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Tom Mix, Published July 31 2013

Monette delivers walk off hit in Grand Forks win over Wahpeton in Class A Legion tourney

WEST FARGO – Grand Forks Royals Kaden Monette knows the importance of winning the first game of the North Dakota Class A American Legion state baseball tournament.

When Monette found himself at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the winning run on second base, the 5-foot-11 outfielder delivered.

Monette connected for a walk-off, RBI double which scored Bryce Hill and helped Grand Forks to a 4-3 win over Wahpeton on Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Field.

“It feels great,” Monette said of the victory. “Last year we lost the first game to West Fargo in Mandan, and that was a must-win game. When you lose the first one it is a grind the rest of the way. The first game is always a must win and we got it.”

Monette was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.

Grand Forks (32-16-1) advances to play the winner of Jamestown-Bismarck at 8 p.m. today.

Wahpeton (26-11) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Nate Albrecht scored when Tyler Gripentrog drew a bases-loaded walk and Kameron McNary scored on a wild pitch.

The Royals answered with two runs in the bottom of the third scoring on an error and a wild pitch.

Both Wahpeton and Grand Forks scored in the fifth inning and the game remained locked at 3-3 until Monette sliced the game-winner to right center.

Grand Forks left the bases loaded in the eighth inning and left a total of 15 runners on base in the game. Wahpeton left nine runners on base.

“It was a tough ballgame,” Grand Forks head coach Nick Chine said. “Wahpeton is a great team and every time we have played them it has been back and forth. Both teams had opportunities to score almost every inning. It was up for grabs the whole way through.

“It just so happened that we found a kid to punch a hole in their defense and get a hit with a runner in scoring position,” Chine added.

Wahpeton left the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

“We didn’t execute and we didn’t take advantage of some guys in scoring position that we needed to score,” Wahpeton head coach Chris Kappes said. “Playing a good team in a tight game like that you need to execute and we didn’t do that.”

Wahpeton plays Williston in a loser-out game at 2 p.m. today.

Wahpeton 002 010 000 – 3 8 2

Grand Forks 002 010 001 – 4 8 0

Lingen, Mennis (7) and Lunneborg. Mahoney, Richardson (6) and Palmiscno. W–Richardson. L–Mennis.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562