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Chris Murphy, Published July 31 2013

Quinlan strikes out 18 as Fargo tops Minot at Legion state tournament

WEST FARGO – So much for breakfast being the most important meal of the day.

Fargo Post 2 pitcher Casey Quinlan had 18 strikeouts in the seven-inning 11 a.m. game versus Minot on Wednesday. Post 2 topped the Vistas 11-1 to move to the winner’s bracket in the Class A American Legion state baseball tournament at the West Fargo Legion Field.

“I didn’t even eat breakfast,” Quinlan said. “It’s nice having the state tournament here, so I can sleep in my own bed. Just woke up and came to the park.”

Quinlan didn’t need any Special K cereal Wednesday. He made his own Ks. He saw 30 batters come to the plate and struck out more than half of them.

Sixteen Minot at-bats ended in missed swings, two ended staring at strikes, four resulted in singles, three in walks, two in hit batters, one in a fly out, one in a ground out and one in fielder’s choice.

Quinlan may not have eaten breakfast, but he fed Minot strikes.

“I just was using fastballs to get ahead of hitters,” Quinlan said. “That first inning was a little rough and I wasn’t very happy with myself. I told myself I needed to bare down and if I found the zone I’d be just fine.”

In the top of the first Quinlan walked the leadoff batter and struck out the next two Minot hitters. He then hit Hunter Oothoudt with a pitch and Brock Krueger blooped a single just inside the right-field line to put Minot up 1-0. From there, Quinlan retired 19 of the next 25 hitters.

The Post 2 strikeout record in seven innings is Jake Laber’s 20 in 2005 and in nine innings is Mike McNair’s 21 in 1963.

“I don’t go into games looking for stats,” Quinlan said. “I don’t let it get in my head because then you lose focus on the game. I try to just stay focused on the game, make good pitches and stay out there. I’d rather win than anything else.”

In the bottom of the second, Post 2 (38-17) gave Quinlan all the support he would need. Gunnar Linstaedt hit an RBI double to tie the game and a fielder’s choice off the bat of Andrew Beyer put Post 2 up 2-1. Beyer’s squeeze bunt in the third made it 3-1 and Aaron Green’s solo homer and Linstaedt’s sacrifice fly made it 5-1 in the fifth.

Post 2 shut the door in the seventh, as a grand slam from Lincoln Voss made it 9-1. Linstaedt followed with a solo homer to make it 10-1 and Beyer plated Seth Tollefson to end it with a single.

“When Casey Quinlan is on the mound, it gives us an extra boost,” Linstaedt said. “He’s obviously the best pitcher in the state, and we want to make him look good because he makes us look good.”

It’s a pretty good sign for a pitcher when the ump behind the plate is giving him compliments.

“When the umpire is telling you that your pitcher is doing good, you know he’s doing something right,” Post 2 catcher Joe Hallock said. “When he’s dealing like that, all I have to do is set the glove up. He was dialed in. I don’t know if they had holes in their bats or what, but there was a lot of swings and misses.”

Post 2 will play at 5 p.m. today.

M 100 000 0 – 1 4 2

F 020 120 6 – 11 10 0

Oothoudt, Quist (4), Fornshell (7) and Magnuson. Quinlan and Hallock. W–Quinlan. L–Oothoudt. HR–F, Green, Linstaedt, Voss.

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