LCA baseball advances to state semifinals, defeating Ely 9-4

Sports Reporter
Sam is the sports reporter for ABC Newspapers, covering high school, junior college and community sports in the area. He joined the staff in October 2016.
Legacy Christian Academy second baseman Jarvey Hill makes a throw to first baseman Josh Niessen in Thursday's 9-4 win against Ely in the Class 1A state quarterfinals. (Photo by Sam Herder)
Legacy Christian Academy second baseman Jarvey Hill makes a throw to first baseman Josh Niessen in Thursday’s 9-4 win against Ely in the Class 1A state quarterfinals. (Photo by Sam Herder)

The Legacy Christian Academy baseball team had a quick answer for Ely in the first round of the Class 1A state tournament Thursday at the Mini Met in Jordan. After taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning, LCA allowed four runs in the top of the fourth with some uncharacteristic errors.

But the Lions’ response was instant, retaking the lead with two runs the bottom half of the inning. They kept the momentum on their side and went on to win 9-4. The win sends them to the state semifinals at 2:30 p.m. today against unseeded Wabasha-Kellogg.

LCA is the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

“We played hard, but our defense was lacking a little bit,” LCA head coach Adam Hill said. “We gave up one big inning, which usually isn’t our case. But we put the ball in play, scored nine runs and came out with the win.”

Sparked by Lucas Nelson’s three hits, the LCA bats were active all game. Four hits and three runs set the tone in the bottom of the first inning. After losing the lead, then retaking the lead, the Lions added some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Nelson lined a two-run triple. Jarvey Hill then sent Nelson home on a single. Hill eventually crossed home plate when Caleb Darling beat out a throw for an infield single.

Pitcher Josh Peterson closed the game out strong in the seventh inning for a complete game. He allowed seven hits and four runs while striking out five batters and walking one.

“We have a resilient bunch of guys,” Hill said. “They don’t get too high or too low. They have good team chemistry and hold each other accountable. So if someone is messing up, everybody else is on them making sure we’re right back on track.”

The semifinal game today is played at the Mini Met. The winner advances to the state title game at 10 a.m. Monday at Target Field. The loser plays in the third place game at 5 p.m. today.

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(Photos by Sam Herder)
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(Photos by Sam Herder)