Before taking off last week for the holiday, the Owatonna VFW9 baseball team — which consists of players who just finished their freshman year of high school — took down Mantorville, 6-4, on Wednesday, June 26.
Three days later, Post 3723 broke into a pair of groups and finished 2-0 against Cannon Falls on Saturday, June 29 at Chuck Fuller Field. The 10th grade team won, 6-3, before the freshman group took the nightcap, 14-7.
Owatonna VFW9 6, Mantorville 4
MANTORVILLE — Trailing by two runs after three innings, Post 3723 out-scored Mantorville 6-2 over the final four frames to pick up the win.
Sam Knoll and Taylor Bogen each produced run-scoring hits in the top of the fourth to help level the score before Caleb Vereide gave Owatonna the lead for good with a two-run single in the fifth. Nick Williams walked with the bases loaded in the sixth before Eli Knutson drove in the game’s final run with a double one inning later.
A number of players contributed to Owatonna’s 14-hit attack. Leadoff batter Vereide and Grant Achterkirch each finished 3-for-4 while Bogen and Dylan Maas added two hits apiece.
Vereide gutted out the victory on the mound, lasting six innings before Knutson took over in the seventh. Vereide scattered seven hits, allowed three runs (all earned), struck out five and walked just two.
Owatonna VFW 10 6, Cannon Falls 3
Payton Beyer stuffed the stat sheet as Post 3723 held on for the victory despite committing three errors and allowing Cannon Falls Post 4452 close the gap by surredering two runs in the top of the seventh at Dartts Park.
Beyer, who will be entering his junior year at OHS this fall, finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, three steals and two runs-scored in the leadoff spot for Post 3723. He drove in a run to give Owatonna a 2-0 lead in the second and blew the game open with a sharp RBI single to make it 6-1 in the fifth.
Gavin Rein finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. He drove in what would turned out to be the game-deciding run in the bottom of the fourth. Connor Budach slugged the team’s only extra base hit with a double in the bottom of the first.
Jacob Meiners tossed six solid innings to earn the victory, allowing just three hits and one run along the way. He struck out six and walked one.
Owatonna VFW9 14, Cannon Falls 7
The teams combined to score 13 runs in the first inning alone as Owatonna produced all of its offense in just two frames at Dartts Park.
Trailing 4-0 after just a half inning, Owatonna Post 3723 answered by exploding for nine runs in the bottom of the frame. The rally included four singles, four walks and a pair of Cannon Falls errors. Owatonna put the first eight batters on base and led 5-4 before Post 4452 recorded the first out.
Dylas Maas got the party started with a two-run single before a basehit by Taylor Bogen and three consecutive walks made it 5-4. Owatonna added four more runs with two outs on back-to-back fielding errors.
Post 3723 scored five runs in a wild fifth inning that started with back-to-back-to-back hit batsman. Nick Williams, Maas, Jack Helget and Payton Neumann each finished with one RBI in the rally.
Batting second, Williams finished 3-for-4 with a triple and one RBI to pace the Owatonna offense. Helget coaxed four walks, scored one run and finished with one RBI. Neumann drove in a team-high three runs.
Post 3723 wraps up the regular season next week with games at Stewartville on July 15 and at home against Red Wing on July 16. The postseason begins on Saturday, July 20.
Owatonna 6, Mantorville 4
OWA 000 221 1—6 14 0
MANT 020 010 1—4 10 0
Owatonna leading hitters: Grant Achterkirch 3-4, Caleb Vereide 3-4, Taylor Bogen 2-4, Dylan Maas 2-3
Owatonna pitching: Vereide, W (6IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 5K, 2BB), Eli Knutson (1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0K, 1BB)
Owatonna 6, Cannon Falls 3
CF 000 100 2—3 5 2
OWA 110 321 X—6 8 3
Owatonna leading hitters: Payton Beyer 3-4 (2 RBI), Gavin Rein 1-3 (2 RBI), Connor Budach 1-3 (2B)
Owatonna pitching: Jacob Meiners, W (6IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 6K, 1BB), Payton Beyer, S (1IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 3K, 1BB)
Owatonna 14, Cannon Falls 7
CF 400 100 2—7 12 4
OWA 900 050 X—14 8 3
Owatonna leading hitters: Nick Williams 3-4 (3B, RBI), Dyland Maas 1-4 (3 RBI), Taylor Bogen 1-3 (2 R, RBI)
Owatonna pitching: No stats available