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Glenn Pursley, Published August 01 2013

Jamie Villarreal hits walk-off single for Grafton

BEULAH, N.D. – Grafton gave Beulah a taste of its own medicine Thursday.

Jamie Villarreal ripped a walk-off single in the seventh inning to score the game-winning run and keep Grafton in the winner’s bracket with a 6-5 win over Beulah at the North Dakota Class B American Legion state baseball tournament.

“As a player you want to be that guy,” said Villarreal, who finished with one hit and one RBI. “It’s one of those times that everything slows down and everyone is looking up to you, and I want to be that guy. Luckily, I got the hit.”

Villarreal’s game-winner up the middle scored Sam Heuchert from second base. Heuchert was hit with a pitch from Beulah starter Cody Nelson and took second on a passed ball.

Not only did Villarreal’s hit keep Grafton in the winner’s bracket, it also brought back memories.

“That brought me back to high school ball when I hit that one up the middle against (Beulah),” Villarreal said.

In high school, Villarreal drove in Heuchert from second to beat Beulah in similar fashion.

Sixteen-year-old Adam Mach was on the mound for Grafton and shut down Beulah through six innings. He held them to one run off four hits and struck out five through six innings.

“For a 16-year-old, he’s pretty amazing and has a lot to look forward too,” Villarreal said. “He showed some guts pitching up there against these guys, and to shut them down most of the game, he did pretty well.”

But things got shaky for Mach in the seventh.

Nelson led off the inning with a stand-up double and Mikey Morris singled to put runners on the corners. Two batters later, Trevor Zacher hit a two-run triple that cut the deficit to one run. Logan Behm would drive in Zacher to tie the game 5-5.

But Mach would hold on and get Evan Mellmer to ground out to first to end the threat.

“I told him if you give up a run, so what? If you give up two, so what,” Grafton head coach Chad Kliniske said, referring to a meeting on the mound during the seventh.

Brett Longtin led Grafton on offense, batting 3-for-4 with a double and Christian Lunde added two hits and drove in a run.

Grafton advances to play Cando at 7:30 p.m. today in the winner’s-bracket quarterfinals. Beulah will take on Hatton – which eliminated Makoti with a 20-8 win – at 5 p.m.

In an earlier elimination game Thursday, starting pitcher Brooks Larson pitched a one-hitter and struck out five to pace Cando to a 6-0 victory over Hazen to stay in the winner’s bracket.

Larson hit one batter with a pitch and walked one in the second before giving up his only hit in the sixth to Karson Hintz.

Doing the work on offense was Christian Kvilvang and Jacob Hagler.

Kvilvang gave Cando a two-run lead with an RBI single in the first that scored Hagler and Daniel Grande. Hagler extended the lead to five runs in the seventh with a two-run double and Steven Hunt followed with a single to score Hagler and go up 6-0.

Hazen drops down to play LaMoure at 2:30 p.m. today in the loser’s bracket and Cando will face Grafton at 7:30 p.m.

B 001 000 4– 5 8 3

G 120 102 1– 6 9 1

Nelson and A. Battest. Mach and Heuchert. W–Mach. L–Nelson.

C 200 000 4– 6 7 1

H 000 000 0– 0 1 3

Larson and Schill. Metzger and Hintz. W–Larson. L–Metzger.

Loser-out games

LaMoure 2, Enderlin 1

LaMoure’s Devin Piehl walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 2-1 walk-off victory against Enderlin in an elimination game Thursday at the North Dakota State Class B American Legion state baseball tournament.

Beau Diegel batted 2-for-3 and drove in one run for LaMoure and starting pitcher Jared Meiklejohn struck out six in a complete game.

LaMoure faces Hazen at 2:30 p.m. today. Hazen fell to Cando 6-0 on Thursday.

E 020 000 00– 1 5 2

L 000 100 01– 2 4 1

D. Lindgren and Lindemann. Meiklejohn and T. Thielges. W–Meiklejohn. L–D. Lindgren.

Hatton 20, Makoti 8

Austin Lee batted 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Aaron Schenfisch added two hits and drove in one run to lead Hatton to a 20-8 win over Makoti in an elimination game Thursday.

Mike Paulson led Makoti with three hits and three RBIs.

Hatton will play in an elimination game at 5 p.m. today.

H 014 195 – 20 17 2

M 060 020 – 8 9 10

Pederson, Olson (2), Pederson (5) and Sherva. Lee, Langan (5), Schenfisch (6) and Nelson. W–Pederson. L–Lee.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 241-5549