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Legion Playoffs: Kraiter delivers big hit for Blues in win over Buzz

By Glenn Pursley/FORUM News Service

MOORHEAD – Moorhead’s Preston Kraiter clubbed a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Blues to a 10-7 win over No. 6-seeded Perham at the Minnesota Division I Sub-State 14 American Legion baseball tournament Thursday at Matson Field.

“(Preston) finally got his average up and we just put him in the leadoff spot a week ago,” said Blues head coach Bryant Bergeson. “He’s been hitting the ball and when he comes up I expect him to get a hit.”

Brandon Porter and Tyler Oberg added back-to-back run-scoring singles that inning to set up Kraiter’s game-winning hit.

“It feels great getting the job done, knowing there are guys on base,” Kraiter said. “It was pretty dead at times when we weren’t doing good, but we stuck with it and battled and the outcome was a win.”

With one out left in the seventh, Kraiter turned on the second pitch he saw from Perham reliever Eric Brauch and sent it sailing over the center fielder’s head, giving Porter and Oberg plenty of time to score and go up 10-7.

Porter’s single drove in Mike Wiesmann and Oberg drove in Skjefte, who reached first base on a walk. Porter finished 4-for-4 with a double and Oberg had three singles on the night.

Perham took the lead right away in the first inning off a single from third baseman Eric Brauch.

Josh Still led off the inning with a hard hit double and Brauch singled to left field to score Still. J.T. Laughlin followed with another single and Brauch scored from second base, beating the play at the plate to take a two-run lead after one.

Joey Lindberg singled to left and drove in Brauch in the third to extend the lead 3-0.

But the Blues rallied back in the fourth and produced five hits to score three runs and tie the game.

“It was weird kind of game,” Bergeson said. “They got out to that early lead and we didn’t look to hot the first couple innings and then we battled back, let them scratch one out, battled back, but let them scratch another one out.”

Zach Schroeder started the inning for the Blues by reaching first base and taking second on an errant throw. Mike Wiesmann scored Schroeder off a hard hit double to right center and Austin Skjefte grounded out to the shortstop, but the ball was hit deep in the infield to give Wiesmann enough time to score from third.

With the win, the Blues advance through the winner’s bracket and will face No. 7-seeded Bemidji at 7 p.m. today at Matson Field. Bemidji defeated East Grand Forks 10-1.

“The first game is huge,” Bergeson said. “If you go to the loser’s bracket it’s about six or seven games you have to win in a row. If you’re in the winners bracket you play one game a day. Your mentality is better.”

In other tournament action Thursday, Thief River Falls took care of Detroit Lakes 7-4 and Alexandria topped Fergus Falls

9-2. TRF will play Alexandria at

4 p.m.

Perham falls to the loser’s bracket and will play East Grand Forks at 1 p.m. today also at Matson Field.

Perham 201 021 100–7 13 3

Moorhead 000 311 500–10 14 2

Stigman, Brauch (7) and Mulcahy. Jorgenson, Eidsness (6), Wiesmann (8) and Oberg. W–Eidsness. L–Brauch. HR–P, Brauch.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5558

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

(218) 844-1442