Havelka’s Walk-Off Grand Slam Lifts Owatonna Legion Baseball Past Winona
Abe Havelka smashed a game-ending grand slam over the left field fence to lift Owatonna Post 77 to an 8-4 win over Winona Post 9 on Wednesday at Fuller Field.
Owatonna's seventh-inning dramatics became necessary when Winona rallied for three runs in the sixth inning on one hit, two walks and two Post 77 errors to tie the game at 4-4.
In the last of the seventh, Owatonna's first two batters went down on a fly out and strike out. That brought up the top of the order. Noah Budach got hit by a pitch and stole second. Tucker Alstead walked. Kodey Kiel got drilled in the back with a pitch from LeJetz starter Easton Gamoke to load the bases.
During Havelka's at-bat, a pitch got away from the catcher, but not far enough to allow Budach to score. Havelka fouled off a couple of pitches after the count went full. Then he sent a long drive to left field on the eighth pitch of the dual that left Fuller Field. He rounded the bases while his teammates gathered at home to celebrate the win. It was the third home run of the night for Owatonna.
Winona opened the game with a run in the top of the first inning. Owatonna countered in the second with a Zach Mensink homer over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1. In the third, Post 77 scratched together two runs. Dawson Leer walked, advanced to second on an error, reached third on a fly ball to center and scored on a single by Alstead.
Alstead made it to second on a wild pitch, stole third on a delayed move and scored on a ground out by Kiel to boost Owatonna's lead to 3-1. Budach hit a line drive home run in the fifth inning, also over the left field fence for a 4-1 advantage.
Kiel pitched six innings, giving up three hits and striking out five. Alec Holcomb pitched the seventh. Winona opened with a single and sacrificed him to second, but Holcomb got the No. 3 and No. 4 batters in the LeJetz lineup to hit ground balls.
Owatonna improved to 6-2 (6-1 in the First District) and will host Albert Lea on Thursday at 7PM. Winona's nine-game winning streak ended Thursday. They are 9-2 (5-2 in the district). The LeJetz play at a tournament in LaCrosse this weekend.