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VFW pushes record to 12-1

The Lake Elmo VFW baseball team had what coach Ricky Michel called a busy week, but it was also productive, as Post 5725 won four of their last five games.

Lake Elmo, who pushed its record to 12-2 overall and 7-1 in league play, opened the Monticello Tournament with a hard-fought 3-2 loss to Columbia Heights. Post 5725 battled back to win the consolation championship with consecutive victories over Coon Rapids, Blaine and Roseville.

In the opener, Lake Elmo took an early 1-0 lead as Columbia Heights hit two batters to load the bases in the second inning. Mike Wilson laid down an RBI bunt to bring home Andrew Rohlf.

An inning later, Rohlf singled home Ian Houck, who stole second base to put himself in position to score.

Columbia Heights answered with a run in the bottom of the third, and pulled ahead with the game-tying and game-winning runs in the fifth. Brody Amberg (1-2) went the distance, allowing four hits, walking four and striking out nine.

Lake Elmo regrouped offensively and took it out on its next three opponents. Post 5725 outscored Coon Rapids, Blaine and Roseville by a combined 33-1 to secure the consolation championship.

Billy Zintl was 2-for-4 and scored three times to lead the way in the 12-0 victory over Coon Rapids. Ricky Belt, Tyler Mordick, Dan Johnson, Wilson and Reynolds also contributed on the offensive end.

Reynolds (2-0) and Brian Libby combined for the three-hit shutout.

Jason McCarthy (2-0) went to the mound against Blaine and with excellent defense behind him, was able to toss a three-hit shutout of his own in an 11-0 victory over Blaine.

Singles by Joe Edison and Rohlf helped Lake Elmo get out to a 3-0 lead after three innings. Zintl knocked home two runs with a double and RBI singles by Dan Johnson and Reynolds gave Post 5725 a 7-0 lead.

D.J. Johnson drove in one in the fifth and Belt followed it up with a base-clearing double to put the game out of reach.

Houck and Wilson helped keep Lake Elmo rolling in the consolation championship as each had three hits and combined to score four runs against Roseville. Zintl went 2-for-5 with a three-run home run and a three-run double to give him six RBIs in the game.

Lance Zilles got the job done on the mound, scattering four hits and striking out five in the 10-1 victory.

Roseville had a chance at redemption in a rematch on Monday, but couldn't capitalize. They took a 3-2 lead after four innings of the league game, but Zintl and Houck each launched two-run homers to break the game open. Mike Hajlo, Mordick and Zintl each finished with two hits in Post 5725's 8-3 victory.

Houck's long ball wasn't his only contribution. He improved his record to 4-0 as he earned the complete-game victory, giving up four hits.

Houck retired the last 10 batters of the game to seal the victory. Coach Michel praised the play of Steve Ryan on the defensive end.