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Glenn Pursley, Published August 12 2012

Wahpeton wins a pair of games to take Central Plains regional title

WAHPETON, N.D. – There’s a first time for everything. For Seth Meide, it’s a game-winning hit, and for Wahpeton, it’s a regional title.

Meide hit a two-out single to score Cole Gilles and Carson Miller to lift Wahpeton to a 3-1 win over Ely (Minn.) at the Division II Central Plains American Legion Baseball regional tournament on Sunday.

“It feels really good to come in clutch,” Meide said. “That was only my second hit of the tournament and my other hit was a big one, too.”

His first big hit – a stand-up double to left field against Plato (Minn.) – tacked on two insurance runs during a 3-0 shutout in Sunday’s first championship game.

In the second championship game against Ely, Meide’s two-run single came in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Wahpeton a 2-1 lead after trailing by one run for three innings.

Starting on the mound for Ely was ace Wes Snyder. Snyder gave up four hits to Wahpeton and struck six batters to strand five runners on base.

Having walked only two batters previously, an uncharacteristic sixth inning resulted in three consecutive walks, leading up to Meide’s game-winning single.

“They are a fantastic team. Very resilient,” Ely coach Tom Coombe said. “Wisconsin Dells could have knocked them out of the tournament but they got out of the jam. They play good defense and we had one bad inning and it show how quickly the game can turns.”

Nick Mathews – Ely second baseman – hit a sacrifice fly that scored Sean Fisher to take an early 1-0 lead in the third inning. Fisher reached first base on a single and advanced to third when Snyder hit into a fielder’s choice play.

Mathews would add his second hit of the game in the fifth inning, bringing Ely’s total to five.

Jeremy Bontjes of Wahpeton would come in to relieve Tyler Gripentrog in the fourth inning to quickly find himself in a jam. He walked three batters to put runners in scoring position before Snyder flew out to center to end the threat.

“We’ve had rock solid defense all year. Our pitchers are throwing strikes and our defense is backing them up.” Bontjes said. “Not many teams to get end their season on a win and then to win their last game of this big of a tournament is awesome. The fans were great … just awesome.”

Bontjes was the starting pitcher against Plato in Sunday’s first championship game and struck out six batters. He allowed one extra batter in the fourth inning but retired the next 18 batters before giving up a hit to shut Plato out.

“We knew coming into today, to give ourselves a chance we had to leave it all out on the field and they did that today,” Wahpeton head coach Chris Kappes said of the championship team. “We set our goals last year to win a state championship and we came up one game short. We knew that we were going to compete with any team if we play our game and we end up walking away winning this one. I can’t be any more proud of them than I am right now.”

E 001 000 0– 1 5 0

W 000 003 x– 3 4 0

Snyder and Helget Gripentrog, Bontjes (4) and Lunneborg. W–Bontjes. L–Snyder.

P 000 000 0– 0 2 2

W 000 012 x– 3 9 1

Prehn, B. Bratsch (6) and Dunbar. Bontjes and Lunneborg. W–Bontjes. L–Prehn.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549