The Le Sueur-Henderson Legion baseball team played four games, winning two and losing one, with another game rained out, in the New Ulm Tournament on the July 5 weekend. LS-H's final victory involved a 13-run comeback.
Creighton Preparatory School ultimately advanced from the Giants' pool to the finals, where it was defeated by New Ulm 12-8. New Ulm went on to win the championship against Chaska 4-3.
LS-H collected an early victory against Waconia on the first day. It was a close game, with the Giants edging out a 5-4 win. Waconia took the lead in the first inning, putting one run on the board and knocking down the Giants 1-2-3.
However, the Giants came back in the second, with Tom Gupton hitting a double and being batted in by Tyler Pengilly. LS-H collected another two runs when Burke Nesbit was knocked in by Tristen O Brien, and Zack Berndt advanced home due to an error by Waconia’s catcher. Waconia took back the lead in the sixth, collecting three runs, but the Giants again respondent in the seventh and final inning with Mitch Casperson and Jayce Luna both being batted in by Nesbit to secure the victory.
The Giants took on Creighton Preparatory School later that evening and ran out to an 8-3 lead. Unfortunately for the Giants, the game was cut short in the fifth inning when other games in the tournament were rained out, so the game did not count as a victory in the tournament. However, it is being counted as a victory in the team's official season stats.
In the first half of the game, Creighton Prep held the lead, putting two runs on the board in the second inning. Nevertheless, it was LS-H’s game in the third and fourth innings. The Giants collected three runs in the third. Casperson and Nesbit were batted in by Gupton, who also took home thanks to a single by Berndt.
The fourth inning went even better for LS-H, with the team accumulating five runs. Pengilly and Luna led the fourth hitting singles while Charlie Weick took a walk. The bases were loaded for Logan Kahlow, who hit a single and knocked in Pengilly. Casperson hit a sacrifice fly that advanced Weick home, and Luna scored after Gupton took a walk. Berndt hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Kahlow to collect a run and a double by Tristen O Brien let Nesbit produce LS-H’s final run.
Coming into July 6, the second day of the tournament, the Giants met their match with Rosetown, losing 3-0.
The Giants put down Rosetown 1-2-3 in the first, third and fifth innings, including center fielder Burke Nesbit catching three fly outs in a row in the first. While the Giants could field, they just could not hit. Rosetown collectedone run in the fourth and two runs in the sixth, enough to win the game.
Hitting wasn’t an issue for the Giants when they faced off against Sleepy Eye that evening. LS-H turned out another close victory, winning a thrilling, offensive encounter 16-15, coming back from 13 runs down.
The Sleepy Eye Indians held a strong lead throughout most of the game. They collected two runs in the first and five in the second. By the third inning, the Giants had swapped out pitchers three times to halt Sleepy Eye’s advantage.
O'Brien advanced home in the second inning, and Kahlow collected another run for LS-H in the third, but it was little compared to the Indians’ early onslaught. Sleepy Eye built on their lead further, collecting three runs in the fourth and five runs in the sixth to make it 15-2.
Against the odds, the Giants turned the game around in the sixth, collecting 13 runs in a single inning.
Nearly everyone at bat for the Giants put on a run on the board. O'Brien and David Gupton led the inning by hitting singles and O'Brien collected the Giants’ first run of the inning after being advance off a double from Jayce Luna. Dominic Drent then collected two RBIs, hitting a single that batted in David Gupton and Jayce Luna.
Claydon Luna followed with a single, and both Claydon Luna and Drent were knocked in by a double from Casperson. Tom Gupton hit a sacrifice fly, advancing Casperson home. Nesbit then hit a single and was advance to home after an error by the third baseman, which also put Berndt on first. O Brien, David Gupton, Dominic Drent and Claydon Luna advanced home again, as did Casperson who hit another double and collected two RBIs again.
The game was tied up in the seventh, and LS-H was able to cap off its remarkable comeback with a winning run. Zack Berndt made the tiebreaking score after an error by the Sleepy Eye shortstop.
After the tournament, LS-H’s record stands at 12-5. Burke Nesbit was LS-H’s lead hitter over the course of the tournament, collecting four runs, seven hits and three RBIs.
Ten players pitched for the Giants at New Ulm. Jayce Luna pitched for five innings against Waconia, and Tyler Pengilly and Charlie Weick pitched the sixth and seventh innings respectively. Tom Gupton pitched four innings against Creighton Prep and Tristen O Brien pitched six against Rosetown.
The Giants deployed six pitchers against Sleepy Eye, with Pengilly throwing for the first inning, Dominic Drent pitching for a third of the second and Aidan Gulbranson pitching the final two thirds of the inning. David Gupton threw two innings, as did Claydon Luna, followed by Burke Nesbit in the seventh.
The Giants' tournament lead pitchers were Jayce Luna, who threw five strikeouts and five walks over five innings followed by Tristen O Brien who struck out four batters over six innings and threw two walks.