Small ball proves difference for Albert Lea

Published 9:12 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In a game that had been a slugfest the whole way through, in the end it took a little small ball for Albert Lea to pull off a 12-10 win Monday over Faribault on the road.

The score stood at 7-6 after the first inning with Albert Lea Post 447 trailing. The scoring went back and forth through the middle innings before Albert Lea (8-2) came through to tie the game in the sixth with three runs.

In the seventh Cory Hansen executed a squeeze play that scored Cole Sorenson for the go-ahead run. Post 447 added another run in the inning for the 12-10 win.

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It was a wild start to the game as Albert Lea tied the game at seven in the top of the second, but then Post 1562 came back to regain the lead with a run in the bottom half.

Faribault (6-5) added to the lead in the fourth with two runs for a 10-7 advantage, and that’s when Post 447 clawed back for three runs.

Post 1562 and Albert Lea were neck and neck in the standings entering the game. Post 447 stood in third place while Faribault held fourth place.

“Big win for district seedings,” Albert Lea head coach Jack Kortan said. “Everyone contributed in this win.”

Post 447 starter Colby Strilaeff had a shaky beginning but calmed after giving up seven hits in the first inning. He allowed only one in his next three innings.

Jordan Cooper came on in relief of Strilaeff and kept Post 1562 hitless the rest of the way. Cooper earned the win, going three innings and striking out four.

“Colby had a tough first inning, but showed his leadership along with Cooper to shut the door on them after the first inning,” Kortan said. “Faribault had only one hit after the first inning.”

Albert Lea had a big night at the plate as Luke Grossman, Aaron Klatt and Conor Kortan each had two RBIs and multi-hit games. Grossman finished 3-for-3 and scored three times. Klatt went 2-for-4 with a double and a single and Korton scored twice and had two basehits.

Post 447 needs to remain in the top four in the standings if it wants to host a district playoff game, which begin July 19. Albert Lea plays Northfield, who has one loss on the season, in a doubleheader July 13 before ending the regular season July 15 at home.

Albert Lea 12, Faribault 10

Albert Lea – 610 003 2 – 12 9 4

Faribault – 710 200 0 – 10 8 4

WP – Jordan Cooper 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K