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No. 8 seed DL upsets top-seeded Blues at Legion tournament

Detroit Lakes players celebrate their victory against Moorhead on Thursday in Perham. FORUM NEWS SERVICE/Robert Williams

PERHAM, Minn. – Connor Johnson pitched a six-hitter as No. 8-seeded Detroit Lakes upset the No. 1-seeded Moorhead Blues 2-1 on Thursday at Krueger Field in the Minnesota Division I Substate 14 American Legion baseball tournament.

“I felt good after the first inning. I felt really good,” said Johnson.

The DL defense aided Johnson’s effort, turning three double plays and cutting down a squeeze bunt scoring attempt by Moorhead at the plate.

Johnson turned DL’s third double play himself, catching a popped-up sacrifice bunt in the top of the ninth. Johnson’s throw to first was in time to catch Drew Anderson at the bag and smack down any late rally by the Blues in a huge win for the young DL squad.

“After a rough year like we had, it’s huge,” Johnson said.

Sam Beck led off the top of the third inning with a solo shot over the wall in left field for a 1-0 Detroit Lakes lead.

The two teams exchanged a run each in the seventh.

DL took a 2-0 lead on a two-out single by Matt Bergren to score Matt Haire in the top half off Moorhead starter Preston Kraiter.

Moorhead answered with a leadoff double by Jared Benson. Benson scored on a fielder’s choice to shortstop off the bat of Brett Erickson to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Tyler Oberg kept Detroit Lakes off the scoreboard in two innings of relief.

Kraiter pitched out of a few jams, as DL left the bases loaded in the first two innings and left a total of a dozen on base for the game.

“We did leave a lot of guys on,” said Johnson. “That’s kind of rough, because I have no run support.”

Kraiter walked four and fanned eight, allowing two earned runs on nine hits in seven innings.

Johnson scattered six hits over nine innings striking out four and walking two.

No. 8 Detroit Lakes will face No. 4 Alexandria at 4 p.m. Friday.

“Their top pitcher is out,” Johnson said. “We have a good opportunity to hit the ball well against them, like we did against Moorhead.”

No. 1 Moorhead faces No. 5 Thief River Falls in an elimination game at 10 a.m. Friday.

DL     001      000     100–2  11    3

M      000      000     100–1    6    3

Johnson and Beck. Kraiter, Oberg and Skjefte. W–Johnson. L–Kraiter. HR–DL, Beck.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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