North St. Paul 39ers hope to move on after disappointing tournament

The 47th Annual Grand Rapids American Legion Tournament won't go down as one of the North St. Paul 39ers' best baseball competitions

Although they beat St. Michael-Albertville in a 14-12 slugfest, they were on the losing end of five tournament games, which took place June 19-21. As a result, the 39ers dropped below .500, and their season mark now stands at 6-7. They are 3-2 in District IV American Legion action.

The 39ers opened the tournament with a loss to New Ulm Gold, 13-4. Next they lost a heartbreaker to Bemidji, 5-4, in 12 innings.     

Then it took Edina Post 471 just four innings to score enough runs to down the 39ers in their third tournament game. North St. Paul was leading 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth when a hit batter was followed by a pair of singles and a bases-clearing triple put Edina up by the 5-3 final.

In their next game, the 39ers out-hit Grand Rapids Post 60 by 10-3, but they still ended up on the wrong side of the one-run, 5-4, score.

For the locals it was a game of errors; they had an atypical six booted balls that cost them the contest.

Their fifth loss was at the hands of Fridley Post 303, which gained the winning run in the second inning and then scored a run in the top of the sixth and four more in its half of the seventh to post a 7-1 victory over the 39ers.

North St. Paul 14 - St. Michael-Albertville 12

In the final game of the Grand Rapids tournament the North St. Paul bats finally came alive, and the 39ers out-slugged the St. Michael-Albertville Post 567 in a close, 14-12, duel.

In gaining the win, the 39ers collected 17 hits and capitalized on seven errors by the St. Michael-Albertville Cougars.

In the second inning the 39ers had their most productive output of the year when they scored 12 runs on 14 hits and four walks plus a couple of Cougars errors.

Among the 39ers gaining hits, RBI and scoring runs in the inning were: Sam Blees 2-2-1; Jace Piepgras 2-3-0; Joe Baumann 3-2-0; Adam Hildebrandt 1-1-1; Gus Varland 1-1-2; Joe Lenart 2-0-2; Louie Varland 1-1-2; Nic Keenan 0-0-1; Jake Steckler 0-0-1; Jimmy Bothwell 2-0-1; and Nate Rubbelke 0-0-1.

The 12 runs scored by the Cougars came in the third (five runs), the fourth (five runs) and the fifth (two runs) as they struggled to keep pace with the 39ers' hitting barrage.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at or at 651-748-7826.

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