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Aces pick up sweep over Great Bend

The West Fargo Aces, the summer baseball clubs Under 16 squad, picked up two all-important wins in conference play Monday night with a sweep over Great Bend on their home field. The Aces, who now stand at 6-6 in Section 1 and 8-8 overall, used a dominating performance in Game 1, then held on in the nightcap to even out its record after a slow start.

I think we came out of the gate not quite knowing where we were, Jess Barnacle, head coach of the Aces, said. I think were getting it now. Our defense has tightened up a little bit and our offense is playing much better.

The Aces picked up a key win over Farimount 10 days ago, topping the sections leader with a 12-5 win behind the pitching performances of Cole Horsager and Zac Odegard. The Aces then dominated the second game, they rebounded Monday night with a dominating pitching performance by Curtis Hensley, who gave up just one hit and survived one Ace error for a shutout win, as the Aces cruised, 11-0.

Our pitching is getting better, Justin Rheault, the Aces main man in the rotation, said during the God Bless America Tournament. Everyones kind of helping out.

For Hensley, a lot of offensive help was on tap, as the Aces broke through for two runs in the bottom of the second inning, added four more in the third, and then closed out the game with five in the fourth.

Rob Gibson started off the hit parade for the Aces, blooping a single to right that drove in Derek Plehal for the first run of the day. Gibson would come around to score on a single by Odegard after he stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch.

In the third, Plehal kicked off the inning with a single, and moved to second on a Tyler Johnson sacrifice bunt down the first base line. He would score from second on a single that trickled through the infield by Justin Feist, giving West Fargo a 3-0 lead.

Feist, Bruce Erdmann and Rheault would come in later, thanks to two Great Bend errors and a bases-clearing double by Horsager. By the end of the third frame, it was 6-0 Aces.

That would be all Hensley would need, as he pitched a gem. Letting his defense do the work, Hensley only struck out one batter in five innings, but his teammates didnt let him down until an infield error on a well-hit ball in the top of the fifth. By then, the game was out of reach, and the Aces squashed the mistake by getting the lead runner with one out, ending the threat.

Our infield has really pulled it together, Barnacle said. I think we struggled early because of some mistakes, and we lost some close games.

In Game 2, Churchill Hensley and Feist combined to hold off Great Bend in an 11-10 West Fargo win. A six-run first inning, sparked by a two-run single from Evan Rolstand and Plehals third run of the night, looked like it would give the Aces an easy road. But Hensley struggled in the third, as Great Bend put up seven runs and took a 10-7 lead.

But Feist would quickly close the door, pitching the third, fourth and fifth innings without giving up a run and striking out two. He would not surrender a hit.

Meanwhile, his offense roared back, scoring four runs off of Josh Thompson in the bottom of the third, and taking an 11-10 lead. That would be enough for Feist to get his second win of the year. The sophomore tossed a no-hitter in the Aces second win of the season, a 10-0 shutout over Fairmount.

At the plate, Matt Punton had a huge day in the nightcap, knocking out two hits and driving in three runs.

The Aces will be in action at Great Bend this Thursday, before taking time off for the Fourth of July weekend. Theyll be at Galchutt on Tuesday, July 5, for a double-header, before returning home to host Fargo on Wednesday, July 6. Those games all start at 5:30 p.m.


Monday, June 20

Game 1

Fairmount101 030 0-5 4 3

West Fargo Aces 131 322 x-12 10 0

Hasse and Heib. Horsager, Odegard (5) and Crist. L-Hasse. W-Odegard (1-1)

Game 2

Fairmount 000 0-0 0 1

West Fargo Aces 270 1-10 11 3

Monday, June 27

Great Bend 000 00-0 1 1

West Fargo Aces 024 5x-11 11 1

Fink and Kubela. Curtis Hensley and Crist. L-Kubela. W-Cu. Hensley (1-0)

Great Bend 037 00-10 6 2

West Fargo Aces 614 0x 11 8 6

Thompson and Kubela. Churchill Hensely, Feist and Erdmann. W-Feist (2-0)