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Tom Mix, Published April 16 2012

Salentines spark Shanley past Packers

FARGO – Entering Monday, Fargo Shanley had not won an Eastern Dakota Conference baseball game against West Fargo since 2009.

Nick and Jake Salentine each pitched complete games to help the Deacons end that drought, posting 6-4 and 3-2 wins over the Packers at Helling Field.

“Both Nick and Jake showed up and had awesome pitching performances,” Shanley head coach Joel Swanson said. “They controlled the game and I can’t ask for two better pitchers to have gone tonight.”

The doubleheader sweep of West Fargo gives the Deacons (4-5, 4-2 EDC) two EDC victories and extends their winning streak to four games after starting the year 0-5.

“We came in knowing West Fargo was No. 1 in the conference and ranked No. 1 in the state,” Swanson said. “We wanted to put up a good performance. We have a goal of being in the state tournament this year and West Fargo is one of the teams we know he have to be able to play with. It’s definitely a big confidence booster for us.”

Game 2 of the doubleheader went into extra innings, and Jake Salentine went the distance.

The sophomore right-handed pitcher finished with eight strikeouts and struck out the side in the eighth inning.

“It was all adrenaline right there,” Jake Salentine said. “It’s a nice team win and we all fought together. We played as a team. It is awesome.”

Both teams had scoring chances late in the game, but Shanley finally cashed in when senior catcher Joe Hallock drove a liner off West Fargo pitcher Landon Uetz to right center, scoring Jon Nygaard, who led off the ninth with a hit by pitch.

“I was just looking for a fastball and got one,” Hallock said. “I liked it and I hit it.”

West Fargo appeared to be in prime position to take the lead in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out. Jake Salentine jammed the bases, giving up a hit by pitch and two walks, but got Brock Evenson to strikeout after pushing the count full. Zach Steckler pulled a hard liner right at Shanley third baseman Lincoln Voss for the final out.

“It was a gutsy performance,” Swanson said of Jake Salentine’s outing. “We were starting to worry a little bit there in the sixth and seventh inning when he got into some trouble and we were trying to figure out if we wanted to keep him in there.

“He didn’t want to come out and I trust them when they tell me they feel fine.”

Shanley jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in Game 1, but the Packers (8-2, 4-2 EDC) tied the game in the top of the third inning plating three unearned runs on Nick Salentine.

The Deacons retook the lead in the bottom of the third when Paul Rydell singled to drive in Jake Salentine. Shanley added some insurance runs in the fourth inning when Alex Widmer connected for a two-run single.

Nick Salentine finished with three strikeouts and retired the last eight batters of the game to earn his first pitching victory of the season.

“I had a lot of confidence in the fact that the team was making plays and I had a lot of run support so it was pretty easy to pitch,” Nick Salentine said. “It was about time for me. I’ve had a couple rough starts, but I thought I was on top of my game today.”

West Fargo, who entered the game undefeated, left a total of 15 runners on base during the doubleheader.

“We left too many guys on base and didn’t have enough quality at-bats with runners in scoring position,” Brett Peterson said. “Tip your caps to them. The Salentine guys threw well and got us off balance.”

West Fargo 003 010 0– 4 5 1

Shanley 211 400 0– 6 8 4

Bonnema, Wolden (3) and Bucholz. N. Salentine and Hallock. W–N. Salentine. L–Bonnema.

West Fargo 000 020 000– 2 6 3

Shanley 000 020 001– 3 4 3

Young, Uetz (5) and Bucholz. J. Salentine and Hallock. W–J. Salentine. L–Uetz.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562