Franta homers WBE to title

TRUMAN – Thirty-seven runs crossed the plate on the strength of 49 hits, including 15 for extra bases, before David Franta’s solo home run in the top of the eighth inning swung the American Legion Division II, Sub-District ‘C’ baseball championship to Winnebago Post 82/Blue Earth Post 89.

Franta cranked a low fastball over the right-field fence to stake WBE to a 7-6 lead before the right-handed reliever sealed the one-run, extra-inning comeback victory over St. James Post 33 in Game 2 by pitching a scoreless bottom of the eighth on Sunday in Truman.

Both Winnebago/Blue Earth (13-3) and St. James (14-5) advance to the 2nd District Tournament in Milroy. The two teams’ opponents and game times will be determined this week.

“I thought we had it (sub-district) won when we took the (12-11) lead behind Brandyn’s (Olsen) two-run double and Christian’s (Haugh) two-run single in the top of the seventh in the first game,” said WBE head coach Steve Sonnicksen. “But like the entire day, no lead seemed safe with these two teams hitting.”

Walker Froehling played a pivotal role in helping St. James force a second game in the double-elimination postseason tournament.

Froehling, who went 7-for-8 during the five-hour marathon session, delivered the game-tying RBI single during the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 1 before scoring the game-winning run on Kyle Pinke’s sacrifice fly with one out to propel St. James to a 13-12 victory over WBE.

WBE, who blanked St. James, 6-0, behind Brady Anderson’s shutout on Friday, used Brandyn Olsen’s solo home run and back-to-back singles by Haugh and Seth Anderson to grab an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first of Game 2.

Post 33, however, did not stay scoreless for long as it manufactured a solo run in the second inning behind one of four WBE errors on the game.

Franta, who went 5-for-8 on the twinbill, singled and eventually scored one of his seven runs over the two-game span on Seth Anderson’s second RBI single in the top of the third.

Froehling and Ryan Menssen singled in back-to-back fashion with one out in the St. James half of the third before eventually crossing the plate on Sam Carlson’s RBI fielder’s choice and WBE’s ensuing error for a 3-all tie.

WBE scratched out a solo run in the top of the fourth for a 4-3 lead, but St. James answered with three runs in the home half via Zack Gleiter’s RBI single and Carlson’s run-scoring double to grab a 6-4 edge.

Brady Anderson and Dallas Barslou combined for three shutout innings of relief for WBE to keep the visitors within striking distance, while Carlson did likewise for St. James until the top of the eighth.

Franta proved the catalyst behind WBE’s two-run seventh at-bat that knotted Game 2 at 6-all. Franta singled off of St. James starting pitcher Jacob Ziemer before Derrick Shupe stepped to the hill in relief.

Olsen legged out an infield hit before Franta scored on a wild pitch to Haugh. Shupe then hit Haugh with a delivery before Carlson was called to the mound.

The Post 33 right-hander recorded two of his six strikeouts before the St. James shortstop mishandled Luke Schavey’s grounder and threw the baseball away at first base to allow Olsen to score the tying run.

Barslou worked a four-batter scoreless seventh for WBE before Carlson fanned the first two batters during the top of the eighth.

“As hard as he (Carlson) throws, if you make solid contact with it, it’s going to go a long way,” said Franta.

Franta did exactly that, hitting a fastball over the fence for a solo home run before Carlson struck out the next WBE batter.

Devin Wolle gave St. James a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth by lining a leadoff single before moving into scoring position on Nick Beckius’ sacrifice bunt.

Wolle advanced to third on Gleiter’s fielder’s choice before Sonnicksen set up a force play by intentionally walking the hot-hitting Froehling with two out. Franta, who moved to the hill to start the eighth, then got a flyout to end the game.

Olsen went a combined 6-for-10, with a solo homer and two doubles, en route to four RBIs and four runs scored for WBE.

Froehling scored four runs and collected three RBIs to complement his seven-hit performance for St. James, while Gleiter went 5-for-9 with two doubles, a triple and six runs scored during the two-game span.

(Game 1)

WBE 113 120 4 – 12 14 3

STJ 101 621 2 – 13 14 8

Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

David Franta (LP) and Carter Hanson. Kyle Pinke, David Bradley (3), Ryan Menssen (5, WP) and Menssen, Tyler Witcraft (5).

LOB-WBE 9, St. James 6. 2B-WBE: Brandyn Olsen 2, Dallas Barslou, Franta. St. James: Zack Gleiter 2, Walker Froehling, Sam Carlson, John Olsen, Zach Brandts. 3B-Menssen (SJ), Brandts (SJ). SF-Seth Anderson (WBE), Pinke (SJ), Nick Beckius (SJ). SAC-Luke Schavey (BEA) 2.

(Game 2)

WBE 201 100 21 – 7 10 4

STJ 012 300 00 – 6 12 4

Jack Kennedy, Brady Anderson (5), Dallas Barslou (7), Franta (8, WP) and Hanson. Jacob Ziemer, Derrick Shupe (7), Carlson (7, LP) and Menssen.

LOB-WBE 11, St. James 9. 2B-Carlson (SJ). 3B-Gleiter (SJ). HR-B. Olsen (WBE), Franta (WBE). SAC-Beckius (SJ) 2, Kennedy (WBE).