Owatonna Post 77 lost its playoff opener Tuesday to the Rochester Patriots 6-1. Owatonna will play Friday at 1PM in an elimination game.


Post 77's Sam Hylle drove in Owatonna's only run in a 6-1 loss to the Rochester Patriots in the opening round of district tournament play. Roy Koenig, Townsquare Media

The early innings were a pitching and defensive showcase. Owatonna's Trey Fails and the Patriot's Logan Saltou each faced one over the limit through the first three. Post 77's Sam Hylle made a nice running grab of a fly ball in deep right. Post 92's infield converted on a couple of tough plays.

Owatonna broke through in the fourth inning. Alec Holcomb singled and moved ahead on a wild pitch and a ground out. Hylle drove him in, with what turned out to be Owatonna's final hit of the game.

Rochester responded in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs on three hits and a walk. Post 92 added a run in the sixth and pulled away with three in the eighth. American Legion playoff games are scheduled for nine innings. The regular season is seven, like high school baseball.

A pair of Rochester pitchers struck out seven Owatonna batters and held Post 77 to three hits. Four pitchers combined for Owatonna with Fails, Clay Leidall, Grant Wehseler and Eric Benson all taking a turn. Benson made an impressive catch on a blistering line drive hit back at him in the eighth.

Owatonna, the No. 6 seed, will face the Rochester Redhawks, the No. 7 seed, Friday at 1PM at Massey Field at Mayo High School in an elimination game. The winner will play right away at 4PM.

American Legion, sub-state, district 1, first round results

No. 1 Austin defeated No. 8 Waseca
No. 4 Rochester A's 3, No. 5 Winona 2
No. 3 Patriots 6, No. 6 Owatonna 1
No. 2 Albert Lea 4, No. 7 Redhawks 3

Thursday July 23, winner's bracket, Massey Field, Mayo High School

Patriots vs. Albert Lea, 1PM
Austin vs. A's, 4PM