By Tyler Ohmann
The regular season has wrapped up, play-in games played and the seeds for the Victory League division playoffs set.
A wild final weekend determined the 16 teams that would continue to play this season, four of whom captured division titles and Region
8C automatic bids.
Avon captured one of those bids, while also forcing Swanville into a playoff game with Flensburg after the Lakers came back to swamp the Swans 12-7, Saturday, July 8.
Swanville led most of the way, and were up 4-3 entering the eighth inning.
However, Swans starter Austin Johnson got into trouble and gave up five in the eighth, which sunk the Swanville effort.
Johnson went eight innings, striking out six for Swanville. Zach Gutormson reached base all four at-bats, ripping two hits, walking twice, scoring twice and driving in three runs.
Flensburg also lost Saturday, July 8, as the Falcons were blown out, 25-1, in seven innings by the Sobieski Skis. Sobieski clinched the second spot at regions with the win to improve to 13-0 in league play.
The game was out of hand early, as the Skis scored 13 times in the opening frame.
Thomas Miller, who also earned the win on the mound, drove in five of his eight RBIs in the opening inning. He hit two long home runs.
Austin Weisz had a four-hit day with a double, triple, four runs scored and three RBIs for the Skis. Dan Marod clubbed a three-run homer in the second inning.
Evan Athman accounted for the lone Flensburg run with a solo homer. He also clubbed a double.
The losses pitted the two 1-12 teams against each other in a play-in game, Sunday, July 9, in Swanville.
The teams split in the regular season, but it was the Falcons that would win the rubber match.
Ike Thomas went the distance for Flensburg, allowing four runs on three hits and striking out nine.
Braden Backowski drove in two runs and scored twice on three hits for the Falcons.
Carter Loven hit an RBI triple and scored for the Swans in the loss.
The third division winner was another undefeated team in the Ft. Ripley Rebels, who won twice to go 13-0.
The Rebels’ first win was a 7-4 victory over Aitkin, Saturday, July 8.
Brett Kramer clubbed a solo home run and a triple to lead the offense. Jason Sather added a two-run double.
The Rebels’ final regular season win was a 14-2 victory over St. Mathias in seven innings later that day.
Bill Sather went yard twice and drove in five runs on four hits for Ft. Ripley. Nick Jelacie scored three times for the Rebels.
St. Mathias was led by Josh Boser, who had a pair of hits.
Last but not least was the Victory League East.
Buckman (10-3) shut out Lastrup, 8-0, to earn the east title, Saturday, July 8.
Jeremy Monson went all nine innings, scattering five hits in the shutout performance.
Shawn Lanners hit a pinch-hit home run for the Billygoats, while Matt Kummet ripped three hits and drove in a pair of runs.
Reggie Litke ripped two base hits in the loss for Lastrup, who finished 9-4 and the No. 3 seed in the east.
The Pierz Bulldogs lost 10-7 to Nisswa, Saturday, July 8 to finish the regular season with a 2-11 record.
Ryan Foreman hit a home run as one of three hits and Andy Leidenfrost had three hits, scored twice and drove in two runs in the loss for the Bulldogs.
Royalton was also defeated, Saturday, 6-5, by the Pierz Brewers.
Brian Kiel and Dylan Kummet each earned three hits at the plate for the Brewers, who finished 9-4 on the year.
Cole Jendro had three hits, including a double and two RBIs in the loss for Royalton.
The loss kept the Riverdogs and the Bulldogs within a game, which in the East forces a play-in game.
That game was won by the Bulldogs, 7-3, Sunday, July 9.
Kolton Eischens earned the victory with 5 2/3 innings of solid relief pitching. He allowed no runs on four hits.
Leidenfrost drove in three runs and Craig Luberts scored three as the Bulldogs claimed the final spot in the east. Ryan Snyder had two hits, a run and an RBI for the Riverdogs in the loss.
The last game of the weekend was a 6-1 win for Upsala over Randall, Saturday, July 8.
The Jays were led by Matt Swanson, who hit two doubles. Paul Krebs jacked a pinch-hit homer and tossed the finals three hitless innings for Upsala, striking out five.
Dusty Parker had an RBI double for the Cubs in the loss.
Division playoffs began with the following games, Saturday, July 15: No. 1 Ft. Ripley vs. No. 4 Cuyuna; No. 1 Buckman vs. No. 4 Bulldogs, No. 3 Lakers at No. 2 Brewers; No. 4 Flensburg at No. 1 Sobieski, No. 3 Cubs at No. 2 Upsala.
The winners play the winners and losers play losers in the second round, Sunday, July 16.