It was a great week for the Watertown Legion baseball team as they improved to 5-1 in league play and a 13-3 record overall. Almost the entire team was able to contribute during the solid week. As pointed out by head coach Kory Bender, “It isn’t very often a team can sport a five-man starting rotation with an ERA under 4.0 at any level.”
Former head coach Steve Hangartner also pointed out that the sweep of Plato is something Watertown’s Legion has only accomplished perhaps one other time in the past 10 years.
“It’s really great to see the boys winning and having so much fun,” said parent Jeff Keavy.
Watertown 6 Plato 2
In a rematch from a week prior, the boys representing Post 121 completed a sweep of Plato with a clean 6-2 victory despite missing four starters. In other words, it was very much a team effort in the victory.
After a scoreless top of the first inning, Jadrien Keavy, Ed Iten and Tanner Hilten crossed the plate from RBIs by JT Weiman and Jackson Meyer. Unfortunately, the boys left more potential damage on the base paths as the bases were left full.
Following the first the Plato pitchers were able to regroup and hold Watertown scoreless until the fifth inning while narrowing the gap with a pair of runs in the third inning. Hilten and Weiman raced across the plate on hits from Nick Truke and Chase Neumann. Weiman would then cap off the scoring with an RBI fielder’s choice in the 6th that drove in Jad. Keavy.
Jadrien Keavy would prove to be in fine form on the mound collecting his third win of the season while lowering his ERA to 1.96. He would throw the entire game while striking out eight Plato hitters to nullify four walks and only one earned run.
Other highlights included Will McBee returning from a fractured finger and making his Legion debut as a courtesy runner and eventually a pinch hit appearance. Ben Thiesen would find himself on base three times by drawing a pair of walks to go with a double. Also, the all-freshmen middle infield combination of Jackson Meyer and Nick Trucke turned the first of what will hopefully be many double plays together in the fifth inning to help snuff out Plato’s offense.
Watertown 13 Lester Prairie 0
Watertown stayed at the confines of Highland Park for only the second and third times this summer in a double header on Thursday with Lester Prairie. Initially, the offense started out sluggishly for the boys as they adjusted to pitching unlike anything they had seen since the beginning of the season. Once the bats got going, however, they did not let up.
In the third inning the bats woke up in style as cousins Ed Iten and Nolan Anderson smashed back to back triples that combined to drive in three runs. Ethan McCleary and Nick Nolan would also add RBI singles to the offensive onslaught in the third.
The fourth inning saw the team bat around and put up an eight spot on the scoreboard. The team was able to take advantage of a wild streak by the Lester Prairie pitchers and errors by fielders to complete the damage. Matt Iten, Meyer, Ed Iten, Weiman, Neumann and Blake Blacketter all notched RBIs in the inning as almost every player scored a run.
Chase Neumann was able to throw four almost perfect innings except for a curveball that did not break and hit a batter to pick up his second win of the season. He did not allow a hit or a run while striking out eight as he lowered his season ERA to 2.84. Blacketter finished off the game with a scoreless fifth inning.
Watertown 16 Lester Prairie 3
The final game of the double header with Lester Prairie also saw the mercy rule come into play and end the game after only five innings.
Watertown would strike early by taking a 1-0 lead after the first inning as Thiesen drove in Anderson with a one-out single. Lester Prairie would answer with three runs in the bottom of the first as an error and a few well placed hits saw them take their first and only lead of the evening. Austin Windsperger would settle down after a rough first inning on the mound to throw three scoreless innings before giving way to a scoreless inning from McBee.
The second inning saw the boys retake the lead with three runs driven in by Jadrien Keavy, Meyer and Thiesen that drove in Weiman, Hilten and Anderson. Watertown would continue to swing hot bats the rest of the game.
The third inning saw the team bat around the order and saw Matt Iten, Weiman, Jamison Keavy, Hilten, Anderson, Meyer, Thiesen and Dan Heinsch all cross the plate. The inning was highlighted by a two-run single by Meyer and a two-run triple by Heinsch. Watertown added a pair of runs in the fourth inning as Hilten and Trucke came through with RBI singles.
Three more runs in the fifth inning sealed the game nicely for the boys as Anderson, Windsperger and Jamison Keavy all drove in runs and saw McBee pick up his first hit of the season in only his third appearance all season.
As mentioned, after a rough first inning Windsperger settled down to pick up his fourth win of the season as he allowed only two earned runs on three hits as he was able to fan four hitters. McBee also made his debut on the mound and after walking the first batter on just four pitches he rebounded nicely to strike out two before inducing a weak ground-out to close out the game.
The boys take a much needed (after 16 games since June 4) nearly week long break before a pair of back to back double headers. First Holy Family will come to town on Thursday, July 6 for a double header starting at 6 p.m. Following that, the boys will travel to Cologne to take on Southwest Christian Academy in a double header starting at 6 p.m. also. They will then travel down to Le Seuer-Henderson for a non-league game on July 10 before departing for the district tournament which will be held in Waterville. If the boys can sweep the remaining four league games they would put themselves in great position for a No. 1 seed heading into the district tournament.