With one loss on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of July, the St. James American Legion team had to win four games in two days this past weekend to make it to the American Legion State Tournament. That’s a tall order for any team.

    They won both games on Friday at Truman. The St. James Legion first beat Springfield 2-0. Then they beat Windom 4-0 to advance to play Luvern on Saturday at Truman.

    The big problem for the Legion boys was Luvern was rested.  Having gone undefeated last weekend, Luvern did not play on Friday.

    On Saturday, St. James fell to Luvern 7-3. Winning two out of three usually isn’t bad, but this time it didn’t get St. James to the American Legion State Tourney.     


St. James shuts out   Springfield 2-0

    When one loss means you’re out of the tournament, St. James opened with Sam Carlson on the mound. Carlson has been the teams most dominant pitcher this summer.  

    Down the stretch Carlson has given up just two earned runs in 53 innings.

    In the first game on Friday, he shut out  Springfield giving up just two hits.  

    St. James scored the only runs of the game in their first at bat.  Anthony Stordalen and Craig Nelson walked, and Ryan Menssen singled them in.  

    Carlson can be dominant and he was in the game against Springfield.      Only two runners made it to second. One of them got there after making it to first on an error. Carlson gave up singles in the first and the third.

    He struck out nine and he struck out the side in the third. He walked one and hit one batter.

    St. James managed only four single themselves, but the Menssen single came with two on and that was the ball game.


St. James 4-0 over Windom

    That win over Springfield let St. James advance to play Windom, which was the Legion team that beat them the week before.

    St. James got their second complete game shutout of the day when Nick Anderson picked up the win for the Legion.

    Both teams were scoreless until the third, when Zack Gleiter singled and eventually scored.

    Sam Carlson scored one more in the sixth after he reached first base on a single.

    St. James finished scoring in the seventh when Ryan Menssen scored on a suicide squeeze laid down by Walker Froehling.  

    The third baseman fielded the ball and threw to first, while Devon Wolle scored from second base.  Wolle never stopped running on the suicide squeeze attempt. St. James rapped out ten hits in the game.  

    Anderson struck out two in his four hit complete game win.


Luvern 7 St. James 3


    On Saturday St. James came up short against Luvern 7-3.  

    St. James had two early leads1-0 after one and 2-1 in the third, but Luvern scored four in the bottom half of the third for a lead they would not relinquish. Though they had three hits in that inning, Luvern’s four run outburst was helped by a hit batsman, a walk, and a couple of passed balls.  

    Luvern added two in the fifth to top off the scoring.

    Anthony Stordalen opened the scoring up for St. James by singling and scoring in the first.

    Zack Gleiter singled and scored in the third to give the Legion their second lead of the game. Gleiter also doubled in Nick Beckius who also doubled in the fourth inning to cut the Luvern lead to 5-3. But St. James would score no more.              Gleiter went 3-4 in the game, Beckius went 2-3 and Stordalen went 2-4. The Legion had 11 hits in the game, which was the team’s best output in the three tourney games.

    Stordalen started and took the loss. He pitched the first three innings and Ryan Menssen came in and pitched innings four through six.

    The St. James American Legion season ends witha a 20-4 record.  A lot of people connected with summer baseball in St. James say this is the first time the Legion has played for the District Championship.  

    The team has earned a second place trophy, but I’m sure all of  the players would loved to have advanced to State.

    Coach Tim Pinke said, “The kids played hard all year. Anything they achieved they earned through hard work.”

    This is a young team.  Most of the starters will be back next year. Carlson will be back next year and Kyle Pinke should be returning from a knee injury.  

    This youth also might be a positive indicator for how the first season of the  St. James Area team might turn out.

    Baseball always offers the promise of next year. However, it’s always tough to end a great year just a few wins short of a championship.