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Legion splits at RF tourney

Hudson pitcher Jeff Schmitz delivers a pitch to the plate on his way to a complete-game, four-hit victory over Red Wing Saturday morning at the River Falls Classic American Legion Baseball Tournament. Hudson erupted for eight runs in the top of the third on their way to an 11-2 victory. Bob Burrows photo

The Hudson American Legion baseball team went 2-2 at the Falls Classic Tournament in River Falls over the weekend, but both wins came in domineering fashion.

Hudson opened play by losing to eventual tournament champions Chippewa Falls, 15-1, Friday night bet responded with an 11-2 pounding of Red Wing in its first game Saturday. After losing to Rosemount, Minn., 6-3, later Saturday, Hudson came back to dispose of Rosetown, Minn., 10-0 in five innings in the fifth place game.

"It was a great way to finish the tournament on a strong note and gain some momentum heading into next week's games," Hudson coach Dan Pavlue said, referring to contests at home against Prescott Wednesday and on the road at Ellsworth Thursday.

The tournament started on a sour note when Chippewa Falls erupted for eight runs in the top of the fourth on its way to handing Hudson a 15-1 defeat Friday night. Hudson's only run came in the bottom of the fourth when Andy Edholm singled, went to second on a base hit by Kory Koller, and scored on a single by Eric Weiss.

The three hits in the inning were the only ones in the game for Hudson.

"That was a real tough way to start the tournament," Pavlue said. "Obviously we struggled both on offense and defense, but you have to tip your hat to the opposing team. They came out and played an excellent ballgame from the first to last pitch. We have seen Chippewa Falls five times this season and every game has been close except this one, but that's baseball."

Saturday morning against Red Wing, Jeff Schmitz pitched a complete-game four-hitter and Koller and Edholm combined for five RBI in an 11-2 Hudson win.

Koller, Edholm and Austin Lenzen all doubled and finished with two hits in the victory. Koller also scored twice and drove in three runs, and Edholm scored twice and had two RBI.

Schmitz allowed just one earned run while striking out two and walking three.

"The players did a great job of bouncing back after a tough loss Friday night," Pavlue said. "They easily could have packed it in and gave up the rest of the tournament, but I think Friday's loss actually motivated them to come back and prove to the tournament field that they are a much better team."

Hudson batters showed plenty of patience at the plate by walking a total of 13 times in the game.

Saturday afternoon against Rosemount, Hudson took a 3-0 lead into the fifth before Rosemount scored four runs in the bottom of the inning and added two more in the sixth to escape with a 6-3 victory.

"That was maybe the toughest game of the season," Pavlue said. "I really liked the way we jumped out to an early lead, but we struggled to put the game away in the late innings, something we have had trouble with throughout the season."

Hudson scored twice in the second on RBI singles by Derek Krumrei and Jake Hayes and took a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Krumrei singled, went to second on a walk to Hayes, and scored from there on consecutive passed balls.

Lenzen went four innings on the mound and allowed four earned runs on four hits with one strikeout and six walks while Edholm allowed two earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks over the final two frames.

"Even though we didn't come out on top of this game, we learned a lot of valuable lessons which we can use throughout the remainder of the season," Pavlue said.

In Sunday's fifth place game against Rosetown, Hayes singled, doubled and tripled and Koller had two hits, including a three-run homer in Hudson's five-run second, and Gordon Johnson had two hits and RBI and two runs scored in a 10-0 victory.

"I'm really proud of Cory Larson and the way he was able to come back and pitch an excellent game after getting knocked around pretty hard on Friday night." Pavlue said. "If we can duplicate the way we played on Sunday and bring that same intensity, emotion and aggressiveness to every single game, I have confidence that there are very few teams that can handle us."

Hudson, now 9-7 on the season, will host Prescott at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 15 at Grandview Park and face Ellsworth a 5 p.m. Thursday, July 16.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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