Tigers walk to win

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Tigers struggled hitting the ball but earned 13 free passes to first base from three different pitchers as Albert Lea beat Waseca 9-4 in Legion baseball Tuesday night.

The tone was set early after Jordan Mondeel opened the bottom of the first getting hit in the back by a pitch thrown from Waseca pitcher Christian Hall. In the Tigers’ next at bat, Cole Sorenson hit a dribbler to Hall for a single, Mondeel then scored on a wild pitch and Conner Kortan walked as each of the first three Tiger batters reached base.

With two outs, Carter Kortan singled scoring Conner and Travis Klatt before Klatt was caught stealing to end the inning.

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The Tigers did the rest of their damage in the fourth inning when Albert Lea sent 11 batters to the plate and loaded the bases four times.

Josh Eisenbraun struck out swinging to begin the inning before the Tigers moved around the bases like a carousel with one out. Jon Mittag singled to right field followed by three straight walks issued by Hall to Mondeel, Sorenson and Conner Kortan. With the bases loaded, Klatt singled with two strikes to left field scoring two. Hall was replaced by a reliever but the outs didn’t come any easier.

Colby Strilaeff walked to load the bases again and Carter Kortan drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center field. J.T. Bellrichard was hit by a pitch to load the bases for a fourth time and Eisenbraun, who started the inning, drew an RBI walk. Mittag flew out to center to end the five-run inning.

Waseca did their best imitation of the Tigers in the top of the fifth with three hits and two walks, loading the bases twice. Sorenson kept the damage low, though, giving up only two runs in the inning.

Waseca relievers held the Tigers scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings but Mittag did just the same, striking out four in two innings in relief of Sorenson.

“Both pitchers threw hard,” head coach Jack Kortan said. “I thought Mittag threw really well. He had control and a good curveball.

Sorenson got the win, backed by nine runs, most of which, though came off of Waseca’s inconsistencies.

“We’re a better hitting team than that,” Kortan said. “Waseca was wild and up and I don’t know if it was throwing us off but we never got in a rhythm.”

Much of the Legion team is made up of Albert Lea High School players, looking to win after losing a heartbreaker to Hastings to in the first round of sections.

“They’re eager to play, and they want to make up for it,” Kortan said. “Rochester J.M. lost in the first round of sections and went on to win the Legion state tournament last year; that’s our goal, too.”

The Tigers play again tonight at 6:30 p.m. against Excelsior Post 259 at Hayek Field.

Albert Lea 9, Waseca 4

Waseca 020 020 0 — 4 10 1

Albert Lea 310 500 x — 9 7 0