Fairmont tops Albert Lea Legion

Published 9:35 pm Friday, June 19, 2015

Parker Mullenbach of the Albert Lea Legion baseball team throws a pitch Friday against Fairmont at Hayek Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Parker Mullenbach of the Albert Lea Legion baseball team throws a pitch Friday against Fairmont at Hayek Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

The Albert Lea Legion Post 56 baseball team was on the brink of exiting the first two innings unscathed.

However, Fairmont Legion Post 36 scored two runs in the first and five in the second — all with two outs — to defeat Albert Lea 10-4 Friday at Hayek Field.

Post 56 (1-2 overall) was coming off a 10-2 win Tuesday over the Rochester Century A’s, where Albert Lea scored nine runs in the third inning.

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“It kind of turned the tables on what happened at Century when we had that big inning,” said Albert Lea coach Jay Enderson. “From (the third inning) on out, we outscored them 4-3.”

Tyler Steele took the loss on the mound in 1 2/3 innings.

Parker Mullenbach pitched the next 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four batters and gave up one earned run. Chris Enderson pitched the last inning for Post 56 and struck out two batters.

Mullenbach, Albert Lea’s starting first baseman, started the game as the team’s third option at shortstop because of the absences of Jake Thompson and Jonathan Fleek. Jake Kilby started at first for Mullenbach.

“We had to shuffle everything around, and then we just switched it back when Parker pitched,” Enderson said.

When Mullenbach took the mound, Jake Bordewick entered the infield as the fourth option at shortstop.

“Bordewick played well for us,” Enderson said. “We’ve been trying to get him in whenever we can at second base primarily.”

Albert Lea’s high school team finished as the Section 2AA runner-up with a 14-12 record, and Fairmont’s high school team was ranked No. 4 in the final edition of the Class AA Associated Press poll with a 23-3 record.

Post 56 features four graduated seniors who played on Albert Lea’s high school team: Kole Smith, Chris Enderson, Steele and E.J. Thomas.

“It’s basically the same team that we had on varsity except for a couple younger kids,” Smith said. “So we plan on building off this high school season.”

Fleek is the only player on Albert Lea’s roster who did not play on the Tigers’ varsity or junior varsity teams this year. He played for Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, as a freshman and posted the team’s fourth-best batting average on the team with a mark of .326 in 202 plate appearances.

Last year, Fleek was the Tribune’s All-Area baseball Player of the Year at Albert Lea. As the Tigers’ only senior, he had a batting average of .418 and led the team to a Section 2AA runner-up finish.

Fleek, who is also a member of the Austin Greyhounds baseball team, had a scheduling conflict on Friday because the Greyhounds played at the Blue Earth Pirates.

Next, Albert Lea will host a doubleheader against Winona at 2 p.m today.

Of the 18 regular-season games on Post 56’s schedule, 13 will be played at Hayek Field.

“It’s nice to have that fan support at home,” said Mullenbach.