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Tom Mix, Published July 24 2013

Casselton tops Hope-Finley at Section 3 Legion tourney

CASSELTON, N.D. – Once Casselton pitcher Garrett Ebach settled in on the mound Wednesday, Hope-Finley’s chances scoring runs diminished.

Ebach yielded one hit and posted nine strikeouts in five innings to help Casselton Post 15 to an 11-1 victory over Hope-Finley at the North Dakota Class B, Section 3 American Legion baseball tournament.

Casselton (26-6) advances to play Hatton at 6 p.m. today in the championship bracket.

It wasn’t smooth sailing the whole way for Ebach, who also walked five batters, but the righthander was able to escape trouble when he needed to.

“My arm was feeling good,” Ebach said. “Technique wise I was falling off a bit. I was being quick with it and was throwing a couple in the dirt and outside.”

Hope-Finley scored its lone run in the first inning when Alex Aberle walked and scored off a single by Skylar Neva.

Central Cass answered scoring two runs with two outs in the bottom of the first getting an RBI triple from Mitch Scheer and RBI double off the bat of Nick Holm.

Ebach struck out the side in the second inning.

“When he has his stuff working he is one of the better pitchers on the team,” Casselton head coach Logan Midthun said of Ebach. “He has some nasty stuff, but it is just a matter of if he can harness it and settle down. It usually takes him one or two innings to settle into a groove. When he does he builds confidence in his off-speed pitches.”

Ebach helped his cause going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Casselton collected a total of 13 hits in the victory.

“We like being aggressive on the bases and at the plate,” Ebach said. “If we see our pitch, we like to hit it.”

Second baseman Ryan Nelson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs for Casselton. Ellery Bresnahan also finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored.

Hope-Finley plays Mayville-Portland at 3:30 p.m. today

Hatton defeated Gardner 8-1 in the second game of the winner’s bracket behind the solid pitching performance by Michael Paulson.

Paulson struck out nine batters in a complete-game effort.

“Michael has been a bulldog,” Hatton head coach Christopher Strand said. “He attacks hitters and doesn’t let them get comfortable. That is his best attribute as a pitcher and he showed it during the game.”

Gardner scored a run in the top of the first, but Hatton answered with six runs in the bottom the inning. Hatton leadoff hitter Greg Thompson keyed the early scoring with two hits in the first inning including a two-run single in his second at bat.

In loser-out play, Thompson defeated Central Valley-Hillsboro 11-1 and Mayville-Portland defeated Larimore 7-5. Thompson plays Gardner at 1 p.m. today.

Hatton-Finley 100 000 –1 2 1

Casselton 201 305 –11 13 0

Montag, Suhr (6) and Neva. Ebach, Radermacher (6) and Jo. Roesler. W–Ebach. L–Montag.

Gardner 100 000 0–1 5 2

Hatton 601 100 x–8 6 0

Strommen, Backer (4) and Ward. Paulson and Sherva. W–Paulson. L–Strommen.

CV-Hillsboro 000 01 –1 1 1

Thompson 405 02 –11 12 1

W–Dolleslanger. L–Gjelness.

May-Port 200 020 3–7 6 3

Larimore 003 010 1–5 8 5

W–Knudson. L–Elfman.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562