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Scott Throlson / Special to The Forum, Published July 31 2010

Mandan tops West Fargo Patriots in loser-out game

BISMARCK – West Fargo’s late comeback bid came up just short.

Trailing by four runs early, and down by two starting the ninth, the Patriots got the tying run into scoring position with nobody out.

But Mandan closer Jody Wenstrom was able to bear down and finish off a 6-5 victory in a loser-out game at the North Dakota Class A American Legion baseball tournament on Friday afternoon at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.

“We were just a couple inches short,” West Fargo coach Bill Ibach said. “I was proud of how we played today. They beared down, battled, had good at bats. We just came up short.”

Mandan stayed alive in the double-elimination tournament, on the strength of two big innings. The Chiefs scored all of their runs in two innings, getting four in the second and two more in the fifth.

“We put everything on the field today,” Chiefs coach Ryne Jungling said. “We left everything out on the field today.”

Mandan spotted starter Brett Ryan to an early lead, and he took it from there, throwing eight solid innings.

“Ryan came out and threw a gem today,” Jungling said. “We were hoping to get him out of the game after the sixth, after the seventh, but he kept coming in and saying he wanted to go back out there. You can’t say enough about the way he pitched today.”

Ryan limited West Fargo to four runs, two of them earned, on six hits. He walked two and struck out six.

The Chiefs gave Ryan some breathing room with four runs, two unearned, in the second.

“Getting a lead of more than one run, you don’t have to be as fine,” Jungling said. “In a big ballpark like this, you can throw it over and say hit it.”

Sam Salveson added an RBI double and Aaron Janz a run-scoring single in the sixth for the Chiefs. Janz had three of Mandan’s 11 hits, while Brandon Austad and Steve Serr each had two hits.

Matt Strahm had two doubles and scored a run to lead the Patriots.

Andy Young had two hits, drove in a run and scored one for West Fargo.

The Patriots had one last chance in the ninth. Tucker Bucholz worked out a walk and Eric Benson lined a single past the Mandan second baseman, putting runners at second and third with no outs. But Wenstrom picked up his seventh save of the season by getting David Johnson to pop up, allowing a run-scoring groundout by Young and inducing a game-ending foul pop to first by Spencer Flaten.

“It’s not easy to come back after a tough loss, then have a tough inning early, and still have a chance to win it at the end,” Ibach said. “We’ve got a good group of kids. I was proud of how they battled back.”

WF 100 021 001– 5 7 2

M 040 020 00x– 6 11 5

Schmidt, Jorgenson (6) and Johnson. Ryan, Wenstrom (9) and Serr. W–Ryan. L–Schmidt. S–Wenstrom.