The Post 114 Eagle River American Legion baseball team kicked their 2019 Great Northern Legion Conference (GNLC) season into gear last week, opening with a solid win on the road against Tomahawk, 5-3.

Manager Josh Tilley said he was glad to see his team respond and win following what was a disappointing end of the high school season after bowing out in the WIAA Regional finals just days prior.

“We played well,” said Tilley. “This group of players have shown they can win ball games.”

Post 114 got things going in the top of the first inning as Ben Tilley led off with a single, stole both second and third base and then scored on a grounder to the right side from Zach Ciran to make it 1-0.

Nate Hopkins then started a one-out rally, singling with no one on. He was followed by Braden Neubauer who walked. Hopkins would score off a single from Brad Stephens to make it 2-0.

Hopkins was sharp on the mound, striking out four of the seven batters he faced in the first two innings to hold Tomahawk at bay.

Eagle River added a pair of runs in the top of the third as Hopkins tripled with one out and then scored on a base hit from Lars Evenson to make it 3-0.

Stephens would score as well in the third after he was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a single, third on an error and then was pushed across on an RBI-single off the bat of Sam Johnson to make it 4-0.

Tilley would cross to make it 5-0 in the fourth inning after he was hit by a pitch, stole his third bag of the day to move to second, advanced to third on an error and then scooted home after a passed ball.

Tomahawk was able to get a pair of runs across in the bottom of the fourth after a double, error and one more double out of the bottom of the order which made it 5-2. He settled back in from there, getting a strikeout and a big double-play to shut Tomahawk out in the sixth.

He gave way to Aiden Lifscutz in the seventh, when things got interesting.

Tomahawk led off with a single, then used a walk and an error to load the bases with no one out. A strikeout put one down before a sacrifice comebacker scored one to make it 5-3 with still two aboard.

With runners on second and third, two outs, Lifscutz got Tomahawk’s cleanup hitter to go down swinging, ending the threat and giving Post 114 the opening game win in the GNLC.

Hopkins did it on both sides of the diamond as he led the offense with three hits, scored two runs and also went six innings on the mound with seven strikeouts. He gave up just four hits. Only one of his two runs surrendered were earned.

Ciran, Johnson, Evenson and Stephens all had runs batted in on the night.

The team is scheduled to face Tomahawk this week Friday, but Tilley said they are attempting to move the game to Thursday. Game time would be a 6 p.m. at Northland Pines High School.