Legion State Tournament: PL drops Delano; headed to knockout round Saturday

By Justin Braun

After beating Winona earlier in the day, the Prior Lake Laker Legion bested Delano Post 377 by a score of 6-4 on Thursday night at Adams Alumni Field.  The Legion Legion outscored their opponents 18-4 on the opening day of the 2023 American Legion State Baseball Tournament.

Delano got on the board in the first inning after Will Ricke drew a walk, scoring one run, but Prior Lake quickly answered back in the top of the second when Trevor Mong grounded out, scoring Dominik Giancarlo, who had doubled to lead off the inning.  Delano would pull ahead in the home half of the inning, taking the lead 3-1.

In the fifth inning, Joe Stelvig would reach base on a double to right center and then later score on a double from Spencer Keeney.  Keeney would be plated on a single from Jaxon Barrett, tying the game 3-3.  A solo home run to right field by Mason Henry gave Delano the lead, 4-3, in the bottom of the sixth.  Prior Lake took the lead back, 6-4, in the top of the seventh thanks to singles by Noah Slates, Nate Bodine, and Stelzig.

Stelzig got the start for the Laker Legion, giving up two hits and three runs (two earned) over five and two-thirds innings, striking out six and walking four. Greg Schonhoff would contribute 1/3 inning, plating one run, two hits, and walking three.  Bodine pitched one inning of scoreless ball for the Laker Legion with no hits given and striking out one.

Prior Lake collected 12 hits in the game. Stelzig went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the team. Barrett, Slates, Stelzig, Bodine, and Mong each drove in one run for the Laker Legion.

With two wins today, Prior Lake will advance to the “knockout” round on Saturday.  In the meantime, the Laker Legion will face St. Michael Mike’s Post 567 at 12:30 PM on Friday in Rochester.