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Legion baseball: St. Paul Park Parkers fall to rival East Ridge

Nearing the halfway point of the season, the St. Paul Park Parkers Post 98 American Legion baseball team is hoping to stop its current slide and get things going the opposite direction.

The Parkers lost a pair of games last week, 9-2 to Apple Valley and 8-1 to rival East Ridge, and slipped to 2-5 in League F play and 4-15 overall.

"We need to stop making the same mistake twice," St. Paul Park head coach Matt Doornink said. "We keep doing the same things over and over again it seems like."

St. Paul Park traveled to East Ridge on Tuesday, June 25. Against East Ridge, which entered the game with a 1-7 league record, St. Paul Park scored its lone run in the sixth inning, already down 7-0, when Andy Sammon singled home Matt Chermack. Chermack led off the inning with a double.

St. Paul Park had trouble with East Ridge ace Drew Molin in the loss. Molin threw a complete game for the win. The Parkers went down 1-2-3 in the first, second, fifth and seventh innings.

"He's a lefty and that helps him," Doornink said. "His fastball is above average, but I didn't think he was good enough to shut us down as much as he did."

St. Paul Park leadoff hitter Tavier Simmons led the way for the Parkers at the plate, going 2-for-3.

Starting pitcher Jack Dougherty took the loss, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and seven runs, but only four were earned runs. Simmons came in and pitched well in relief, Doornink said.

"Simmons pitched pretty good," Doornink said. "We should see more of him coming up."

After falling to East Ridge, St. Paul Park played host to Apple Valley the very next day at Park High School.

The Parkers led 1-0 heading into the fifth inning, but the wheels came off at that point. Apple Valley scored four runs in the fifth and added five more runs in the sixth to blow the game open.

"Apple Valley is down this year," Doornink said. "That's probably the weakest Apple Valley team I've seen in 10 years."

St. Paul Park, which accumulated six hits in the game, took its early 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single by Simmons, driving home Brad Schmidt. However, a double play ended the Parkers' rally that inning. Post 98 also stranded two runners in the fourth, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.

"We have not been timely with our hitting at all," Doornink said.

Chermack took the loss on the mound, going four innings, before giving way to Max Stedt and Kyle Strand, who each came in in relief.

Post 98 took on Oakdale on Friday, after the Bulletin went to print, then had a double header against West St. Paul on Saturday at Park, before hosting Inver Grove on Monday. Next, the Parkers have a double dip with Forest Lake on Wednesday, July 3.

"Hopefully, I'll have better stuff to talk about next week," Doornink said.

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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