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Tom Mix, Published August 07 2013

Post 2 pitcher Quinlan doesn't mind sticking with the fastball

FARGO – Fargo Post 2 pitcher Casey Quinlan subscribes to the simple pitching philosophy of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.

Ryan’s go-to pitch throughout his 27-year career was his fastball – a pitch he rarely deviated from when it was resulting in piles of strikeouts. Quinlan also features a menacing fastball and, like Ryan, if his heater is sitting down opposing batters at a decent clip, the Post 2 left-hander is going to keep throwing it.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Quinlan said of his fastball and pitching approach. “If I get through the batting order the first time and the fastball is working, I go after them with more fastballs until they prove they can hit it. If they start hitting it, then I start to mix it up more.”

Quinlan will be taking the mound this week at the American Legion Central Plains Regional baseball tournament, which begins today and runs through Monday at Jack Williams Stadium. Post 2, which won the Class A state championship last Sunday, opens the tournament with an 8 p.m. matchup against Burnsville, Minn.

Fargo’s Day 1 starter has yet to be determined, but Quinlan – a Neosho County Community College, Kan., baseball recruit – has been one of the team’s top pitchers this summer, going 7-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 65 innings.

“When he is on full rest, he is a tough guy to see on the mound for opposing batters,” Post 2 head coach Luke Rustad said. “He has the ability to get a lot of guys out in the batter’s box. Casey has matured a lot as a pitcher and goes about his business. He puts a lot of time into his craft.”

Quinlan, who leads Post 2 in strikeouts with 110, made two starts in the state tournament, including a seven-inning, 18-strikeout outing against Minot.

“When he is in a groove, he is living low and he is throwing his curveball early for strikes, which keeps batters off balance late in the count,” Post 2 catcher Joe Hallock said. “They don’t know what is coming 0-2 or 1-2. When he gets up on batters, he is locked in.”

Besides his fastball, Quinlan also throws a curveball, slider and changeup. It’s an arsenal that has helped him hold opponents to a .184 batting average.

Post 2 has a team ERA of 4.04. Jake Salentine is 7-2 with a 2.62 ERA and two saves in 65 Zc innings. Lincoln Voss is 6-2 with 56 strikeouts in 46 Zc. Gunnar Linstaedt, who picked up the win in the state championship game, is 5-2 with 30 strikeouts in 52 Zc innings.

“It’s fun to catch all of the pitchers,” Hallock said. “They all are unique in how they pitch. Batters are not seeing the same type of guy twice, and that’s what’s nice about having all these pitchers.”

Quinlan said Post 2’s run during the state tournament was tied to an increased level of energy around the team and stressed the importance of that energy carrying over to the regional tournament.

“The biggest thing for us is to keep our intensity,” Quinlan said. “When we weren’t playing well this summer, we didn’t come into games with momentum or intensity, but we found a groove at the state tournament. Once you pick up your intensity, everything else seems to fall into place.”

“This is a new tournament and a new opportunity for us,” Rustad added. “We have to control what we can control, throw strikes, put together quality at-bats and defend well. Hopefully that’s enough to get us a victory.”

Fargo also boasts a team batting average of .330. Post 2 has eight players batting above .300. Outfielder Aaron Green leads Post 2 in home runs (9), RBIs (48) and triples (4).

“I think we have been playing well together and everyone is meshing,” said Green, who is batting .353. “We are ready to go.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562

If you go

What: American Legion Central Plains Regional baseball tournament

When: Today through Monday

Where: Fargo’s Jack Williams Stadium

Who: Burnsville, Minn. vs. Fargo Post 2, 8 p.m. today