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19U team wins SW Minnesota championship

Team ends season with 14-3 record
Lead Summary
Jason Berghorst

When the summer of 2020 started, Luverne’s high school-aged baseball players were unsure if they could play this summer.
When American Legion baseball was officially canceled in Minnesota, local coaches and leaders decided to field a 19U team instead.
Codie Zeutenhorst coached the team, and a schedule with other area 19U teams was developed.
Instead of having a state tournament to qualify for, local teams created a Southwest Minnesota 19U tournament as the end-of-season event.
The four-team tournament included Luverne, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, Minneota and the hosts, Adrian, and was played Thursday and Friday.
 The Luverne 19U team won the tournament by defeating Adrian 6-2 Thursday and Minneota 10-0 Friday.
Luverne won their final twelve games in a row and ended their season 14-3.
Luverne 6, Adrian 2
The Luverne 19U team came out on top of Adrian 6-2 in the first game of the year-end tournament played in Adrian Friday.
Quinn Buss was the winning pitcher for the Cardinals. He threw for five innings, striking out two and giving up no walks, four hits and two runs.
Ethan Beyer relieved Buss on the mound. Beyer pitched two innings and gave up no hits, no walks and no runs while striking out three.
Colby Crabtree and Jacob VonTersch had two hits each for Luverne with Crabtree hitting a double.
Bailey Cowell scored twice and Beyer, VonTersch, Riley Anderson and Nathan Nekali plated one run each.
Box score
Luverne                     1 2 2 0 0 0 1          6
Adrian                0 0 2 0 0 0 0          2
                                  AB  R  H  BI
Beyer                        3     2   2   1
Cowell                       3     1   1   2
Wenninger                3     0   0   1
Crabtree                    2     2   1   3
Buss                          2     3   2   0
Van Dam                   3     1   1   0
Nekali                        1     2   0   2
Baker                        2     0   0   0
Anderson                  1     0   1   1
VonTersch                2     1   1   0
Luverne 12, Minneota 2
In their final game of the season, the Luverne 19U baseball team defeated Minneota 12-2 in six innings in the championship game of the Southwest Minnesota 19U Tournament Friday in Adrian.
Luverne jumped out to a 6-1 lead after the first inning, including a three-run homerun by Colby Crabtree.
The Cardinals added two more runs each in the third and fourth innings.
Each team added one run in the sixth inning to make it an 11-2 Luverne lead.
When Luverne scored one more run with an RBI single by Riley Anderson, the game ended because of the ten-run rule.
Ethan Beyer and Quinn Buss produced two hits each for Luverne. Buss also scored three runs.
Beyer, Nathan Nekali and Crabtree each scored twice for the victors with Crabtree adding three RBIs.
Cade Wenninger pitched a complete game for Luverne. He struck out eight batters and walked four while giving up four hits and two runs.
Box score
Minneota            1 0 0 0 0 1           2
Luverne                     6 0 2 2 1 1         12
                                  AB  R  H  BI
Beyer                        3     1   1   1
Buss                          2     0   0   0
Crabtree                    4     0   2   0
Cowell                       0     2   0   0
Van Dam                   2     0   0   0
VonTersch                4     1   2   1
Baker                        3     0   0   0
Anderson                  3     1   0   0
Nekali                        2     1   1   0
Halverson                 3     0   1   1
Season Recap
Luverne 19U coach Codie Zeutenhorst said he feels good about his first season leading the team.
“We had a great season,” he said. “The kids were able to adapt on short notice (to the unique season), we won two tournaments and ended 14-3.”
With no high school season this spring and with limited practice opportunities this summer, Zeutenhorst said the team benefited from experienced leadership.
“We had a great group of seniors to lead the team and the juniors didn’t let us down,” the coach said. “The Junior Legion guys came up and did their jobs, too.”
Zeutenhorst pointed out that with the team’s record, he can’t help but think of what might have been if a regular American Legion season could have been played this summer.
“It’s certainly possible we could have gone to state with this team,” he said. “It does feel like a slightly missed opportunity.”
“Overall, though, it was a great season.”

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