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West Fargo's Chance Bitzer watches the flight of his base hit against Fargo on Tuesday at Jack Williams Stadium. David Samson / Forum Communications Co.

Ty's Take: Legion two weeks from postseason

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Just when it feels like the American Legion baseball season got rolling, already the end is in sight.

In two weeks, both West Fargo's 19-and-under and 17-and-under Legion teams will be heading off to their respective state tournaments.

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The Patriots won't have to go far, but they still won't have the luxury of home-field advantage. The North Dakota Class A State Tournament is July 26-31 in Grand Forks.

The Aces will have to travel a bit further than their Patriots counterparts, since their Junior Legion State Tournament takes place July 27-31 in Mandan.

Since only 14 days separate West Fargo from tournament time, players and coaches should be left with a certain sense of urgency. Looking at their respective regular-season schedules, however, both the Patriots and Aces have a lot of competition packed into those two weeks.

The Pats (22-15) hit a bit of a rough patch last week, and would benefit from ending the season on a high note. In a close matchup Tuesday, Fargo Post 2 defeated the Patriots 12-10. The next day, West Fargo went on a hitting binge against Devils Lake, scoring 38 runs in two games, while allowing just eight.

Then the Patriots took a road trip to St. Paul, where they went 1-for-5 during the Gopher Classic tournament. West Fargo's lone win came against host North St. Paul on Saturday.

And while the Pats may not be winning consistently, they still have plenty of talent on the roster.

Offensively, nine Patriots are averaging more than .300 at the plate, and leader Andy Young is dangerously close to .400. He also leads the team with 40 RBIs, 51 runs, 49 hits and 10 homers.

On the mound, West Fargo also is not want for prowess. Landon Uetz's earned runs average of 1.37 is lowest on the team, but he's pitched just a tad over 15 innings. Regulars like Tanner Dahl and Chance Bitzer have a bit more time under their glove, and still post respectable sub-2.5 ERAs.

So it's not like the Pats don't have the talent to win; they just need all the pieces to come together at the same time.

And if that doesn't happen until the postseason, well, at least they'll be peaking at the perfect time.

This week has the Patriots staying close to home until the end of the regular season. Today, they head to Moorhead to face the Blues at Matson Field. The doubleheader begins at 5:30 p.m. Then the Pats play host on back-to-back days, beginning with Alexandria on Thursday, and ending with Watertown on Friday.

As for the Aces, they're coming off a bit of a more positive note. After starting the season with more losses than wins, they've managed to right the ship and are sitting right at .500 with a 16-16 record.

In fact, the Aces have won 10 of their past 16 games, and have lost just once in their last six.

Next up is a visit to Jack Williams Stadium on Thursday, when the Aces will face off against the Fargo Bombers for a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. Then Aces then have a few days off before taking on the Moorhead Golds on Sunday at Matson Field, for a two-game evening also slated to start at 5:30 p.m.

Tyler Shoberg is Sports Editor of The Pioneer, and can be reached at 701-451-5717 or tshoberg@westfargopioneer.com.

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