Gallery: A.L. VFW wins in extra inningsPublished 8:36pm Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Albert Lea VFW baseball team fought back from an early deficit Wednesday to take the lead and win 7-6 in eight innings over Faribault.
Faribault jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Wyatt Paulsen started the game on the mound for Albert Lea.
“I let him work through those first couple innings so he could build up some confidence,” Albert Lea head coach Ed Bellrichard said.
Paulsen did just that, and he didn’t allow another run for the next four innings.
The Tigers responded to their four-run deficit by scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. Kole Smith scored Albert Lea’s first run of the game on a hit by Parker Mullenbach, and two more Tigers scored within seconds of each other on consecutive throwing errors.
Faribault threatened to extend its lead in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third, but a running catch by Albert Lea centerfielder Tanner Bellrichard ended the inning.
Albert Lea took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth (5-4).
Chris Enderson started the fireworks with a lead-off base hit. Mason Hammer and Smith loaded the bases with no outs. Faribault managed to get two outs without giving up any runs, but Albert Lea tied the game at six on a passed ball. The Tigers took the lead moments later on another passed ball.
Paulsen hit his stride on the mound in the top of the sixth: three up, three down.
“The first couple innings were rough, but after you settle in, it’s a little easier,” Paulsen said. “You get into a grove.”
In the bottom of the sixth, a triple by Hammer on a fielding error scored Enderson to give Albert Lea a two-run advantage.
However, Faribault rallied to knot the score at six. Faribault threatened to take the lead, but a hit near the warning track was caught by Bellrichard in center field to end the inning.
“He ran a long way to track that one down, and they were rallying,” coach Bellrichard said.
After no runs were scored in the bottom of the seventh, the game went to extra innings. The Tigers defense held fast and didn’t allow any runs in the top of the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth, Paulsen received a base on balls. He stole second, and a shot down the third-base line by Enderson was enough to allow Paulsen to beat the throw to home plate to score the winning run.
After a slow start to the season, Albert Lea has won three of its last four games. The Tigers have a 3-6 overall record.