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Hoisington Blanks Russell in AA State Finale

2018 Russell American Legion Post 99 Baseball teamSABETHA - The Russell American Legion Post 99 Senior Baseball team closed out play in the AA State Tournament and for the 2018 season with a 6-0 loss to Hoisington Friday afternoon, July 27 at Somerset Park.

For the first time in postseason play, Russell was the designated visiting team and was retired in order in the top of the first inning.  Starting pitcher Walker Braun began the bottom of the first frame by walking the first two Hoisington batters he faced.  One out later another walk was issued and then a wild pitch resulted in Hoisington's first run.  Another run scored on a bases-loaded walk and Braun was lifted after one third of an inning and 28 pitches and replaced by Kyle Farmer.

While Farmer kept Hoisington off the scoreboard for the next three innings, Russell missed several scoring opportunities.  Post 99 loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second inning but the frame ended when Cole Schmidtberger was called out on strikes and Cooper Pfannenstiel popped out to Hoisington shortstop Collin Schockermeier.  In the fourth inning, Tanner Rome drew a leadoff walk but was erased on the base paths when Brooks Nichols grounded into an inning-ending double play.  In the top of the fifth, the first two hitters reached base for Russell but another double play ended the threat when Kyler Fritschen who was trying to advance runners with a bunt, hit the ball too hard and Hoisington pitcher Kaleb Blazek threw Fritschen out at first and then Cade Evans was thrown out at the plate trying to score.

Hoisington finally made Russell pay for the missed chances with three runs in the bottom of the fifth on a wild pitch, an error and a fielder's choice.  They would add another run in the sixth when Blazek struck an RBI double to drive home Schockermeier but Blazek was thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.  Blazek came back however in the seventh and retired Russell (18-14) in order to finish the complete game victory.

Russell's offense struggled throughout the entire tournament as they scored two total runs.  Hoisington despite this win and a win Thursday night over Silver Lake failed to qualify for Saturday's Semifinals.  Iola and Silver Lake will represent Pool A while TMP and Marysville have emerged from Pool B.

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