LAMOURE(NewsDakota.com)–Grafton earned two title game appearances, while Wahpeton played their way to the title series at the state Class “B” American Legion baseball tournament Saturday.
LaMoure 4, Velva 1
A three-run fifth and a pitching effort from LaMoure starter Chris Heinrich that was described as “effectively wild” by LaMoure head coach J.R. Thielges was enough for Post 19 to fight to the fourth round.
Devin Piehl led off the fifth with a double, and a two-bagger by Brady Thielges brought in two runs for a 3-0 edge, the eventual game-winning hit. Thielges then scored on Jared Miekeljohn’s sacrifice fly.
Heinrich allowed only a run in the seventh, limiting Velva to just three hits, walking seven and striking out six.
Grafton 6, Wahpeton 4
The game that would send a team to Title Sunday would be decided on a dropped fly ball.
Grafton took a 4-3 edge with three doubles in the fourth inning, one each by Chris Lunde, Zach Suda, and Joe Demers. Wahpeton tired the game a half-inning later when Ryan Sheeley doubled and scored on Cole Gilles’ double.
The difference came in the fifth, when Logan Thompson and Lunde scored on a two-out dropped fly ball to left for the 6-4 edge. Suda then made it stand up, throwing 2.2 innings of shutout ball, striking out two.
Wahpeton 11, LaMoure 7 (8)
Wahpeton, needing a win to stay alive, outlasted the host team by turning to their ace.
LaMoure saw five consecutive men score to start the third, erasing a 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead. Wahpeton tallied three more in the fourtg to take a 7-5 edge.
LaMoure got a run back in the bottom of the fourth, and Wahpeton head coach Chris Kappes had to turn the ball over to Jeremy Bontjes a day early. Beau Diegel would plate the tying run with a ground ball off of Bontjes. That score would be the last till extras.
Wahpeton blew the game open with four runs in the eighth, with Alex Lunneberg leading off the inning with a double. Tyler Grippentrog and Bontjes followed with singles, and a LaMoure error led to a fourth run.
Bontjes earned the win in relief, working 4.2 innings of shutout baseball, striking out eight.
Grafton 12, Washburn 2 (5)
Already assuring themselves one chance at state gold, Grafton wasted little time earning a second in Saturday’s last game.
The first Grafton hitters to the plate scored, as Post 41 built a 9-0 lead after three. Joey Demers then ended the game in walkoff fashion, playing two with a triple in the fifth for a 12-2 final.
Alex Martinson threw five innings, allowing four hits, striking out two in the win. Grafton pounded out 10 hits in just four-plus at-bats.
As the lone unbeaten team, Grafton must be beaten by Wahpeton twice Sunday for Wahpeton to win the championship. The first game is set fit a 2:00 p.m. Pregame coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. on Sunny 98.3 and 102.7, KDDR AM 1220 and KDAK AM 1600.
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