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9-year-old team takes state title

The West Fargo 9-year-old state championship team. Back row (from left): Head Coach Brian Borchardt, Caleb Heupel, Bailey Thomson, Cooper Borchardt, Max Burkhart, Brennan Haman, Jaden Grefsrud, Tate Gustafson, Coach Todd Gustafson. Matthew Heupel, James Hagen, Evan Berg, Caden Mattson, Max Pfau, Coach Lindell Heupel. Submitted photo

If local baseball fans are looking for talent, they do not necessarily have to follow the Packers and Patriots.

A West Fargo Rattlers 9-year-old team, coached by Brian Borchardt, took home the state championship in Bismarck over this past weekend.

The team got off to a strong start, besting Mandan 12-9 in the first round before overwhelming Minot 10-1 in the second.

In the semifinals, the Rattlers topped Fargo 5-4, advancing to the finals to face Bismarck.

With West Fargo leading 4-3 in the final inning , Bismarck had runners on first and third base with two outs. The runner on first made a break for second, but West Fargo catcher Tate Gustafson threw a strike to shortstop Brennan Haman to stifle the steal attempt and seal the victory.

"It was really exciting," assistant coach Lenny Heupel said. "Everybody in the stands was screaming and jumping."

With the championship victory, the team now heads to North Platte, Neb., on Friday to participate in the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament.