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VFW goes 2-2 in action-packed week

Staff Writer
St. James Plaindealer
Connor Jones dives in ahead of a throw back home following a passed ball against Maple River on Tuesday night.

Last Wednesday, the St. James VFW roster picked up two wins at home on Veteran's Field to sandwich a pair of losses against Mankato West on Saturday.

Wednesday's action saw Logan Carlson toss a complete game against Mankato East.

St. James opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, as Tyler Chapin scored on an errant throw, and Connor Jones scored on a fielder's choice. 

Carlson allowed leadoff hitters to reach in each of the first three innings but danced out of danger each time.

Cooper Olson singled to score a pair in the bottom of the fourth. Jack Westman pushed across another on a groundout to make it a 5-0 lead for the VFW.

Carlson took a shutout into the sixth, but surrendered three hits and was tagged for a pair of runs.

A pair of losses against Mankato West on Saturday did little to discourage the up and coming VFW on Tuesday against Maple River, and rebounded for an impressive win on the right arm of Carlson and some heads up baserunning.

Carlson dueled with Max Nelson through three innings, including a top of the third where Carlson was able to induce a 1-2-3 double play to work out of a bases-loaded jam.

After Carlson struck out the side in the top of the fourth, St.  James finally scraped across a run.

Connor Jones worked a one-out walk. After a Hunter Stevens strikeout, Tanner Olson worked a walk, and Carlson beat out an infield single, loading the bases.

Nelson delivered a pitch that skipped past catcher Brady Walters. Jones started towards the plate, then receded back towards third. Carlson was caught too far off first, and drew a throw from Walters.

As first baseman Isiah Anderson decided what to with the ball, Jones jumped towards home and beat the low throw from Anderson to put St. James on the board.

"We try to get working on this walking lead thing where your momentum is going to the catcher as he catches it and if it gets by him you have a chance to score," said head coach Landis Froehling. [Connor] had a good jump, he had a good lead, he did everything right except he stopped. And then the snowball fight began and things changed but you need some breaks like that once in a while."

Nelson managed to escape further damage and was pulled after the inning, allowing just the one run on just two hits.

"He threw a lot of strikes— and it should be easier to hit those guys who throw a lot of strikes— but he kind of dropped it down to like a submarine every once in a while so I think that the different look was confusing to our kids."

Carlson worked himself out of another jam in the fifth, striking out Bolton Simon on a slider and getting Devin Word to chop out to Jones at short.

St. James scored two more in the bottom of the fifth to give their starter some breathing room. After Chapin legged out a two-out infield single, Jones flew a lazy fly ball out towards left that was dropped, allowing Chapin and Jack Westman to score.

Maple River finally got on the board in the top of the sixth on a single up the middle. With two runners in scoring position, Chapin made a stellar play, ranging all the way from second base into shallow right field back behind first to record the second out of the inning. Carlson got out of the inning on a groundout.

In the top of the seventh, Carlson shut the door after hitting the leadoff batter, clinching a well-fought 3-1 win.