Walk-off walk results in 14-U split with Holmen

Chandler Bergrud is safe at third base while Houston’s Damon Carrier attempts to control the throw. Photo by S. Lee Epps
S. Lee Epps

The bases were loaded with Lions with two outs and a full count (3 balls, 2 strikes) in the final inning and the score tied at 5-5 when Caleb Griffin walked to bring Jacob Olerud home with the winning run. For the 14 & under Grove guys, that five-run, last-inning rally and 6-5 win resulted in a double header league split with Holmen Gold.

The oldest (American Legion) Lions surged late to overtake Houston before being rained out against Plainview-Elgin-Millville. Both the Little League and 11 & under boys dropped home decisions on Tuesday before being rained out later in the week.

American Legion (19&under): SG 13, Houston 3

Before attaining the run-rule final score, it took a while before Spring Grove (3-1) took control. The Lions did not take a lead until the fourth inning and then made it a run-rule rout in the fifth inning.

Visiting Houston scored only three runs, but the Hurricanes led 3-0 after their first five batters came to the plate in the top of the first inning.

Three of the five Houston hits came in that early salvo before Lion pitcher Chandler Bergrud shut down and shut out the 'Cane attack while jump-starting the Lion offense himself.

Bergrud (2 for 2, 2RBIs) had the first two Spring Grove hits, including a double that started a two-run rally in the third inning, capped by a two-out RBI-single by Caleb Nerstad. Houston still led 3-2 after three innings.

In the next (fourth) inning, the Lions jumped on reliever Caiden Olson for four runs and took a 7-3 lead. Freshman Logan Brumm supplied a 2-RBI single.

Spring Grove would bat around the order again in the next (fifth) inning while Jaden Abraham walked six batters and hit another. Back-to-back singles by freshmen Ty Cleven (2 RBI) and Caleb Griffin (RBI) ended the game with the run rule with only one out. 

Griffin went 2 for 3 at the plate and came up with a great outfield grab for the third straight game. This one was a back-handed, diving catch along the left field foul line.

The Lions scored 13 runs on only seven hits. But with three Houston hurlers combining to walk 12 batters, there were not a lot of good pitches for Spring Grove to hit.

14 & under 1st game: Holmen Gold 9, SG 0

Spring Grove managed only two hits - doubles from Logan Brumm in the first inning and Nathan Solberg in the final fifth inning. With two walks and another Lion reaching on an error, three runners made it to third base - but no further.

Holmen scored nine runs on 10 hits with help from five walks and one Spring Grove error. Three hits, including a double, plus four walks produced four runs before the Lions came to bat.

14 & under 2nd game: SG 6, Holmen Gold 5

After five scoreless frames in the first game, the Lions went without a run through two innings in the nightcap until two walks and a two-out RBI-single from Griffin put Spring Grove on the scoreboard.

Like the first game, the Wisconsin visitors had scored four times in the top of the first. Holmen added an unearned run in the top of the final fourth to make it 5-1.

But the Lions had four of their five hits while stunning the visitors in the bottom of the inning. Spring Grove also took advantage of three walks, a third-strike passed ball and Holmen's only error during the surprising finish.

There were back-to-back singles from Ty Cleven and Solberg and later successive singles from Olerud and Caleb Ranzenberger.

A bases-loaded walk to Isaac Nerstad sent Jonah Udstuen home with the tying run and kept the bases full for the Griffin's walk-off walk.

Spring Grove out-hit Holmen 5 to 2, but walks were critical all around with both teams receiving six free passes. 

Little League (7G & under): New Albin 16, SG 3

For Spring Grove, it began far better than it finished against the best team in the East Division. The Lions led 3-1 after two innings before the roof caved in on the defense. 

There was sparkling infield defense from Brandon Jahnke and Ezra Griffin in the first two innings, but Spring Grove would eventually commit eight errors, while the visitors had no miscues in the field. 

Gavin Ostern belted triples in his only two plate appearances, but a single from Griffin would be the only other Lion base hit. New Albin had only five hits, but five Indians reached base on errors and seven drew walks.

Having won previously south of the border, New Albin completed a sweep of the two league games versus Spring Grove. In the second non-league game, it was all Indians, 26-0.

SG left with a 4-6 summer record, including a 4-2 mark in league games (both losses to New Albin).

11 & under: Trempealeau 17, SG 5

The visitors scored three runs in the top of the first inning; the Lions replied with one run in the bottom of the inning. But it would be 17-1 before Spring Grove crossed home plate again in the final fifth frame.

Kolton Nerstad (2 for 3) had two doubles for the Lions, who also received singles from Gabe Klug, Carter Van Minsel and Lyric Stadtler.