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Legion season ends with loss to Esko

Pictured are: (front row, from left) Eric Carlson, Riley Tiboni, Nick Perfetto, Garrett Jordahl and Carson Wenger; and (back row) Tim Luoma, Easton Best, Brett Olson, Jake Bilbin, Ero Wallin and coach Rob Best. Not pictured are Brock Fjern, David Anderson and Trey Fleck. (Photo courtesy of Rob Best)

The Lake Superior Rivals American Legion baseball team ended its season with an 11-1 playoff loss to Esko July 21 in Maple.

The team fell behind early in the game, but rebounded with a solid five innings on the mound from Nick Perfetto and the team turned a couple of double plays to keep the score in check for a few innings, according to coach Rob Best.

In the playoffs, the Rivals first faced off against Proctor in a 4-3 loss last week, but a surprise loss by the Eskomos meant the team had to face off against the top two teams in the tournament. Proctor would eventually beat Esko to go to the state tournament. In fact, Best said Proctor's game against the Rivals was the only one Proctor played that didn't end early because of the 10 run rule.

The team struggled with defensive errors throughout the summer, but Best said this year was a "growing season" for the Rivals. The team will return all but one of its players next summer and with another year of playing together and developing, 2018 could be a big season for the Rivals with the potential return of Easton Best and Perfetto as well as the continued development of younger players Ero Wallin and Brett Olson.

Best said he wanted to thank the American Legion Post 109, the city of Two Harbors and Lake Superior School District for their support this season. He also said he wanted to thank Seagren's Hardware in Two Harbors for allowing the Rivals to raise money selling hot dogs during the store's grand opening celebration earlier this year.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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