Legion team still alive in playoffs

Brendan Weege
Brendan Weege
Jordan Berrios
Jordan Berrios

The Watertown Post 121 American Legion baseball team opened the Division II District 3 tournament last week with an 11-1 loss to Plato, but continued to stay alive by routing Randolph 16-0 and beating Belle Plaine 10-4 in the next two games.

Those wins advanced Watertown to play on Friday, July 26, at 5 p.m. in Cologne. Watertown will take on Plato in that game, looking to stay alive to face Sibley East on Saturday, July 27, at 9:30 a.m.

In the opening game of the tournament for Watertown, Brendan Weege’s RBI single plated Matt Elsenpeter for Watertown’s first run, tying the game at 1 in the bottom of the first inning. However, Watertown left the bases loaded, and Kenyon scored five runs in the second inning and never looked back on its way to a 11-1 win.

With their backs already against the wall in a double elimination tournament, Watertown responded in a big way against Randolph, which had dropped its first-round game, 2-1, top-seeded Sibley East. Watertown caught fire offensively, banging out 11 hits in four innings on the way to a 16-0 win.

Nick Tschida, Mark Sandquist and Bryce Duske all had two hits in the win. Elsenpeter, Adam Parker, P.J. Hangartner, Alex Runck and Andy Opheim all added hits for Watertown, including a three-run double for Hangartner.

In the next round, Watertown defeated Belle Plaine 10-4, a team Watertown had already beaten twice in the past week. Watertown opened a 4-0 lead, only to see it cut to 4-3. However, in the bottom of the sixth, Watertown put the game away by scoring six runs to seal the win.

Hangartner and Elsenpeter led the offense by going 2-for-3 and 2-for-4 respectively. Tschida also had a bases-clearing double to break the game open. Andrew Nichols picked up the win on the mound and Elsenpeter closed the door.

“We are really playing some good ball,” Watertown coach Steve Hangartner said. “We are pitching well, hitting the ball well and playing great defense.”

Watertown did its damage against Belle Plaine against starting pitcher Derek Dahlke, one of the top pitchers in the state, but still put up 10 runs on 11 hits. Defensively, Watertown turned four double plays to help limit Belle Plaine’s offense.