Farming Flames Little League Earn Stearns County Little Dipper League Championship
(Link to Smilebox photos, courtesy of Barb Mergen: http://smilebox.com/playEmail/4d6a59794d5441344f546c384e5459354e6a6b304d44493d0d0a&sb=1)
Farming Flames Little League Team capped a perfect season with a 7-6 extra inning win against the Roscoe Rangers. The Flames finished with a spectacular 13-0 record after defeating the Rangers at the new and improved Farming Baseball Park. The well-balanced Roscoe team finished the season 11-2 with their only other loss coming at the hands of the same Farming team 5-0 earlier in the season.
The game began with Farming pitcher Mitchell Thelen breaking a cardinal rule by walking the leadoff runner. As typically happens the runner scored, but Thelen then settled down nicely by pounding the strike zone against the strong hitting Rangers giving up only one more run in the fourth inning. The Flames welcomed a stellar diving stop by Tylor Schroeder at second base to stop the Ranger rally short. Thelen finished with five innings giving up two runs on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
The scoring for the Flames began in the second inning with solid singles by Nick Mergen, Max Carlson, and Hunter Mergen capping a three run inning. Thelen and Josh Christen crossed the plate in the third giving the Flames a 5-1 lead.
With the Flames leading 5-2 in the sixth, the wheels came off the cart for a short time as two errors, two walks, and a hit handed the Rangers four runs and the lead at 6-5. Relief pitcher Taylor Fourre found his bearings and retired eight of the final nine outs by strike out to end the Ranger scoring.
Down one run in the seventh inning centerfielder Kyle Birr manufactured a run by drawing a walk, stealing second, and scoring from second on a slow rolling ground ball to the shortstop. Running straight through a stop sign from the third base coach, Birr slid into home just ahead of the throw from the first baseman to tie the game at 6. Moving to the eighth with one out, right fielder Marcus Mergen, after working a full count, obtained first base by being hit by a pitch. He was moved up to third by a double by Thelen, and scored the winning run by stealing home during a suicide squeeze play.
This championship team was anchored all season by consummate hard working veterans Nick Mergen (C, P, IF), Mitchell Thelen (P, IF), and Josh Christen (OF). Their leadership will be missed as they move on to the next level.
The Lake Henry Legion Post 612 sponsors the Stearns County Little Dipper League. Thanks and gratitude to out the Legion members for their support for the youth baseball programs of the Stearns County League.
Team Photo Names (Note: see Photos link on left to view team photo)
Front Row: Hunter Mergen, Luke Schmitt, Jake Koltes, Max Glatzmier, Nick Mergen, Max Carlson, Tylor Schroeder, Izaac Nett
Back Row: Coach James Birr, Taylor Fourre, Josh Christen, Kyle Birr, Mitchell Thelen, Adam Winkels, Marcus Mergen, Coach Eric Carlson, Coach Dennis Mergen