few mistakes, and we took advantage. We made some nice baserunning plays."
Several mistakes by Mankato led to runs in the second inning. Mankato pitcher Caleb Johnson walked his first batter and hit his second batter of the inning. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position for Matt Schroepfer. He took advantage and drove them both in with a single. A stolen base allowed Mike Hirsch's single to score Schroepfer from second. The hot team hitting continued as John Brandl scored Hirsch for the fourth run of the inning.
Sleepy Eye added another run in the third inning and looked to be on the verge of a blowout.
On the mound, John Mangen kept Mankato off the board early. He had a shutout going through four innings, and had allowed only four hits.
Mankato did not quit and fought back in the fifth inning. It took advantage of having the top of the order batting. Zach Mullin and Blake Matuska started off with singles. Three-hitter Shane Sellner drove in Mullin with a double, and Ian Schwickert's single later scored Matuska.
Johnson pitched his second straight one, two, three inning to keep the momentum going for Mankato.
"We were facing a tough pitcher, and they really buckled down on defence," Salfer said.
Johnson received the loss with nine runs, five of the earned, and ten hits allowed.
Mistakes by Sleepy Eye put Mankato right back in the game. A throw to first skipped short, making it too difficult for Hirschboek to handle. That allowed Johnson to score and Tyler Hatlestad two extra bases. Mangen was showing signs of fatigue, and a two RBI double by Josh Cook was the end of his outing.
Mangen picked up the win, allowing 11 hits and six runs, only three earned, in five and two thirds innings.
Jordan Anderson came in to relieve Mangen. His first pitch ended up being a passed ball that allowed Mankato its fourth run of the inning. That was the last glipse of hope Anderson gave Mankato. He struck out all four batters he faced in the final inning and a third.
"To finish out the game, Jordan threw hard and strong," Salfer said. "He finished good for us."
Sleepy Eye will face Mahtomedi at 12:30 p.m. in South St. Paul on Saturday. It will then play South St. Paul at 3 p.m.