Patriots put together solid final week
West Fargo Patriots coach Brett Peterson wanted his team to play its best ball heading into the postseason, and the summer squad responded, as the Pats built on a 5-3 win over Detroit Lakes Thursday to post a 2-0 record on Friday in the Fargo/West Fargo Tournament.
It doesnt do much good to play great early on and then fizzle out later in the year, Peterson said. You kind of hope the team progresses throughout the season and gets better with time. That way youre playing your best ball at tournament time.
Nathan Potter pitched a gem on Thursday against Detroit Lakes, a squad that handed West Fargo one of its worst defeats of the season earlier this year in Minnesota. Potter went seven innings, didnt allow a run until he was lifted in the seventh, and then handed it over to Brandon Reber, who was able to pin down the win by getting out of the seventh and pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth frame.
The Pats responded, scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth after Detroit Lakes had scored three in the top of the seventh to erase a 2-0 West Fargo lead. Despite being outhit 12-7, West Fargos defense helped preserve the win, overcoming the mistakes that have haunted the Patriots in the field all season long.
Its just a couple of things here, a couple of mistakes there, Peterson said. We havent been blown out much, and even some of the teams that have blown us out, weve come back and played better games the second time, even picking up wins.
That occurred again on Friday, when West Fargo topped Fargo 2-1 in the thrilling game to open the Fargo/West Fargo Tourney, the last of the season. Future West Fargo senior Dustin Gregory went the distance, holding the Fargo offense to six hits and overcoming one Patriot error. West Fargos offense hung tough, scoring once in the fourth and once in the top of the seventh to pull out the win.
Things kept rolling Saturday afternoon, as Brock Storrustens hot hitting continued in an 8-4 West Fargo victory over Manitoba. Storrustens key hit sparked a six-run first inning for the Packers. The West Fargo grad recently broke the clubs homerun record with his ninth blast of the season in a loss to Fargo last Wednesday. That surpassed the record of eight, formerly held by Chris Hanes, a 2003 grad.
Hes just one of the best, pure hitters Ive seen. He can hit for power or he can drive the ball when he wants to, Peterson said of Storrusten. Im glad hes on our side.
A second double-header with Fargo Post 2 slated for Monday night was rained out after a storm system went through town Monday afternoon. The rescheduled date was not available at press time.
The two times might forgo the last two games of their season series, however, with Fargo leading the series 3-1. The East Region Tournament begins on Thursday at Jack Williams Stadium in north Fargo, signaling the start of the postseason. Right now, the fifth-place Patriots would face Grand Forks in the opening round, should their double-header with Fargo not be played on Tuesday or Wednesday.
We like our chances Peterson said of a state tournament bid. We might have some issues when it comes to pitching a nine inning game, but if we can get some guys to step up and help out, then we could be O.K.
Pitching and hitting havent been the Pats biggest problem. Its the big inning thats haunted West Fargo this season, and Peterson said stronger defense and a couple of breaks here or there would help prevent that.
Its limiting it to two or three runs instead of five or six, and to do that you have to make the plays, he said. Well see. Things have been getting better.
The East Division Tournament kicks off Thursday afternoon at Jack Williams.
Patriots 5, Detroit Lake 3
Detroit Lakes 000 000 300- 3 12 0
West Fargo 002 000 03x- 5 7 1
Radar and Fuhs. Potter, Reber (8) and Holmes, Thorson (9). W-Reber (1-0). L-Radar.
Patriots 2, Fargo 1
West Fargo 000 100 1 2 6 1
Fargo 000 010 0 1 6 0
Gregory and Holmes. Shockman, Schmitz (7) and Hirchert. WGregory. LShockman (3-1). HRFargo, Laber (3).
Patriots 8, Manitoba 4
Manitoba 200 200 0 4 6 2
West Fargo 600 011 x 8 11 1
Momun, Voth (6) and Johnson. Wagner, Holmes (6), Salquist (7) and Thorson. WWagner (2-2). LMomun.
West Fargo vs. Fergus Falls
West Fargo vs. Moorhead