Anderson, Sleepy Eye VFW walk it off against Chaska in 9

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Sleepy Eye VFW players celebrate in the infield at Johnson Park after Mark Anderson (#14, far right) walked to bring in the winning run on Saturday against Chaska.

NEW ULM — It took longer than anticipated for Sleepy Eye VFW on Saturday afternoon at Johnson Park, but the hard work and patience paid off in the end.

After Sleepy Eye’s Mark Anderson walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Sleepy Eye earned a 2-1 walk-off win over Chaska in extra innings of the Second District VFW Baseball Tournament semifinals.

Sleepy Eye is now one win away from advancing to the state tournament and will next play at noon Sunday at Johnson Park in a championship game. A second game will be played at approximately 2:30 p.m. Sunday should Sleepy Eye lose its noon game.

Anderson, who was dealing with a difficult contact in one of his eyes prior to his final plate appearance, didn’t let that issue bother him in the bottom of the ninth with two outs as he stayed patient at the plate and took a full-count walk from Chaska reliever Isaac Whicker, scoring Arian Saenz from third.

“During the inning before, my contact had just gotten screwed up in my eye,” Anderson said. “When I came up here [to bat], I had to take it out, but then I put it back in. And then he [Whicker] just kept painting outside. It was good fastballs outside, but I kind of just had to take.”

Marcus Martinez also stayed tough for Sleepy Eye on the mound, pitching all nine innings in the win and giving up nine hits for one earned run. He struck out six.

“I knew that I had to step up and just try to strike them out,” Martinez said. “But when I didn’t do that, my defense was there helping.”

Martinez added that being one win away from state meant everything to him.

“It means everything,” Martinez said. “I haven’t been to a championship in baseball, so it’s nice getting there.”

Saenz, Austin Uecker and Spencer Osmonson led Sleepy Eye in the hits column with two apiece.

Chaska struck first in the fifth inning on a sac fly RBI from its starting pitcher Mason Tangen, who pitched eight innings and earned the the no decision.

After stranding two runners in the bottom of the sixth inning, Sleepy Eye had one more chance in the bottom of the seventh to tie it up or win. The seventh inning saw three Chaska errors and Sleepy Eye capitalize on a grounder from Uecker that scored Nolan Domeier from third.

Domeier reached second to lead off after an error and advanced to third on a sac bunt from Jonny Petermann.

In the ninth inning, Saenz reached on an error with one out before Osmonson singled into left field. A fielder’s choice by Caden Evers allowed Saenz to move up to third, and after a stolen base by pinch runner Winsten Nienhaus, Owen Weiss was walked intentionally with two outs. Anderson then drew the count full and walked to bring home the winning run.


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