Blazek drives home game-winning run as Post 2 beats West Fargo with ninth-inning comeback
WEST FARGO—Fargo Post 2 loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning on Friday, July 6. Morgan Kapaun worked himself out of that jam without allowing a single run.
In fact, for the first four innings, Post 2 got a runner in scoring position but had nothing to show for it.
Cameron Blazek couldn't help but pump his fist in relief as he ran to first base after driving in a run in the final inning. Despite a slow start, Post 2 wouldn't be denied as Blazek supplied the returning state champion a game-winning RBI in a 2-1 non-counter American Legion baseball win over West Fargo at Young Field.
"It was great we finally came around in the end," Blazek said. "It's definitely frustrating seeing runners left out there, but you have to keep telling yourself to stick with your gameplan and trust what you've been doing all year."
Going into the game, Post 2 and West Fargo were two of the top three teams in the North Dakota Class 2A standings. Post 2, which is on a five-game win streak in statewide games, has an 8-2 record in the state. West Fargo is 6-4 in the statewide standings having lost twice to Post 2 in their doubleheader in June and with losses to Bismarck and Williston, the second team in the standings at 7-3.
Post 2 head coach Luke Rustad said he was frustrated after the first inning with no runs on the board. He said his players cranked hard hits, they just happened to be at defenders at inopportune times.
"I feel confident that letting them swing away is a good thing to do," Rustad said. "I'm proud that they just kept playing the game."
After seven scoreless innings, West Fargo's Dustin Mertz hit a double to left field and stole third on a passed ball. Drake Flesche drove Mertz home on a low blast to left center for an RBI single. But Flesche said he was never relaxed, even after that hit. He had a feeling Post 2 could come back.
Now 0-3 against Post 2 this season, Flesche said the Patriots have to be motivated to beat Post 2 in the state tournament.
"We didn't score enough runs to win," Flesche said. "We've just got to hit the ball better and score more runs."
With a 1-0 lead, Ryan Bourassa, the West Fargo Packers ace during the high school season, came in during the ninth inning and got the first two outs. Then Colton Frey and Zach Kluvers recorded hits and Frey finally got a run on the board by scoring on a passed ball. Blazek, who finished the game 3-for-3, hit an RBI single to right field to drive in Kluvers.
"On deck, I knew I was going to get my pitch so I just had to sit back and make sure I timed it up," Blazek said. "That's exactly what you want to see from a team at the midway point."
Kapaun allowed four hits and two walks while striking out three batters in six scoreless innings. Post 2 starter Justin DeKeyser went four innings and allowed three hits, four walks and struck out four batters. Rylan Aamold got the win from the mound after striking out eight batters and allowing one earned run.
Jonas Sanders, Blake Anderson, Jake McKeever and Ben Bryant also added hits for Post 2. Tanner Zepeda was 2-for-4 while Brayden Jacobson, Andrew Enno and Carter Dodd also added hits for West Fargo.
"We really preach that until that final out is made you always have a chance," Rustad said. "As long as you have a pulse and you're still alive, anything can happen."
F 000 000 2--2 9 1
WF 000 001 0--1 7 1
DeKeyser, Aamold (5) and Ibach and Kluvers (6). Kapaun, Mertz (7), Bourassa (9) and Clouse. W--Aamold. L--Bourassa.