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Defense keys sweep over TRF

Brock Johnson picked up the complete-game victory over Thief River Falls Tuesday at Washington Ballpark. (Brian Basham/Tribune)

Defense was the equalizer for the Detroit Lakes Post 15 baseball squad, after giving up a bevy of walks Tuesday against visiting Thief River Falls.

Post 15 managed the sweep by answering a couple of big Bandit early innings and committing just one error in the doubleheader.

"We've eliminated the errors, now we just need to eliminate the walks," said DL head coach Mitch McLeod. "Our pitchers are not trying to walk guys, but they are not going aggressively against the bottom of the order. You need to go after those hitters -- until they prove they can hit you."

The DL pitching combination of Ben Lindquist and Jordan Manning gave a taste of sweet-and-sour in Post 15's 8-6 nightcap win over the Bandits, by striking out 13 TRF batters, but also walking 10.

"I thought each of Ben and Jordan had some good stuff to get those strikeouts," McLeod said. "They just need to be more aggressive in the strike zone."

DL answered a two-run top of the first inning by the Bandits with four runs of its own, to force Thief River Falls to play catch-up the rest of the way through.

It started early, as leadoff batter Max Knoll slapped a double to the left-centerfield gap.

Knoll took third on a grounder to shortstop by Connor McLeod and plated DL's first run on an errant throw-over to first base by the TRF pitcher.

Nate Krohne sent a liner to centerfield for an RBI single to score McLeod, while Kirk McLeod -- who walked -- and Krohne each scored on TRF's second error of the inning.

After giving up two runs off of two singles and a walk, Lindquist settled in for the next three innings to record six strikeouts, but was hindered by four walks and a hit batter to increase his pitch count.

The Bandits forced three consecutive walks and the hit batter in the fourth to score their third run of the game.

DL knocked Thief River Falls' starter out in the third, after Connor McLeod lifted a one-out double and scored on the Bandits' third error of the game to take a 5-2 lead.

Andy Pederson knocked in Brock Johnson, who reached on that previous error, for the 6-2 advantage.

DL added two much-needed runs in the fourth with three hits, including a one-run double by Kirk McLeod, which smashed against the left-center fence.

Second baseman Aaron Gnoinsky added DL's other RBI with a single.

"We put ourselves in some good situations (offensively) and forced some hitters' counts," Mitch McLeod said. "We did hurt ourselves some by making some bad outs by swinging at some bad pitches, though."

The Bandits made a push in the third inning with three runs, with all three coming on a three-run double, but reliever Manning struck out the side to preserve the 8-6 victory.

Defensively, Gnoinsky made a couple of run-saving plays, including a diving stab up the middle to record the force out in the second inning, and a 6-4-3 double play in the top of the seventh that eliminated the Bandits' threat to tie the game.

Catcher Kirk McLeod went 3-3 with two doubles in the second game and went 1-1 in game one to go a perfect 4-4 in the doubleheader.

"Kirk is swinging a good bat now," said his father and coach Mitch McLeod.

Krohne and Pederson also had two hits in DL's 11-hit attack.

Lindquist picked up the win by allowing three hits, three runs, walking six and striking out nine.

Manning notched the save with four walks, four strikeouts and one hit.

Post 15 opened up the two-game night with an answer to a four-run TRF first inning, with a run in the bottom of the opening frame and five more in the second.

"It was a good start to score a run in the first and leaving the bases loaded, which was followed by a five-run second," Mitch McLeod said.

Jordan Manning opened DL's scoring with a bases-loaded walk, while Logan Baker came up with a two-run single in the second.

Knoll also picked up an RBI single, while the Lakers drew four walks in the five-run second.

Connor McLeod put the wrappings on the came with a two-run single in the sixth inning to put DL firmly up 10-4.

Johnson's start was a bit precarious, but he was able to settle in and blank the Bandits the rest of the way for the complete-game, four-hit victory.

Connor McLeod went 3-5, while Brian Labat added an RBI single in the fourth inning.

The Lakers will host Fergus Falls Thursday for a doubleheader, starting at 5 p.m., before heading north for a five-game tournament in Ely Friday-Sunday.

Otters pitch past Post 15

The Fergus Falls pitching staff cut down DL Post 15 batters, holding them to just three hits in a doubleheader sweep Thursday.

Spencer Kidder struck out 14 Laker batters and went for the one-hit complete game as Fergus Falls won 5-0.

In game two, Trever Larson went the distance, limiting DL to two hits for the 6-1 victory.

"They threw some of their best pitchers at us," Mitch McLeod said. "We were in both games, but we couldn't come up with any big hits."

Post 15 results

Thief River Falls at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, July 6.

Bandits 400 000 0 - 4 6 2

Post 15 150 112 x - 10 7 1

Detroit Lakes


M. Knoll 3 2 1 1

K. McLeod 1 2 1 0

C. McLeod 5 1 3 2

T. Manning 2 1 0 0

J. Manning 2 1 0 1

L. Baker 3 1 1 2

N. Baker 3 1 0 0

B. Labat 3 1 1 1

M. Labat 4 0 0 0

Totals 26 10 7 7

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - B. Johnson (WP) 7-6-4-4-na-na.

Bandits 200 103 0 - 6 4 3

Post 15 402 200 x - 8 11 0

Detroit Lakes


Knoll 3 1 1 0

A. Gnoinsky 3 1 1 1

C. McLeod 4 2 1 0

B. Johnson 3 1 0 0

K. McLeod 3 1 3 1

N. Krohne 3 1 2 1

A. Pederson 4 0 2 1

J. Gilson 2 0 0 0

R. Berg 3 1 1 0

Totals 28 8 11 4

2B: Knoll, C. McLeod, K. McLeod (2).

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - B. Lindquist (WP) 4.2-3-3-3-6-9; J. Manning (SV) 2.1-1-3-3-4-4.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.