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Minot takes down defending Class A state champion Packers in state quarterfinals

Kyler Stenberg of Minot leaps over West Fargo catcher Dustin Mertz in an attempt to avoid his tag during their North Dakota Class A quarterfinal baseball game Thursday, May 31, 2018, at Newman Outdoor Field, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO—Ryan Bourassa and Carson Tonini were pitch for pitch, exchanging strikeouts and jams avoided. Tonini knew every hit and every scoring opportunity was going to matter. So he took matters into his own hands and gave himself the only offense he needed.

Tonini scored his team's lone run on a passed ball and completed a shutout as West Region No. 3-seeded Minot took down East Region No. 2 seed and defending state champion West Fargo 1-0 in the North Dakota Class A state baseball quarterfinals on Thursday, May 31, at Newman Outdoor Field.

"It was just really good pitchers going at it," Packers head coach Brett Peterson said. "(Bourassa) did exactly what we wanted him to do. We just couldn't push any runs across for him."

Over seven innings, Tonini allowed no runs on three hits while striking out 10 batters and walking three. Bourassa allowed no earned runs on three hits while striking out 11 batters and walking three.

"Every pitch counts. You can't miss spots, you can't make mistakes or it gets to you," Tonini said. "You have to keep throwing strikes and keep making plays."

Tonini, who had one of those three Minot hits, bolted for home plate after a Bourassa pitch got passed the catcher in the fourth inning. And that was all Tonini needed.

Peterson said the Packers (19-4) had good approaches at the plate but just couldn't bunch hits together. But even when the Packers had two runners on with no outs in the sixth inning, the Packers couldn't get a run on the board.

"Obviously they're disappointed," Peterson said. "Our goal was to repeat with this group. They're a good group. It's going to hurt for awhile."

Brayden Jacobson finished the game 2-for-3 for the Packers while Creighton Rudolph and Lofton Klabunde also had hits for Minot (23-5) which will now play East Region No. 4 seed Grand Forks Red River in the semifinals.

"I think we always knew we could get here," Tonini said. "We have to keep thinking we can do it. If we play like we know how, we have a real shot at winning this."

M 000 100 0--1 3 0

WF 000 000 0--0 3 0

Bourassa and Mertz. Tonini and Stenberg. W--Tonini. L--Bourassa.

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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