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Tom Mix, Published August 06 2012

GF Blues top Fargo Bombers in Mid-States Junior American Legion Regional

FARGO – Prior to this past weekend, the Fargo Bombers had the number of the Grand Forks Blues.

On Sunday, Grand Forks’ fortunes improved against Fargo with a win to force a decisive title game in the Mid-States Junior Regional American Legion baseball tournament and on Monday, the Blues were celebrating a two-game winning streak against their rival.

The Blues topped the Bombers 4-0 in the championship game at Jack Williams Stadium behind the solid pitching of reliever Brandon Walters.

The regional championship avenges the Blues’ loss to the Bombers in the North Dakota state championship game in Grand Forks a week ago.

“More than anything, it was a confidence thing,” Grand Forks head coach David Spies said. “Coming into the weekend, we were 1-7 against them and we needed to get over the hump. We did that (Sunday) and I think we put some pressure on them right away. I think that put some doubt into their minds against us.

“We watched them celebrate on our field and that was our goal. We wanted to celebrate on their field. It came true. It took a lot of hard work from the kids, but they pulled through.”

Walters kept the Bombers off balance most of the game. He entered the game in the third and recorded three strikeouts in 4Zc innings of scoreless relief.

More importantly, Walters worked fast, pitched to contact and only walked one batter.

“I just threw strikes and tried not to walk anyone, because walks can kill you,” Walters said. “I was in a groove and had a good feeling. Coach Spies actually came up to me and asked if I wanted the last inning and I said, ‘there is no way you are taking the ball out of my hand for the last inning, because I knew I had it.’ ”

Grand Forks starter Ryan Richardson loaded the bases in the first with three walks, but escaped with no damage. After retiring the side in order in the second, he walked another two batters in the third inning, which led Spies to call on Walters.

“Tip your hat to him,” Bombers head coach Dave Williams said of Walters. “He came in and he came right after us. He threw a lot of strikes. … He did his job and we couldn’t put the ball in play.”

The Bombers only managed two hits the entire game and all came off Walters. Andrew Penney broke up the Richardson-Walters no-hitter with a single in the fourth inning and Andrew Lein added another single later in the inning.

After failing to score with bases loaded in the top of the first inning, the Blues came back to score three runs in the second.

Blues shortstop Collin Hennessy connected for a two-run single in the second inning to lead Grand Forks (36-14). Ty Straus also connected for an RBI single in the second inning, scoring Hennessy.

“I was looking to put something in play and was actually trying to get something in the air to get that guy on third home,” Hennessy said. “That worked even better in my favor, driving in two and I came around to score, too.”

The Blues added a run in the top of the seventh off an RBI double by Dan Raymond.

GF 030 000 1–4 8 2

Fargo 000 000 0–0 2 1

Richardson, Walters (3) and Binstock. Schultz and Penney. W–Walters. L–Schultz

Tournament MVP: Brady Regimbal, Grand Forks.


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Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562