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Legion baseball: East Grand Forks knocks off Perham in Sub-State 14 elimination game

The Perham Legion baseball team managed just three hits against East Grand Forks on Friday in its Sub-State 14 elimination game.

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Perham's Gamble Bye throws a ball to first base in Post 61's 5-0 loss against East Grand Forks on July 22, 2022 at Matson Field in Moorhead in the Sub-State 14 Legion baseball playoffs.
Jared Rubado / Perham Focus
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MOORHEAD – Friday was just one of those kinds of days for the Perham Legion baseball team.

Post 61 saw its season come to an end in a 5-0 loss against sixth-seeded East Grand Forks.

Perham kept searching for that one big hit to fall despite making solid contact and only striking out twice.

“Typically, they start to fall. You go through it for an inning or two, and you expect those hard-hit balls to start getting through, and they just didn’t,” head coach James Mulcahy said. “They had a three-pitching inning with a line-shot to the third baseman, a line-shot to the shortstop, and another to the left fielder. Then you come out the next inning and see the first pitch lined to left field again. It’s tough, but you just hope they fall sometimes. Somewhere along the line, baseball will balance this out, but not today.”

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Perham's Logan Pulju pitches in Post 61's 5-0 loss against East Grand Forks on July 22, 2022 at Matson Field in Moorhead in the Sub-State 14 Legion baseball playoffs.
Jared Rubado / Perham Focus

East Grand Forks got ahead in the top of the second inning when Drew Carpenter laced a two-out double over into right field to take a 1-0 lead. EGF added two more on Tanner Nowacki’s two-RBI double in the top of the fifth.

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EGF added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning. Logan Spencer scored on a wild pitch before Rylee Hams brought home another run with a sacrifice fly.

Austin Aanenson, Chas Melvin and Blaiz Schmidt had Perham’s three hits. Carpenter got the job done on the mound for EGF, going all seven innings with just three hits and one walk.

Carpenter was a tough out at the plate as well. He went 3-for-4 with three doubles and an RBI. Austin Rusling also had three hits in a 3-for-4 day with two runs scored.

Logan Pulju went six innings on the bump for Perham. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits with 10 strikeouts.

Friday ended a long five-month stretch of baseball for Perham. Even though a much-needed break is in order for the players and coaching staff, the blueprint for success is still clear for 2023.

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Perham's Blaiz Schmidt hits a single in Post 61's 5-0 loss against East Grand Forks on July 22, 2022 at Matson Field in Moorhead in the Sub-State 14 Legion baseball playoffs.
Jared Rubado / Perham Focus

“I think they have to take it from the seniors that just graduated and dedicate themselves to the weight room and get mentally tougher,” Mulcahy said. “Whether that’s by playing another sport or finding a way to challenge yourself in the offseason, the reality is we graduated guys from this team and didn’t have enough depth. The next level of guys are really going to have to embrace that mental side of baseball on top of the physical side.”

Perham is losing a lot of critical pieces, including Melvin, Pulju and Aanenson, who played in both seasons despite graduating this spring. Replacing a good amount of starters will be one of the biggest challenges for Perham next March.

“They have shown the younger guys that the path to success really takes dedication,” Mulcahy said of the kids who played their last Legion baseball games. “It doesn’t mean you have to go all out and play three sports all the time, although it is nice when you have those two and three-sport guys. You need to go out there and find your offseason workouts. Get up and get to the weight room at 7 a.m. Start hitting in the fall and the winter in the batting cage. All of the guys who graduated did that, and they showed you can have success if you follow that path.”

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Two of those players coming back next year aren’t quite done with baseball yet this summer. Ben Shumansky and Gamble Bye were selected to the American Legion All-Star showcase on Aug. 6 in Bloomington. Of the 145 players nominated, only 60 were selected state-wide.

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Perham's Ben Shumansky makes a diving catch at first base in Post 61's 5-0 loss against East Grand Forks on July 22, 2022 at Matson Field in Moorhead in the Sub-State 14 Legion baseball playoffs.
Jared Rubado / Perham Focus

“They’ve established they want to play college ball,” Mulcahy said. “You nominate the players who want that, and some are selected. Benny is going to hit for power and average. I think he’s going to be a first-baseman in college–that’s what most of the college coaches are saying. Gamble has the intangibles. He has the bat speed, even if the base hits didn’t happen. He’s got the arm and the glove at shortstop.”

Even though Perham has produced top-level talent over the last few years, Mulcahy knows how special it is to have two more kids from the area selected for this event.

“The organization that called me said they rarely select two guys from one team in a small town,” Mulcahy said. “I nominated several. It means that we have guys that want to come out and play that have talent. Now it’s just a matter of finding that groove and seeing what the offseason will look like.”

EAST GRAND FORKS 010 020 2 – 5 - 10 - 1

PERHAM 000 000 0 – 0 - 3 - 0

WP: Drew Carpenter (7IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 1BB)

LP: Logan Pulju (6IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 10K, 1BB)

Related Topics: BASEBALLPERHAM BASEBALLAMERICAN LEGION
Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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