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Post 15 stays alive with win in Region Nine tournament

FERGUS FALLS - A near-deadly accident in the fourth inning of Detroit Lakes' Post 15 American Legion game against Thief River Falls today turned everyone's thoughts away from playing for a moment.

Luckily for Zach Sorenson, the Thief River Falls catcher who took a foul tip to his windpipe, he ended up okay after a few scary minutes.

The delay didn't derail Detroit Lakes during a game-changing rally that gave it a 15-5 win against Thief River Falls.

The American Legion Region Nine tournament matchup was shortened to seven innings with the mercy rule in play.

Luckily for Zach Sorenson, the Thief River Falls catcher who took a foul tip to his windpipe, he ended up okay after a few scary minutes.

Sorenson doubled over and then rolled over gasping for air. He never lost consciousness and kept on breathing, helped by quick attention given by both coaches.

Ice helped keep down any potential swelling that could have blocked Sorenson from breathing.

And paramedics who arrived on the scene a few minutes later checked Sorenson out and deemed that he was okay.

With all of the commotion behind them, the Detroit Lakes Post 15 side put four more runs on the board after scoring three before Sorenson's injury to take a 7-3 lead.

Two straight doubles from Ben Magnuson and Chris Gilson led off the fourth, with Gilson's double scoring Post 15's first run.

Gilson ended up coming home off of a wild pitch thrown by Thief River Falls pitcher Benjamin Espeseth.

Sorenson suffered his injury during Max Bentley's at-bat. After the 10-minute break, Bentley came right back, hitting an RBI single to score Conner McLeod.

Bentley, Reed Oistad and Jake Kiebke would all score later in the inning on Doug Dickey's grounder that Thief River Falls shortstop Jordan Espeseth let through on an error.

"The big change is when they made the pitching change and we jumped all over them," said Detroit Lakes coach Mitch McLeod.

Detroit Lakes went on to score six more times in the fifth.

A combination of Thief River Falls pitchers allowed four straight singles to lead off the inning.

And then an Aaron Gnoinsky triple cleared the deck. Another Thief River Falls error allowed Gnoinsky to come home.

Magnuson finished the rally with an RBI double that gave Post 15 a 13-4 lead.

Helping to end the game early by putting Detroit Lakes over the 10-run hump to put the mercy rule in effect was Oistad's two-RBI double in the seventh.

"We were just on today, I guess," Oistad said. "We just saw the ball better."

Starting out the game, it was Post 15 on the ropes early.

Thief River Falls took a 1-0 lead in the first with Spencer Sorteberg's RBI triple that brought in Cody Conners from second.

Myles Keefe gave Thief River Falls a 3-0 advantage in the third with a two-run blast to left.

Jordan Espeseth had an RBI single in the fourth to help stem the tide a little before Post 15 opened the game up in the next inning.

Despite the fact that Detroit Lakes was up by 11, Thief River Falls was determined to have the game last a full nine innings.

Conners hit a one-out blast that kept on carrying to right-center field in the eighth. A double by Spencer Johnson gave Thief River Falls the potential to cut Post 15's lead to under 10.

It didn't happen as Detroit Lakes starter Brock Johnson induced a pop fly to himself and then struck out the final batter.

With the offensive show backing him up, Brock Johnson's complete game was over-shadowed somewhat.

Brock Johnson went the distance in striking out 10. The only blemish on his sheet was giving up 10 hits in total. Eight of those came in the first four innings before he settled down.

"The first couple of innings were kind of sketchy," Brock Johnson said. "I calmed down and located the strikes, threw the ball and stayed cool the whole game."

Detroit Lakes plays either East Grand Forks or Perham later at 7 p.m. tonight in a must-win game.

Post 15 stats

Detroit Lakes at Thief River Falls. Friday, August 1.

DL 000 762 0 - 15 15 0

TRF 102 100 1 - 5 10 3

WP: Johnson LP: B. Espeseth

2B: Magnuson (DL) 2, Gilson (DL), Oistad (DL), Conners (T), Gagner (T), Johnson (T). 3B: Gnoinsky (DL), Sorteberg (T). HR: Conners (T), Keefe (T).