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Andrew Gottenborg / sports@forumcomm.com, Published July 01 2010

American Legion baseball: Sweeping Patriot act, West Fargo tops Post 2 twice with pitching

West Fargo used a pair of stellar pitching performances and some timely offense to sweep an American Legion baseball doubleheader against Fargo Post 2 on Wednesday.

The night’s pitching was at its best in the nightcap, as the Patriots’ Matt Strahm outdueled Seth Hochstatter in West Fargo’s dramatic 2-0 victory.

It was evident that both pitchers were on the top of their games early on, as both teams struggled to garner any sort of offense.

“My catcher called a great game, my defense played great behind me and all my pitches were working for me,” Strahm said of his performance.

Strahm finished with 13 strikeouts and walked only one.

“I just take care of my business and let my defense make plays behind me,” Strahm said.

Hochstatter was outstanding as well, keeping the Patriots bats at bay in all seven of his innings of work.

“He did a heck of a job, everything seemed to be working for him,” Strahm said.

With Hochstatter out of the game in the top of the eighth, West Fargo’s bats finally came alive. Cole Mapes laced a ball that went over the left fielder’s head to score a runner from second and give West Fargo the lead.

Things looked bleak for West Fargo in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Strahm retired the first batter he faced in the inning, Post 2’s Matt Wawers hit a ball that sliced away from the left fielder, who barely missed making a spectacular catch, allowing Wawers to trot to second base with a double.

Strahm responded by fanning Andy Schweigert. After an intentional walk was issued, Strahm struck out the next batter to send the game into extra innings.

While a great pitching performance finished the Patriots’ sweep, a huge offensive game from Chance Bitzer sparked them to a 6-1 victory in the doubleheader’s first game.

“He’s always been smooth at the plate,” designated hitter Spencer Flaten said of Bitzer. “He always tells us to never go up there and think, he just tells us to go up there and swing the bat.”

Bitzer apparently took his own advice, swinging early and often in pelting three doubles and scoring three runs for West Fargo.

West Fargo claimed the lead for good in the third inning when Bitzer hit a ball that fell just inside the left-field line to score Flaten from second.

Starting pitcher Tanner Dahl pitched six consecutive scoreless innings after surrendering the only run he allowed in the bottom of the first.

WF 102 002 1 –6 9 0

F 100 000 0–1 3 5

Dahl and Johnson. Venaas and Fiechtner. W–Dahl. L–Venaas.

WF 000 000 2–2 6 0

F 000 000 0–0 3 2

Strahm and Johnson. Hochstatter, Larson (8) and Schweigert. W–Strahm. L–Larson.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrew Gottenborg at (701) 241-5549