Legion team continues hot streak

New Prague’s Post 45 American Legion baseball team picked up five wins in six games last week. Four of those wins came on the field and the other was a forfeit win against Savage.

Post 45 heads into the final week of the season with a 12-3 record, including wins against five teams that have been ranked in the state’s top 20 during the season (Apple Valley, Eagan, Lakeville North, Hastings and Hutchinson). Still, the team remains unranked.

New Prague will get a chance to prove they belong with some of the top teams in the state this weekend as they compete in the Moose Country Challenge, hosted by West St. Paul, July 14-16. It is an eight-team pool-play tournament. Three of the top five ranked teams in the state will be there (No. 1 Eden Prairie, No. 2 Apple Valley and No. 5 West St. Paul). All games are in Mendota Heights, either at Henry Sibley High School or St. Thomas Academy.

On Friday, New Prague faces Hopkins at 4 p.m. at Henry Sibley High School. On Saturday, they play two games at St. Thomas Academy. The first game, at 12:30 p.m. is against Maple Grove and the second game, at 3:30 p.m., is against Eden Prairie.

Semifinals and finals are at Henry Sibley, beginning at 11 a.m. The consolation bracket will be played at St. Thomas Academy, also at 11 a.m.

Both Henry Sibley and St. Thomas Academy are located in Mendota Heights.

The other pool includes Richfield, Minneapolis Chester Bird (Benilde), Apple Valley and West St. Paul.

Before the West St. Paul tourney, New Prague was scheduled to host Woodbury White at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 13, at Union Hill Field.

New Prague concludes its regular season July 17 at Woodbury White and July 18 at home against Farmington.

The Third District playoffs will be held July 21-23 and July 26-31.

New Prague 5, Lakeville North 4

New Prague came out of their July 4 holiday break with a 5-4 win over Lakeville North at New Prague.

Brad Weiers, who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings in relief of Kyle Bergstrom, picked up the win.

Post 45 jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Eric Olson hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out, two-bagger by Matt Ambroz.

Lakeville North tied the game in the third inning and took a 2-1 lead with a run in the fifth.

But New Prague regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Ross Skluzacek reached on an error and Mike Goldsmith followed with a two-run homer, making it 3-2.

Lakeville North tied the game in the seventh, but New Prague scored in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-3. Ambroz was hit by a pitch and Tony Kubes singled. After a fielder’s choice moved Ambroz to third, pinch-hitter Jeff Dietz singled to bring home Ambroz.

North tied the game again in the eighth inning, but Post 45 scored what proved to be the winning run in the eighth. Skluzacek reached on an error and stole second. He scored on a base hit by Ambroz.

Weiers allowed two hits in the top of the ninth, but also picked off a runner at second base and then struck out a batter to end the game.

Hastings 13, New Prague 4

New Prague took a 4-1 lead, but couldn’t make it hold up as Hastings took advantage of 11 walks issued by Post 45 pitching to score a 13-4 win in the first game of a double-header Friday in New Prague.

Bergstrom scored New Prague’s first run in the second after reaching on an error and advancing on a passed ball. New Prague added three more in the third when Connor Smisek got a leadoff double and scored on a base hit by Ambroz. As a catcher, Ambroz was replaced by a courtesy runner, but that runner was picked off base. Tony Kubes followed with a single, then stole second. He scored on a double by Bergstrom and Bergstrom came home when Skluzacek reached on an error.

Ryan Gebur started for New Prague and took the loss. He was relieved by Skluzacek.

New Prague 7, Hastings 2

Dom DeLuca pitched a complete game and shut down the Hastings’ bats to lead Post 45 to a 7-2 win in the second game of a doubleheader.

New Prague, playing as the visiting team, jumped on top with two runs in the top of the first. Olson singled and Smisek followed with a double. Goldsmith hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Olson and Smisek scored when Kubes reached on an error.

Hastings made it 2-1 in the second and tied it in the fourth inning.

New Prague scored three runs in the fifth. DeLuca helped his own cause with a leadoff homer. Bergstrom followed with a base hit and Adam Gill singled with one out, scoring Bergstrom. Olson singled and Smisek walked. Goldsmith hit into a fielder’s choice, bringing home the third run of the inning.

New Prague added two more in the seventh. Kubes led off with a single and DeLuca brought him home with a double. After Bergstrom walked, Luke Hanzel singled to drive in DeLuca.

DeLuca went seven innings giving up five hits, none after the fourth inning. He struck out seven and walked three.

New Prague 5, Hutchinson 1

Post 45 registered an impressive 5-1 win Saturday afternoon over a Hutchinson team comprised mostly of this year’s state high school tournament team.

Hutchinson’s only run came on a solo home run in the third inning that hit high off the light pole in left field. Other than that one mistake, Weiers’ kept Hutchinson off the board.

Weiers scattered seven hits over seven innings while striking out five and walking two.

New Prague scored twice in the first inning. Matt Perkinson drew a one-out walk and Goldsmith was hit by a pitch. Ambroz walked to load the bases and Tony Kubes singled to bring in a run. DeLuca followed with a sacrifice fly to score Goldsmith.

After the Hutchinson homer in the third made it 2-1, there was no scoring until the fifth inning. Olson led off with a single and Perkinson sacrificed him to second. Ambroz got an RBI single to bring in the run.

New Prague picked up two more in the sixth. DeLuca doubled and Bergstrom singled. A wild pitch moved Bergstrom to second. Skluzacek singled to center to drive in one run, but Bergstrom was thrown out at home. Hanzel followed with a double and Olson hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Skluzacek.

New Prague 3, Faribault 2

Post 45 swept the season series with Faribault with a 3-2 win at Faribault Monday evening.

New Prague got a run in the third when Dietz singled and advanced on an error. He scored when Tyler Bergstrom reached on another error.

New Prague returned the favor in the fourth, allowing an unearned run to tie the game.

Post 45 scored twice in the seventh to make it a 3-1 game. Kubes led off with a triple and scored on a double by DeLuca. Hanzel sacrificed DeLuca to third, and he scored when Weiers reached on an error.

Faribault got one run in the seventh, but left the bases loaded, giving New Prague the 3-2 win. Bergstrom went the distance, allowing five hits and two runs. Both runs were unearned.

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