By Joel Lidstrom
The Caledonia Legion team wrapped up its season with two losses in the District Legion Baseball Tournament in Stewartville. On Thursday, July 24, Caledonia fell 10-0 to the top-seeded Rochester Eagles. Hampered by the unavailability of third baseman Tyler Hoskins, Caledonia allowed two runs in the first inning on four infield errors. With fireballer Adam Ellingson on the mound for Rochester, that was all they needed. Ellingson faced 17 batters in a rule-shortened game, striking out 15.
Caledonia had only three base-runners the entire game, and only one real opportunity to score. With two outs in the first inning, T.J. Shultz singled. Harrison Speltz followed by striking out on a wild pitch, and as Schultz safely raced to third, Speltz was called safe at first. The rally died as Ellingson got Joe Pettit swinging.
Kai Lidstrom took the loss for Caledonia, with Tanner Gran relieving early in hopes of saving Lidstrom for a possible start on Saturday the 26th, should Caledonia prevail in its first game that day.
Needing a Saturday win to remain alive in the tournament, Caledonia returned to Stewartville for a re-match against La Crescent. Coach Brian Langen was optimistic, knowing that his club had put up a good fight against Jamie Muller’s team in the sub-districts. But late word that three players, Dylan Lee, Tyler Hoskins and Mason Drake, would not be available dashed any hope that Caledonia might have had.
With only the minimum nine players, coach Langen cobbled together a lineup that included Lidstrom in left field, Drew Elvik in right, Kyle Jennings at second base, Brandon Robley at third, and Derek Vonderohe at shortstop.
Tanner Langen got the start for Caledonia; but despite having pitched 14 straight shutout innings in the tournament, Langen surrendered four uncharacteristic runs in the first inning. By the second inning he settled into a good rhythm, but got no run support from his offense. La Crescent’s Austin DeBoer made sure of that, shutting Caledonia out 8-0 with a two-hit, nine strikeout performance.
After the game, coach Langen called his team together for the year’s final post-game huddle. Acknowledging that it was a rough game, perhaps an impossible game, Langen encouraged his team nevertheless. “I am proud of each one of you. You kept your heads in there, you played hard; it’s all I could have asked from you, and you delivered with your best.”