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Tom Mix, Published July 27 2013

Hatton tops Casselton twice to win Section 3 American Legion tourney

CASSELTON, N.D. – Entering Saturday, Trenton Olson had not pitched for Hatton during the North Dakota Class B, Section 3 American Legion baseball tournament.

Before the day was over, Hatton’s left-handed ace got plenty of time on the mound – nearly 12 innings.

Olson started and picked up winning decisions in Hatton’s 7-3 and 4-2 victories over Casselton Post 15 – winners of the last five Section 3 tournaments – during the championship series of the tournament. Hatton advances to Wednesday’s state tournament in Beulah.

Olson struck out 14 batters and gave up five hits in 11Xc innings. He ended up throwing 198 pitches before being lifted for reliever Mike Paulson in the fifth inning of the second championship game.

“Coming into the first game he was going to throw seven innings,” Hatton head coach Christopher Strand said. “He is our ace. After the first game he was at 117 pitches and he had no doubts about going back on the mound to start the second game. He wanted the ball.

“He would have gone 14 innings if he could have,” Strand added. “He was the same pitcher in the 12th inning as he was in his first inning.”

An individual pitcher is allowed to pitch a maximum of 12 innings during the tournament and Olson wisely saved all his for the final day.

Hatton had to win the first championship game in order to force a second and Olson did his part, striking out nine Casselton batters, scattering three hits and only allowing three unearned runs in a complete-game effort.

Feeling no fatigue and knowing his team was a win away from the state tournament, Olson kept going.

“I was feeling good,” Olson said. “I wanted to keep pitching and see if I could still get some outs. My coach told me before the game to be prepared to pitch 12 innings. … I don’t know what to say. It was fun.”

Hatton took a 3-0 lead in the second game, but Olson ran into trouble in the fifth inning – which was his final frame of the day. Casselton chased Olson out of the game and scored two runs, but Hatton answered in the sixth, scoring a run off a throwing error.

Olson posted five strikeouts in the second game and continued his dominance over the Casselton lineup.

“You got to give (Olson) a lot of credit,” Casselton head coach Logan Midthun said. “He shut us down. We couldn’t time his fastball and then he started mixing in that slider. Hats off to him for being able to go through an order seven or eight times and produce those results. It was impressive.”

“You can’t ask for much more than that,” Strand added. “It makes it a lot easier to take down a team that has won five-straight section championships when you have the kind of mentality he had on the mound.”

Hatton scored in the first inning of each game.

“That helped a lot,” Olson said of the early run support. “It allowed me to get comfortable early and it gave the whole team a lot of confidence.”

Paulson was a combined 4-for-8 with three runs scored and an RBI for Hatton.

Hatton 101 101 0–4 9 0

Casselton 000 020 0–2 2 3

Olson, Paulson (5) and Sherva. Ebach, Bresnahan (4) and Jo. Roesler. W–Olson. L–Ebach. S-Paulson

Hatton 112 030 0–7 11 2

Casselton 000 003 0–3 3 1

Olson and Sherva. Radermacher, Holm (3), Nelson (7) and Jo. Roesler. W–Olson. L–Radermacher.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562