Owatonna wins late

SLEEPY EYE – It was a tough way to lose a close game, but in the end, the Sleepy Eye Legion team still thinks it has plenty of fuel to make a run in the Sub-State 2 American Legion baseball playoffs.

With the scored tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth, Owatonna loaded the bases with one out. But a wild pitch resulted in Nick Medo scoring in a close play at the plate as Sleepy Eye catcher Mike Hirsch recovered the ball and threw to pitcher Jake Mielke, who applied the tag just after Medo touched the plate, leading to an eventual 3-2 Owatonna win.

The loss means Sleepy Eye (5-10) will play New Ulm Blue in an elimination game at 10 a.m. Friday at Stark. The loser of that game will be eliminated from the playoffs and the winner moves on to play at 4:30 p.m. in Sleepy Eye.

The loss was frustrating to say the least for Sleepy Eye. Sleepy Eye scored two runs in the bottom of the first, but it went hitless for five straight innings before Sam Hirschboek singled in the bottom of the ninth.

“It always hurts losing a close game like that,” Sleepy Eye coach Scott Salfer said.?”We’re a mentally strong team. Hopefully we can come back [Friday] morning and get one.”

Elliott Braun took the loss for Sleepy Eye. He went 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and three walks. He was replaced in the top of the ninth when he left with runners on first and second.

Mielke came in and hit Luke Wanaus to load the bases, then threw a wild pitch to score Medo.

Sleepy Eye did score its first two runs in the first inning thanks to three infield singles and a sacrifice fly to right by Mike Hirsch that scored Brandon Helget. Jon Kopacek’s infield single scored David Surprenant for the game’s first run.

Owatonna scored its first in the top of the fifth after a one-out double by Dexter Leer scored Blake Westphal. Trey Fails scored the second run in the seventh inning after Sleepy Eye committed three straight errors.

Owatonna plays Mankato National at 10 a.m. Friday in Sleepy Eye.

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