GRAND FORKS — Fargo Post 2 had an answer.
Top-seeded Fargo scored a 10-5 win against Mandan in the opening round of the North Dakota Class 2A American Legion baseball state tournament Friday.
After Post 2 built an early lead, Mandan pulled to within 5-3 with three runs in the top of the fourth inning.
But Fargo matched that total in the bottom of the inning. Cole Hage had a solo home run and Brayden Koenig added a two-run double to build Post 2's lead back to five.
“I felt better after they climbed back into it and we had an answer to that,’’ Fargo coach Luke Rustad said. “Sometimes you wonder how kids respond after a team makes a run at you. But we answered.’’
Hage also had a triple, driving in three runs.
“He has that ability to hit it out of the yard,’’ Rustad said. “You just wait for him to take it deep.’’
Chander Ibach was 3-for-3 for Fargo with three runs. Koenig, Brandt Kolpack and Zach Kluvers each were 2-for-4. Koenig had a pair of doubles, driving in three and Kolpack had a double and three RBIs.
“They’re a good team,’’ Mandan coach Jake Kincaid said. “They hit it where we weren’t. I don’t think there’s a weak spot in their lineup. And I thought our bats were really good.’’
Jaxon Duttenhefer, Connor Seefeld and Cole Schmidt each had a pair of hits for the Chiefs.
MAN 00 300 2—5 8 4
FAR 122 302 x—10 13 1
WP—Taylor Parrott; LP—Noah Gerhardt
Highlights: M: Jaxon Duttenhefer 2x4; Connor Seefeld 2x4; Cole Schmidt 2x4; Jackson Zittleman 1x3; Easton Andersen 1x3, 2B; F: Cole Hage 2x4, 3B, HR, 2R, 3 RBI; Chandler Ibach 3x3, 3R; Brayden Koenig 2x4, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Brandt Kolpack 2x3, 3 RBI; Zach Kluvers 2x4, 2R; ; Drew Sandy 1x4; Jonas Sanders 1x3.
Grand Forks pitches a win against West Fargo
Close baseball games are a good news/bad news situation for Brody Sorenson.
“I wouldn’t say I like them,’’ the Grand Forks Royals pitcher said. But, he added, “I think I’m a better pitcher in them. You live for those close moments. You want to be the guy who delivers for your team.’’
Sorenson came through Friday in the opening round of the North Dakota Class AA American Legion baseball tournament. He pitched a complete game as the Royals opened with a 3-2 win against defending champion West Fargo at Kraft Field.
Grand Forks plays top seed Fargo Post No. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the winners’ bracket second round.
Sorenson allowed just four hits, striking out six. Both West Fargo runs were unearned.
“Brody was the difference,’’ Royals coach Nick Chine said. “He attacked the strike zone. He changed speeds and locations and kept them off balance.’’
West Fargo went ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Quade Peters led off by reaching on an error. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and ground out and scored on an Alex Urlaub sacrifice fly to center field.
But the Royals took the lead for good with three runs in the fourth.
Parker Monette led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second. He scored from there when Parker Stroh lined a double to the gap in deep right-center field. It was the first of only four hits for Grand Forks in the game.
Joey Grabanski followed with a single, with Stroh scoring on an error on the play and Grabanski taking second. A wild pitch advanced him to third, from where he scored on a throwing error.
“Four hits usually won’t do it,’’ Chine said. “But we got some hits when we needed them, when we had runners in scoring position. Parker had the biggest hit of the game.’’
West Fargo threatened in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases. But the Patriots managed to score only once, on a Ryan Reynolds sacrifice fly. “It would have been nice to come out of that inning with one or two more runs,’’ West Fargo coach Jordan Rheault said.
“We hit the ball hard at times. It’s all about getting the hits at the right time.’’
West Fargo did get a leadoff walk by Urlaub in the sixth inning. But, after a pop out, the inning ended with a double play, Royals shortstop Brenden Bethke fielding a grounder near second for the force and relaying to Coby Tweten at first for the inning-ending out.
“That was huge,’’ Sorenson said. “It got my momentum back. It got our momentum back.’’
Sorenson registered three of his six strikeouts in the final inning, allowing a two-out single.
GF 000 300 0 — 3 4 2
WF 100 100 0 — 2 4 2
WP — Brody Sorenson; LP — Dustin Mertz
Highlights: GF: Parker Stroh 1x3, 2B, 1 RBI; Parker Monette 1x3; Joey Grabanski 1x3; Coby Tweten 1x3; WF: Carter Dodd 1x3; Mertz 1x3; Lance Oster 1x3; Cooper Borchardt 1x3
Bismarck compiles 16 hits in victory over Post 400
There was no letting up in the Bismarck Governors lineup.
