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Chris Murphy, Published May 06 2013

Packers pick up a pair of baseball victories over Eagles

WEST FARGO – West Fargo baseball coach Brett Peterson understands that even after though his team won the North Dakota Class A state championship last season, that Fargo Davies and not his Packers were ranked No. 1 in the coaches’ poll at the beginning of the season.

“We had a big roster facelift,” Peterson said. “We lost 11 seniors and nine of them played regularly. A lot of times people look at what you lose and then they base rankings off of that. We knew coming in that we were going to be replacing the guys with players that could step in and so far we’ve done a good job of that.”

After topping Davies 10-0 in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Veteran’s Field, West Fargo catcher Ben Bruenjes felt differently about the rankings.

“We just knew we had to work hard to prove them wrong and show that we were the No. 1 team,” Bruenjes said. “That win boosts our confidence and shows everyone that we’re here to play.”

West Fargo (5-1) got even more confidence in Game 2, scoring nine of the game’s final 10 runs to take the nightcap 9-4 and push their winning streak to four.

“We were going up there looking for strikes and we made the pitcher throw them,” Bruenjes said. “We just went up there to swing pretty much. We’re just working hard to take good approaches at the plate.”

It was two nightmare innings in Game 1 for Davies that busted the game open. West Fargo scored three runs in both the bottom of the third and fourth innings behind only three hits. The Packers used five walks, two passed balls and a couple of errors to take a 6-0 lead and never looked back. With the bases loaded, Lukas Johnson ripped a one-out single to score a run, Devin Wagenman scored on a wild pitch and Bruenjes notched one of his three RBI with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 Packers.

In the sixth, Ben Huber scored on a wild pitch, Matt Barclay took a bases-loaded walk and Bruenjes hit another sacrifice fly to make it 6-0. West Fargo ended the game in the bottom of the sixth, as Bruenjes knocked in a run on a triple, Anjelo Shepherd and Kory Wolden each plated runs on singles and Shepherd scored on a wild pitch to end it.

In Game 2, Davies scored three runs in the top of the first on just one hit. After Brock Horner and Andrew Beyer opened the game with walks, Gunnar Linstaedt singled home a run one batter later. Horner scored on an error off a ground ball off the bat of Casey Quinlan. One batter later, Linstaedt was seemingly gunned down trying to steal third, but the ball got away and he scored off the Packer error.

West Fargo answered. Marcus Wohl knocked in a run on a groundout and Huber knocked in another with a single in the second. Camran Bonnema reached on an error, stole second, got to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch to tie things up in the third. Bonnema took an easier road home in his next at bat, crushing a solo homer to give the Packers a 4-3 lead. Huber added a two-run double, Chase Gooding added a two-run single and Wohl plated a run on a single in the bottom of the sixth to seal it.

“We’re off to a rough start,” Davies coach Hans Anderson said about the teams’ 3-4 record. “It’s not about (West Fargo), it’s about us with our own issues right now. With the talent we have, the kids know the target is on their back and it’s time to put up or shut up.”

FD 000 000 x – 0 2 2

WF 003 304 x – 10 8 0

Woldon, Shepherd (3) and Bruenjes. Buth, Birch (4), Hartness and Horner (5). W-Shepherd (1-0). L-Buth (0-1).

FD 300 000 1 – 4 6 1

WF 021 015 x – 9 10 3

Gooding, Schroeder (6) and Wohl. Smith, Barta (5), Horner and Hartness (6). W-Gooding (1-0). L-Barta (0-1). Save-Schroeder. HR-Bonnema

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548