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Chris Murphy, Published August 01 2013

Post 2 tops defending champs West Fargo in Class A legion tournament

WEST FARGO – In the grand scheme of things, Jake Salentine’s steal of second base in the top of the first inning of Fargo Post 2’s

8-1 victory over West Fargo on Thursday probably doesn’t look like much.

The throw beat him by a lot, but it turned an otherwise lost inning into a 1-0 lead for Fargo.

The win propelled Post 2 to the North Dakota Class A American Legion state baseball tournament semifinals and sent the defending champion Patriots to an elimination game. West Fargo beat Fargo in the championship last season.

“They got us last season, and we said if we wanted to win, we’d have to get through them again this season,” Post 2 starting pitcher Lincoln Voss said. “It’s nice to get them now.”

Salentine himself thought there was no chance he was getting to second, but he somehow bent in some unorthodox manner, got a hand on second safely, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a West Fargo error to put Post 2 on the scoreboard.

“I was toast,” Salentine said. “I just got around it. He tried to tag me with his glove to the ground, and I just put my hand over it. It was crazy. It was good for momentum for our team. We battled the whole way through, and that’s what good teams do.”

Good teams pounce on mistakes. Post 2 (39-17) made West Fargo pay for every single one. With men on the corners and two outs in the top of the second, Seth Tollefson scored on a Patriots bobbled ball in the infield. Andrew Beyer scored on the next at-bat on another bobbled ball in the infield, and then runners moved to second and third on the wild throw home. Ryan Smith followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0 Post 2. The Patriots (36-17) had four errors in the first two innings.

“We just didn’t get off to a very good start,” West Fargo coach Bill Ibach said. “Fargo made plays on our mistakes. It’s double elimination for a reason, so we’ll come back and try to get back on the winning track.”

The four runs were plenty for Voss. He gave up an infield single to the first batter he saw and did not give up a hit through the next six innings. Voss left with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh and Post 2 up 5-0, but Joe Hallock limited the damage, giving up one run in the frame, and pitching two more scoreless innings to shut the door.

“I didn’t strike out 10 people today because I was relying on my defense,” Voss said. “I was keeping the ball down and letting my defense get them out. We got to keep focus on the next game and not the championship yet.”

Salentine scored a little easier in the seventh, crushing a two-run homer to left to put Post 2 up 7-1. Post 2 will play in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Saturday, while West Fargo faces elimination at 8 p.m. today in the winner of today’s 2 p.m. game between Wahpeton and Jamestown.

“West Fargo doesn’t often make mistakes, but we were able to get an early lead and that was huge,” Post 2 coach Luke Rustad said. “Hopefully, we can play well here in a couple days and put ourselves in a position to play in the championship game again.”

F 130 010 021–8 12 1

WF 000 000 010–1 4 4

Voss, Hallock (7) and Hallock and Penney. Young, Shepherd (7), Barker (8), Barclay (9) and Bruenjes. W–Voss. L–Young. S–Hallock. HR–F, Salentine.

Minot 3, Mandan 0

Minot was looking for a bounce-back game on Thursday after Fargo’s Casey Quinlan recorded 18 strikeouts against the Vistas a day earlier.

Austin Berntson struck out four times against Quinlan, but on Thursday he was the one throwing strikeouts and helped the Vistas to a 3-0 win over Mandan during the North Dakota Class A American Legion baseball tournament at Veterans Memorial Field.

Berntson matched Quinlan’s strikeout total getting 18 punch outs in a complete-game, two-hit shutout against the Chiefs (11-34).

Minot (25-11) advances to play Dickinson in a loser-out game at 11 a.m. today.

Marcus Quist was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Vistas.

Mandan 000 000 000–0 3 2

Minot 100 000 02x–3 6 1

Harm, Anderson (8) and Leingang. Berntson and Oothoudt. W–Berntson. L–Harm.

Wahpeton 9, Williston 8

Ethan Meide was 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored to help Wahpeton to a 9-8 win over Williston in a loser-out game on Thursday.

Wahpeton plated the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a squeeze-bunt play.

Jalen Braden was 2-for-2 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored for Williston (17-27)

Wahpeton (27-11) advances to play Jamestown at 2 p.m. today in a loser-out game.

Williston 011 102 030–8 8 3

Wahpeton 205 000 11x–9 9 4

Laber, Kohler (2) and Huck. Gripentrog, McNary (4), Albrecht (8) and Lunneborg. W–Albrecht. L–Kohler. HR–W, Braden.


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