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Morris VFW gets ready for state by hosting 'All-League' game

Second baseman Eric Riley chases down an "All League" player in the hot box Monday at Chizek Field.

The Morris VFW baseball team hosted the District 5 "All-League" game on Monday at Chizek Field. In this annual contest, the district champions take on the All-League team which consists of two players from each of the other 10 teams.

Morris now plays in the VFW State Tournament Thursday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. at Putz Field in St. Cloud against the winner of a game between Bemidji and St. Cloud East.

In what was supposed to be a nine-inning game, play was halted with Morris batting in the bottom of the eighth inning when lightning was spotted in the area. The game already had been delayed by rain earlier in the contest. The All-League team had a 7-6 lead when the game was suspended.

Pitching duties were split up for Post 5039 in this game with Eric Riley pitching the first two innings, Tyler Hansen the next three, Travis Rinkenberger worked the sixth and seventh innings, and Ethan Bruer finished up in the eighth.

Morris took an early lead in the bottom of the first when Alex Erickson walked to lead off the inning, went to second on a Hansen single, and scored on a two-out single by Brady Valnes.

The All-League team then took command, scoring two runs in each of the second, fifth, and sixth innings to take a 6-1 lead.

Post 5039 answered in their half of the sixth inning, sending 11 hitters to the plate and scoring five times to tie the game. Erickson had a one-out single and Hansen was hit by a pitch. Ryan Beyer then drove in a run with a single and E. Riley was hit by another pitch to reload the bases. Valnes drove in a run with a single before Cole Riley singled in two runs. After a walk to Rinkenberger and another out, Valnes scored when Bruer singled to left to tie the game.

The All-League team then scratched out a run in the top of the eighth. Morris came back, getting the tying runner on first when Beyer hit a one-out single in the bottom of the inning before the game was called.