Albert Lea sweeps Waseca

Published 10:36 pm Friday, July 10, 2015

Chris Enderson of Albert Lea hits the ball Friday during a doubleheader against Waseca at Hayek Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Chris Enderson of Albert Lea hits the ball Friday during a doubleheader against Waseca at Hayek Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

With five games left in the regular season, the Albert Lea Legion Post 56 baseball team took a step forward in the battle for home field advantage.

Albert Lea scored three unanswered runs Friday to beat Waseca Post 228 4-3 in Game 1 and completed the sweep with a 5-4 win in Game 2 at Hayek Field.

“These were two big wins,” said Post 56 coach Jay Enderson. “We did what we had to do. You can’t take any of these teams lightly.”

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Although Waseca entered the doubleheader seventh in the nine-team District 1 standings with a 3-7 record, the team was coming off a 6-3 win Thursday at Austin, a team that is 11-2 overall and in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed.

Albert Lea (9-6, 6-3 District 1) had won two of its last three games but was coming off a 9-6 loss Wednesday against Faribault. As of Thursday’s standings, Post 56 was in fourth place, the last spot to earn home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

In Game 1, Post 228 built a 3-0 lead in the second inning and led 3-1 through four innings.

However, Parker Mullenbach, who hit his second grand slam of the summer Wednesday against Faribault, sparked Post 56 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.

After a single by Mullenbach, Chris Enderson smashed an RBI double to the warning track in left center. Jake Bordewick singled and stole second, and Zach Edwards, who was 3-for-3, drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a double.

Albert Lea’s Jake Kilby went the distance on the mound. He struck out four batters and allowed three hits, two earned runs and two walks.

“He was a little up and down, but he picked it up and got tough,” Jay Enderson said.

Kilby said he had faith in his team’s run support.

“I knew once we broke the ice that we were just going to roll through it,” he said. “I feel really confident in our hitters.”

In Game 2, Post 56’s Chris Enderson went the distance on the mound. He struck out two batters and allowed five hits, four earned runs and five walks.

“Chris didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled through,” Jay Enderson said. “It was a good thing for him.”

Waseca struck early with two runs in the first inning, but Albert Lea responded with one in the bottom of the first and three in the second.

Post 56 took its first lead when Kole Smith was at the plate with ultimate twos. The score: 2-2 with two outs in the second inning. Two balls. Two strikes. Smith kept the theme going with a double that scored Jake Thompson.

Post 228 tied the game 4-4 in the top of the fifth, but Albert Lea recaptured the lead when Smith scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Waseca rallied with one out and the bases loaded.

However, a flyout and sharp groundout to Post 56 first baseman Mason Hammer helped Chris Enderson out of a jam.

“He smashed it pretty hard, and I blinked but was able to get it,” Hammer said about the game’s final out.

Jonathan Fleek was not with Post 56 on Friday, but Jay Enderson said he will take a break from the Austin Greyhounds to play with Albert Lea for the next few weeks.

Next, Post 56 will host the Rochester Patriots in a doubleheader at 5 p.m Monday.