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Chris Murphy, Published July 30 2013

Pitching duo key for Enderlin entering ND Class B Legion state baseball tournament

FARGO – Enderlin American Legion baseball coach Kevin Bratland summed up his team simply Tuesday.

“We’re not much flash,” Bratland said. “We’re more of a blue-collar team. We grind it out and do the little things.”

The little things have gotten Enderlin to a big place: The North Dakota Class B state baseball tournament, which begins today in Beulah.

Enderlin has relied on 18-year-old Thomas Lindgren and his 17-year-old brother Daniel as the horses of the pitching staff. Thomas is 5-0 and is Bratland’s likely starter for Enderlin’s first game at 1:30 p.m. today versus Grafton.

“I’m kind of leaning toward Thomas,” Bratland said. “I can sum up the Lindgren boys as great work ethic. No one works harder than those two boys, especially Thomas. He’s kind of a coach on the field. If someone’s struggling with batting, he’s always there to point something out. Thomas’ leadership abilities are invaluable.

“Daniel is not real vocal. He can play both middle infield spots for me and he really developed in his pitching when he found his off-speed stuff.”

With the Lindgrens and Spencer Gillund, Enderlin has found three starters to turn to, but it was the offense that showed up to take the Section 1 title.

“Our pitching has been consistent all year,” Bratland said. “The key thing was getting our bottom of the order hitting. We were kind of struggling with that all year. The big thing during the section tournament was our offensive output.”

After Kindred forced a deciding Game 2 with an 11-7 win Saturday, Thomas Lindgren struck out 13 in the deciding section championship game. Enderlin had plenty of offensive output, as it plated 16 runs in the section title clincher. Gillund went 4-for-5 with three doubles and four RBIs in Game 2, as he’s batting nearly .400 with six homers on the season. Thomas Lindgren doesn’t just help on the mound, as he’s hitting over .400 with four homers.

Double-digit runs are always nice, but, as always, playoff time requires pitching.

“We have to pitch well,” Bratland said. “You can’t walk guys and let the ball get put in play and put pressure on your defense. I hope our bats stay hot, but it’s all about pitching.”

LaMoure takes on Beulah in first round

LaMoure has already had their backs against the wall, having to win two games in the Class B, Section 2 championship Saturday. They answered that challenge, rolling Lisbon 11-4 and 10-2 to capture the championship and head to the Class B state tournament. It was an all-too-familiar position for LaMoure.

“The leadership on the team helps in situations like that,” LaMoure coach J.R. Thielges said. “We have four 19-year-olds and a couple of 18-year-olds, and they know how to be leaders. We had to win two last year versus Lisbon and we did it. The experience helps.”

LaMoure comes in to today’s 7:30 p.m. game versus Beulah winners of 12 of its last 15 games, outscoring opponents 121-44 during that stretch. LaMoure has just three home runs on the season, so it doesn’t do it with power, but a team batting average of .322 will certainly provide some offense. Led by Jared Meiklejohn’s .414 average and Kenny Hodem’s .385 average, the LaMoure offense gets the job done.

“We don’t hit a lot of home runs, but we have timely hitting,” Thielges said. “We’ve been getting bunts down and we’re playing good baseball right now.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548