By PATRICK SLACK
It took 12 innings but Rocori was able to hand Little Falls its first loss of the season, edging the Flyers 6-5 in the first game of Saturday’s tournament in Freeport.
Little Falls bounced back to win its second game of the tournament, shutting out St. Cathedral 6-0 to beat the Crusaders for the second time this year and capture the first-ever Granite Ridge Conference (GRC) championship.
Rocori 6, Little Falls 5
Rocori jumped out to a 5-0 lead with three runs in the first and two in the second, but Little Falls got right back in the game with three in the third. The Flyers evened the score with runs in the fifth and sixth, but Rocori was able to hold off Little Falls until the bottom of the 12th, when the Spartans pushed across the winning run.
Senior Mitch Gregory and junior Collin Eckman each had three hits and senior Michael Holthaus added two.
Senior Joey Hanowski knocked in two runs, with senior Matt Valentine and Eckman also driving in one.
Little Falls 6, St. Cloud Cathedral 0
The Flyers bounced back to win the second game of the day 6-0 against St. Cloud Cathedral behind an eight-hit shutout thrown by senior Luke Thoma.
Little Falls took a 1-0 lead in the third inning before putting the game away late with three in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Hanowski went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI to lead Little Falls at the plate.
Junior Matt Stumpf added two hits, two RBIs and a run, while Gregory and Eckman both singled and scored.
Juniors Spencer Fenske and Gabe Ploof and Valentine also contributed an RBI.
Little Falls closes the regular season at Foley, Tuesday.
Little Falls 5 12 3
Rocori 6 10 0
Little Falls—Mitch Gregory: 3-5, R; Collin Eckman: 3-6, RBI; Michael Holthaus: 2-5; Matt Stumpf: 1-4, 2B, R; Joey Hanowski: 1-3, 2-R; Gabe Ploof: 1-1; Tony Arnold: 1-5, R; Spencer Fenske: 3-IP, 0-R, 0-H, 2-BB, 2-K.
Little Falls 6 9 0
Cathedral 0 8 3
Little Falls—Joey Hanowski: 3-4, 2B, RBI, 2-R; Matt Stumpf: 2-4, 2-RBI, R; Matt Valentine: 1-3, RBI; Michael Holthaus: 1-3; Collin Eckman: 1-4, R; Mitch Gregory: 1-4, R; WP-Luke Thoma: 7-IP, 0-R, 8-H, 1-BB, 1-K.