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Tom Mix, Published May 22 2012

Kindred, F-S-H-P play to deciding game at Region 1 baseball tourney

KINDRED, N.D. – For the second year in a row, the North Dakota Class B, Region 1 baseball championship series is going to a decisive third game.

Defending state champion Kindred-Richland kept its season alive with a 5-1 win over Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page in Game 2 on Tuesday at Kindred High School after the Spartans topped the Vikings 8-0 in the opener.

Game 3 will be held 5 p.m. Thursday at Kindred High School. The winner clinches a spot at state, which is May 31 through June 2 in Jamestown.

After dropping Game 1, Kindred-Richland’s hopes of pushing the series the distance was in the hands of senior pitcher Sean Cose. Cose took the mound in Game 2, striking out two and giving up just three hits in 6Zc innings for the win.

“We didn’t bring our bats in the first game and were kind of down a little bit,” Kindred-Richland head coach Scott Milbrandt said. “I just told the kids, ‘Hey we are still alive here, this is the best-of-3 series,’ and they came into the second game with some life, got the bats going and Sean pitched a great game. That’s what we wanted. We wanted to get to Thursday.”

Kindred-Richland (17-8) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Matthew Workin drove in Brandon Mitchell with an RBI single.

The Spartans mounted a rally in the fourth when the first three batters of the inning reached base. John Storebo led off the inning by reaching on an error and Skyler Neva and Austin Brown followed with singles.

Storebo attempted to score from second base on Brown’s single, but Kindred-Richland center fielder Eric Bachmeier rifled a one-hopper to catcher Zach Nelson, who tagged Storebo out at the plate. Cose escaped the inning without giving up a run.

“That was huge for our momentum,” Milbrandt said. “We were up 1-0 and Frosty (FSHP head coach Mark Frost) tried to get one across. He is a very aggressive coach and we made a good throw. We had to. Zach Nelson made a great play.”

Kindred-Richland plated four runs in the fifth, highlighted by an RBI double off the bat of senior Nick Milbrandt – Scott Milbrandt’s son.

Nick Milbrandt sliced a delivery from FSHP’s Brown down the right field foul line.

“I was just looking to put it in play and it was outside, so I stayed with it,” Nick Milbrandt said. “It just stayed fair barely.”

Nick Milbrandt came on to pitch in the seventh, recording the final two outs of the game for a save after FSHP scored a run and had the bases loaded with one out.

“It just makes us happy to know that we held our composure,” Nick Milbrandt said. “We didn’t give up and were able to come back in the second game.”

Game 1 of the series was all FSHP, with the Spartans (22-14) scoring two runs in the first inning off an RBI single by Storebo and another when Alex Aberle scored on a double-play groundout.

The early runs were all senior right-handed pitcher Taylor Foss ended up needing in a complete-game shutout. Foss ended with three strikeouts and used the high winds that were blowing into the ballpark from left field to his advantage. He also had a superb Spartans defense playing behind him. FSHP did not commit an error in Game 1.

“With the wind blowing so hard in from left field when I got behind in the count, I was just throwing them over, letting the guys hit them, and my defense played pretty well behind me,” Foss said.

“Taylor just kept throwing strikes, we kept making plays and that was good to see,” Frost said.

Kindred-Richland had a 2-0 edge over the Spartans in regular-season meetings.

Following the Game 2 win, Scott Milbrandt said Nick Milbrandt will pitch Game 3 for the Vikings. Frost’s starter has yet to be determined.

“They’ll all be on call,” Frost said. “It’s seven or more innings in this region that we will have to cover, and hopefully we can.”

FSHP 202 120 1– 8 8 0

KR 000 000 0– 0 4 3

Foss and Neva. Dahlgren, Andel (4) and Nelson. W–Foss. L–Dahlgren.

FSHP 000 000 1– 1 4 3

KR 010 040 x– 5 9 1

Brown, Aberle (5) and Neva. Cose, N. Milbrandt (7) and Nelson. W–Cose. L–Brown. S–N. Milbrandt.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562