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Tom Mix, Published August 12 2013

Burnsville wins Central Plains Regional in rout

FARGO – Burnsville, Minn., capped its run at the American Legion Central Plains Regional baseball tournament with a deluge of offense.

Burnsville defeated Omaha West (Neb.) 15-5 in seven innings during the championship game at Jack Williams Stadium. The Cobras (35-10) connected for 20 hits in the game.

With the victory, Burnsville earns a berth in the American Legion World Series set to begin on Thursday in Shelby, N.C.

Not bad for a team that had never qualified for a regional tournament prior to last week.

“It’s a very big win for us,” Burnsville third baseman Tyler Hanson said. “It’s exciting. It is the first time Burnsville has ever gone to a World Series, let alone regionals.

“It was a good time to get the bats out,” Hanson added. “They had a good pitcher going, but we got some good hits off his fastball.”

Hanson, who won tournament MVP honors, was 5-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored in the title game. The University of Minnesota baseball recruit finished the tournament batting .563 (9-for-6) and also was 2-0 with a 2.89 earned run average in 9Zc innings on the mound.

Burnsville scored four runs in the third inning and batted around in both the fourth and fifth innings.

When the dust settled, the Cobras held a 15-0 lead.

“We were able to put the bat on the ball and find holes,” Burnsville head coach Greg Nesbitt said. “Everything clicked.”

Omaha West (44-13) managed to push three runs across in the sixth inning and two in the seventh.

Of Burnsville’s 20 hits only one was for extra bases – a double by Tyler Hill in the fourth inning. At two different points in the game, Burnsville batters strung together five straight singles.

Hill was 2-for-4 with four RBIs and Eric Watters was 3-for-5 with three runs scored for the Cobras.

“We have never done anything like this,” Nesbitt said of the regional championship and World Series berth. “They have never done anything like this. Some of them have played on a high school state championship, but nothing like this. I told them all it is going to sink in and they should be excited.”

Nesbitt, who recently accepted a coaching job at Prior Lake High School, has led Burnsville’s program for nine years. This year will be his last with the Cobras, but called winning the regional tournament and going to North Carolina “a good way to go out.”

Burnsville went 5-0 at the tournament, which it entered as the runner-up team from Minnesota. The Cobras had to play seven games at the state tournament to clinch a trip to Fargo and now with a trip to the World Series on the horizon, even Hanson remained in awe following the trophy presentation.

“We had no idea we were going to make it this far,” Hanson said. “We almost didn’t even make it out of our first sub-state game. Making it this far has been a great experience.”

Burnsville 004 650 0–15 20 1

Omaha West 000 003 2–5 9 4

Rozek, Vermeer (7) and Traetow. Mi Waldon, Nemecek (4), Frei (5) and Frei, Novak (5). W–Rozek. L–Mi. Waldon.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562