by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The last time Elk River Legion faced Waite Park, a slugger named Reese Gregory drilled three home runs off them.
The Elks lost that game 10-8, but they won the all-important rematch 4-3 on Thursday evening in sub-district play at St. Cloud, clinching a berth in the District 6 tournament.
“That was our only (league) loss in the regular season,” said coach Josh Juntunen. “We did better against him (Gregory) this time.”
Gregory had a single in four at-bats against Terry Hadden and Brady Givens in the nine-inning game.
The Elks, seeded No. 2 in the sub-district, beat Zimmerman 6-1 Tuesday, and with the win over No. 3 Waite Park, they advance to the finals vs. Big Lake on Friday at 8 p.m. at Faber Field.
The top two teams advance to district, with the winner earning a higher seed. The eight-team district will start Wednesday, also in St. Cloud.
Hadden worked six innings, allowing three runs, and Givens fired three shutout frames, picking up the victory.
Corey Collins was 2-for-4 and smacked a two-run double for the Elks, and Matt Baker knocked in the go-ahead run in the last of the seventh. After Sam Wirtz doubled, Baker sent him home with a single.
Josh Wood pitched seven innings for Waite Park and took the loss.
Juntunen cited the Elks defense as a key component in both playoff wins.
“Tonight we made two double plays and had a couple acrobatic catches,” said Juntunen. “We had just one error, on a bunt.”
One of the DP’s got the Elks out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam, with one run scoring on the play.