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Glenn Pursley, Published July 31 2013

Grafton tops Enderlin at Class B state Legion tournament

BEULAH, N.D. – Grafton got the bats rolling Wednesday.

Christian Lunde had two doubles and a triple and Garek Droog homered to pace Grafton to a 10-6 win over Enderlin at the North Dakota Class B American Legion state baseball tournament at Goldmann Field.

Jamie Villarreal, Hunter Baldwin and Zak Hernandez each added RBI doubles for Grafton.

“It’s pretty important momentum-wise, and it sets up your rotation for the week,” Grafton head coach Chad Kliniske said of the opening-round win. “We made some mental mistakes, but we survived.”

Sam Heuchert ripped a leadoff double in the sixth and Lunde followed with his second run-scoring hit of the game – this one a triple – to score Heuchert and open the flood gates for Grafton. Batting for the first time in the sixth, starting pitcher Hernandez drove in Villarreal and Baldwin to take a 10-6 lead.

“It’s an exciting feeling, and it’s always good to get that first one, and hopefully we can keep it rolling,” said Lunde, who finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. “You can rest your pitchers, get healthy and just keep the momentum coming.”

Lunde doubled in the second and Villarreal followed with a double of his own to score Lunde to give his team a 1-0 lead. Droog’s homer and Lunde’s RBI triple in the third put Grafton up 4-1.

Enderlin was quick to respond. Gareth Hanson and Grant Lindemann ripped run-scoring singles in the bottom of the third to shrink Grafton’s lead to one run.

Casey Laugland ripped a single and a double in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to knot the game 6-6. Laugland led Enderlin with two hits and scored two runs, while Hanson added a pair of singles.

“I felt we competed really well today, but that inning where we gave them five outs really turned the tides for us,” Enderlin head coach Kevin Bratland said, referring to two errors committed in the fifth inning. “We just got to keep the message that it’s a double-elimination tournament and that we are still alive.”

Grafton advances through the winner’s bracket and will play the winner of the LaMoure/Beulah game at 7:30 p.m. today. Enderlin will play the loser of that game at 5 p.m.

G 023 024 1–10 14 3

E 003 210 0– 6 10 1

Hernandez, Baldwin (6) and Heuchert. D. Lindgren, Gillund (6) and Lindemann. HR–G, Droog.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549