Bismarck had at least one hit from each of its nine starters Friday. The Governors totaled 16 hits in an 8-5 win against Fargo Post 400 in the opening round of the Class 2A American Legion baseball state tournament.
“One through nine in the lineup with hits — that’s something that doesn’t happen very often,’’ Bismarck coach Mike Skytland said. “That was huge.
“We had a lot of hits. We had a couple of chances to break it open even more. But they made some plays.’’
Bismarck scored at least one run in each of the first five innings. Caanan Fagerland’s run-scoring double in the first inning gave the Governors a 1-0 lead. Bismarck made it 3-0 with two more in the second, an inning in which four of Bismarck’s five hits never left the infield.
“You take the hits any way you can get them,’’ Skytland said. “Sometimes the ball bounces the right way for you.’’
Treyton Mattern and Alex Krug each had three hits to lead the Bismarck offense, with Fagerland driving home two runs and Skyler Riedinger going 2-for-4 with a double, scoring twice and driving home a run.
Despite Bismarck’s hitting barrage, Fargo stayed close. Post 400 scored twice in the fourth inning and pulled within 6-5 on Jaiden Yaeger’s two-out, three-run double in the top of the fifth. But Bismarck regained a cushion with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
“We just couldn’t put up a zero early,’’ Fargo coach Hans Anderson said of Bismarck’s ability to score in inning after inning. “We kept chipping away. The kids competed.’’
FAR 000 230 0—5 7 1
BIS 121 220 x—8 16 1
WP—Connor Hanson; LP—Miles Ulschmid
Highlights" F: Jaiden Yaeger 1x2, 2B, 3 RBI; Colten Alme 1x3, 2B; Kobe Senn 1x3, 2B; Jake Bryant 1x3; Kain Carlson 1x3, 2R; Andy Mach 1x3; Austin Zurn 1x3; B: Treyton Mattern 3x3; Alex Krug 3x4, 2R; Skyler Riedinger 2x4, 2B, 2R; Caanan Fagerland 1x3, 2B, 2 RBI; Connor Hanson 2x4; Connor Weikum 2x4; Paydin Slette 1x3; Paxton Miller 1x4; Nick Hinsz 1x5.
Williston gets payback against Minot
Brady Aberle’s memory is vivid of the last time Williston played Minot in the Class 2A American Legion baseball tournament.
“It was 11-1 last year. That was a tough first-round loss,’’ said Aberle, the losing pitcher for Williston in that game. “We wanted to give them a run for their money this time.’’
The Keybirds reversed the outcome Friday. Williston, behind the pitching of right-handers Aberle and Reed Hanson, handed Minot a 5-3 loss in the opening round of the state tournament at Kraft Field.
Aberle went the first five innings to pick up the win, allowing two runs (one earned) and three hits while striking out six. Hanson threw the final two innings for the save.
“Brady didn’t have his greatest command today,’’ Williston coach Shawn Egge said. “But he mixed his pitches up, kept them off balance and got the big outs. He went out and competed.’’
Minot scored twice in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. The Keybirds went ahead for good in the third with a pair of runs.
Aberle grounded a one-out single to center field and advanced around the bases on two wild pitches and a balk. Garrett Hill had a walk, moved to third on a steal and a balk and scored the go-ahead run when Jaxon Meyer lined a single to center.
Chance Johnson drove in runs in the fifth and seventh with hits for a 5-2 lead.
“Offensively, we did well, especially against a pitcher (Minot’s Carson Tonini) of that caliber,’’ Egge said. “We haven’t beaten him since I’ve been coaching before today.’’
Minot scored once in the bottom of the seventh and had two runners on before Hanson got a game-ending strikeout.
“We had opportunities,’’ Minot coach Pat Arntson said. “We left nine guys on base. We didn’t get the key hit that we needed.’’
WIL 102 010 1—5 8 2
MIN 200 000 1—3 6 2
WP—Brady Aberle; LP—Carson Tonini
Highlights: W: Brady Aberle 2x3; Garret Hill 2x3, 3R; Chance Johnson 2x3, 2 , 2 RBI; Jaxon Meyer 2x3; M: Derek Nygaard 3x3; Chase Burke 1x3, 2B; Kyler Stenberg 1x2; Kaleb Bellew 1x2.
Loser out: Minot vs. Fargo Post 400, noon; Mandan vs. West Fargo, 2:30 p.m.
Winners' bracket second round: Bismarck vs. Williston, 5 p.m.; GF Royals vs. Fargo Post No. 2, 7:30 p.m.