The East Grand Forks American Legion baseball team honored its seniors Wednesday night at Stauss Park, marking the final home game of the season.
Fitting, then, EGF's super senior was the hero.
Coby Stauss, a 19-year-old outfielder, took the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh inning deep over the left-field fence for a solo home run to give East Grand Forks a 2-1 win over Bemidji in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
Bemidji won the opener 5-1.
"I felt I was seeing the ball well today," Stauss said. "It looked like the pitch was there for me, I got a good swing on it and let the barrel do the work."
Stauss was a 2018 graduate of EGF Senior High and spent the past school year playing junior hockey for the Manitoba Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. He plans to play for Janesville (Wis.) in the North American Hockey League this upcoming season.
"You knew something good was coming," East Grand Forks coach Michael Lukkason said. "Stauss had just missed the barrel in his prior two at-bats, but he didn't miss that one."
EGF's only two runs in Game 2 of the doubleheader came on solo home runs as Jake Hjelle also hit a homer in the bottom of the first inning.
That offense was just enough for EGF starter Logan Spencer, who cruised in the late innings but wiggled out of a major jam in the second.
Bemidji started the second inning with a walk, an infield single, a bloop single and a walk. With one run in, the bases loaded and nobody out, Spencer looked to be in big trouble.
But Hjelle dove to snare a liner from the next hitter and doubled off the runner at third. A flyball to the next hitter allowed EGF to escape with only the single run allowed.
"(Spencer) was locked in," Lukkason said. "He had a presence that you want to see in a pitcher. He was keeping hitters off balance. It was a great performance by Logan."
In Game 1, Bemidji starter Steven Peterson was the story. Peterson tossed seven innings, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out six.
EGF's only challenge for the lead came in the bottom of the sixth, trailing 3-1. EGF loaded the bases on a walk, an intentional walk and catcher's interference.
But Peterson induced a groundball back to himself to zap the threat.
Bemidji's Game 2 starter Isaiah Biehn proved challenging to hit, as well. He went six innings, allowing five hits and two runs but left a fastball for Stauss on his first pitch of the final inning.
"It would have been tough to get swept in our last home game," Stauss said. "This was huge for conference play and seeding come tournament time."
East Grand Forks 1-2
BEM 102 000 2 -- 5 8 1
EGF 001 000 0 -- 1 3 5
WP -- Steven Peterson; LP -- Victor Saucedo
Highlights -- B: Peterson 6 Ks, 2x4, 2 runs, Hunter Olson 2x3, 2B, Alec Meland 1x1; EGF: Carter Beck 1x3, 2B, RBI, Jake Hjelle 1x2, Evan Estad 1x3, run
BEM 010 000 0-- 1 6 0
EGF 100 000 1-- 2 5 1
WP -- Logan Spencer; LP -- Isaiah Biehn
Highlights -- B: Peterson 2x3, Meland 2x3; EGF: Hjelle 1x3, HR, Cooper Holm 1x2, Coby Stauss 1x3, game-winning HR, Evan Estad 1x2, 2B