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River Falls wins state Legion baseball title

Members of the River Falls Post 121 baseball team hoist the state championship plaque after defeating Beaver Dam, 8-7, in the Class AA American Legion State Tournament final Tuesday night in Tomah.

The River Falls Post 121 baseball team defeated top-ranked Beaver Dam 8-7 Tuesday night to win its first ever Wisconsin American Legion state baseball title.

After falling behind 2-0 after one inning of play, River Falls scored six runs in the top of the second and never trailed, turning an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the sixth to preserve the 8-7 win.

Colin Pechacek doubled in a pair of runs and J.P. Feyereisen doubled in a run while Isaac Witt and Josh Halling each had RBI singles to highlight a six-run second inning and stake River Falls to a 6-2 lead.

Beaver Dam scored a run in the bottom of the second and added two more in the fourth to pull to within a run, 6-5.

River Falls scored two big runs in the top of the sixth when Witt doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a base hit by Jake Kerr. Kerr later scored on a bases-loaded walk to extend River Falls' lead to 8-5.

Beaver Dam scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to make it an 8-7 game, but with two runners on and one out, River Falls turned a double play to end the inning and hold on for the first state title in Post 121 history.

River Falls finished the tournament with a record of 5-1 with its only loss coming at the hands of Beaver Dam, 7-3, in a second round game on Saturday. Beaver Dam later lost to Holmen in the double elimination tournament.

"I couldn't be more proud of what these guys showed this weekend," coach Ryan Bishop said. "They never gave up when their backs were against the wall. Nobody deserves it more."

Pechacek finished with two hits and two RBI and Halling and Witt had two hits and an RBI each while Alex Call contributed a pair of hits in the win.

Jack Herum worked the first four innings on the mound and earned the victory, allowing five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks. J.P. Feyereisen earned the save, allowing two runs on three hits with no strikeouts and no walks over the final three innings.

Feyereisen finished the tournament with two complete game victories, including a four-hit shutout over Kimberly on Monday, and a save in Tuesday's title game. He also hit a pair of home runs on his way to earning tournament MVP honors.

Halling, Ryan Kusilek and Brad Erdrich were also named to the all-tournament team.

See the Aug. 10 print edition of the River Falls Journal for more on Post 121's first-ever state title.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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