Renner Post 307 catcher Zach Evers fields a bunt and throws to 1B during their game against Excelsior Legion. Renner lost 12-2 ending their season. (Photo: JURGENS PHOTOGRAPHY)
Renner Post 307’s historic legion baseball season ended Saturday at the Central Plains Regional tournament, as the Royals were bested by Excelsior (Minn.) 12-2 at Sioux Falls Stadium in a game that ended by mercy rule after five innings.
Renner was making its debut in the regional after winning their first South Dakota state title, and after dropping a 4-3 heartbreaker to Oshkosh, Wisc., in their tournament opener had stayed alive with a 10-8 win over Dubuque County on Thursday and a 6-5 win over Edina on Friday.
That earned them a shot at a powerful Excelsior team that entered with only two losses all season, and Minnesota’s Post 259 squad showed why. With the score tied 2-2 after two, Excelsior exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a homer by Will Sturek (his 14th of the season), a triple by Matt Mortenson, as well as three walks, an error, a hit batsmen and a walk.
That big inning gave Post 259 a 10-2 lead, and that was more than enough for ace starter Sam Tyrpa, who worked all five innings for his 10th win in 10 decisions this season.
Things looked encouraging for Renner early on, as they got a pair of runs in the second when John Moen led off with a single, moved to third on a double by Daulton Vanderloo, then saw Reece Arbogast and Zack Evers both knock them in with RBI groundouts. Tyrpa entered the game 9-0 with a 0.61 ERA, so for Renner to plate a couple early runs off him was no small feat.
Tyrpa settled down from there, however, and only got stronger when his offense put up the big number in the third.
The game ended in the fifth when Jared Wandersee and Jack Hanson walked, then scored on a double by Will Sturek and a pinch-hit single by Evan Steingas against a five-man infield that enacted the 10-run rule.
Will Sturek was 2-for-4 for Excelsior, while Mike Sturek was 2-for-2 and reached four times. Mitch Klass was 2-for-2 with a walk, while Ike Fueker walked three times and scored twice.
Renner ends the season with a 39-24 record. Excelsior will face Fargo Post 2 in Sunday’s championship. Fargo would have to beat Excelsior twice.