A big sixth inning doomed the Faribault Post 43 Legion baseball team.
Maintaining the 3-2 lead after five, the Northfield River Rats broke out for four runs in the bottom of the sixth, sending the Post 43 to the 6-3 loss Thursday night on the road.
After opening the game with pairs of scoreless innings by Faribault’s Ayden Qualey and Northfield’s Spencer Mellgren, the River Rats struck first.
Two walks followed by a sacrifice bunt off of Qualey set up Tate Journell for the run-scoring chance.
Journell did not falter the opportunity, coming through with the two-run single, giving Northfield the lead.
Faribault answered back with a run in the top of the fourth after a Jack Knutson fielder’s choice and an error allowed a run to score to make it 2-1.
Qualey bounced back in the bottom of the fourth with a shutout inning to get the Post 43 bats back up to the plate.
Aiden Tobin led off the inning with a single, followed by Qualey helping his own cause with an RBI-triple, tying the game at two apiece.
Faribault’s inning did not end there as Brad Sartor gave the team the lead after a line drive to left field to score Qualey.
Northfield immediately looked to answer back in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases off of Qualey to chase the starter with two outs in the frame.
Turning to Hunter Nelson to put a stop to the rally, the reliever came through to preserve the 3-2 lead after five.
The bottom of the sixth did not follow suit from the fifth.
Loading the bases off of Nelson, the River Rats plated four runs, capped by a Gabe Sawyer run-scoring single to take the 6-3 advantage.
Nolan Stepka closed the door in the top of the seventh to hand Post 43 the defeat.
Tobin led the team at the plate with three hits while Sartor and Qualey each had two base knocks on the night.
Mellgren earned the win for the River Rats by allowing three runs in five innings while Stepka locked down the save with his two shutout innings to end the game. Nelson suffered the defeat, giving up four runs, just one earned in an inning and one third.